Steven E. Brown
Co-Founder, Institute on Disability Culture
© All Rights Reserved, Institute on Disability Culture, January 2015
Early in 2014, I made the decision to officially retire from the Center on Disability Studies (CDS) and the University of Hawaii. Some of you reading this may wonder why, since I retired, I keep promoting things like my course on Disability History and Culture and the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity (@PacRimHawaii). The simple answer is I remain Affiliated Faculty at CDS, and, of course, want to continue to promote the good work accomplished there. At the same time, I have become much more active in my role as Co-Founder of the Institute on Disability Culture. Since we founded the Institute in 1994, there has been an explosion about disability culture (see: http://www.instituteondisabilityculture.org/blog/-promoting-disability-pride-back-to-the-beginnings).
So, as I began to contemplate retirement and what it would mean, since I never intended to stop working, I had a chance to talk with lots of people about upcoming changes in our lives. One of those people was Andy Imparato (@AndyAUCD), a keynote speaker at the 2014 Pac Rim Conference. Andy commented he’d really like see a focus on pride. And it kind of hit me that disability pride, so crucial to the Institute beginnings that we shortened our mission to the Promoting Disability Pride slogan, had perhaps been a neglected area in the past few years.
I wondered how I might address it?
Fast forward a few months, and a young black man is killed in Ferguson, Missouri. Protests begin to gather around his killing, which many people perceive as murder by police. I wasn’t getting a lot of information about the situation from typical TV news sources. I’d been on Twitter (@disculture) for a few years, without really seeing a lot of ways to use it in my life. But, suddenly, the best information I was getting, not only about Ferguson, but news of protests, and in fact, news in general, was coming from Twitter. From having previously checked my Twitter account about once a week, I was now looking into it several times a day to see what I might find. I became enamored with Twitter, perhaps bordering on addiction. It had become my source of information. I could read about #BlackLivesMatter. I could see people adding #DisabledBlackLivesMatterToo and then early in 2015 came a campaign with the hashtag #StopAbleism2015.
I became convinced that one way to promote disability pride was to encourage a #PromotingDisabilityPride campaign. I thought I’d try to kick it off sometime in January 2015. And today, Jan. 23, 2015, seems like a great day to do so, because it marks what would have been the 76th birthday of one of my heroes and someone I was fortunate to know towards the end of his life, Ed Roberts. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Ed’s passing. Years ago, I published a book in CD form only about Ed, targeted to 5th and 6th graders. I have been working on revising the book and getting it into print form this year. Coming soon.
So starting today, I offer a number of #PromotingDisabilityPride tweets. Each tweet could probably be expanded to a page or more of its own. But tweets are short and I hope they will both prompt others to add their own tweets and to lead people to wanting to search and learn more about these people and events.
In honor of Ed’s birthday and of the 2015 25th Anniversary of the ADA signing this coming July I begin the #PromotingDisabilityPride campaign with:
#PromotingDisabilityPride Disability Rights Pioneers. See, for example, Ed Roberts http://mn.gov/mnddc/ed-roberts/
#PromotingDisabilityPride Protests. See Power of 504, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyWcCuVta7M&index=5&list=PL4EEE286B0AA7A774
#PromotingDisabilityPride our History and more. Disability Visibility Project http://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/
#PromotingDisabilityPride Celebrating ADA. ADA Legacy Project http://www.adalegacy.com/
More to come….See you on Twitter