The nice thing about working at Access Living sometimes is that it's often a crossroads for a who's who of people with disabilities. Yesterday, Tammy Duckworth was taking a tour. If you're not familiar with Tammy Duckworth, she's an Iraq War vet who lost most of her legs and had her arm damaged. She also ran for Congress from Illinois in 2006. Today, she is in charge of the Illinois Veteran's Affairs Department. And, she is a woman of color. Learn more about Tammy at Wikipedia.
Today, Sarah Triano brought Rebecca Maskos by my desk. Rebecca is the subject of one of Riva Lehrer's Circle Stories paintings. Rebecca works at a two-person center in Germany and tells me the German disabled women's network is doing cool stuff these days. Rebecca, if you are reading this, I wish we had had more time to talk and I look forward to learning more about your network! And for readers, Rebecca is just another one of those women with disabilities you should know...
So the big trip starts in just two days, and that's also got me thinking about why I am doing this trip, anyway...and really it boils down to this: what do women with disabilities need to DO to make the changes we need? Thanks to ADAPT, I've ended up believing in what we call the "democracy of the doers." Meaning, those who do, get a voice in what happens. So how can we women with disabilities and Deaf women get to be the doers? I recall asking Rebecca what her network does, policy, research, programs, action....and she said policy. While we need policy positions, we also need to make those positions something the average grassroots woman can act on. Because how can real change happen if it does not come from the grassroots? How can it be what people really need if the grassroots do not weigh in? We must find all means necessary to share knowledge of our oppression so grassroots folks can take the needed steps. Hence, this trip...hopefully this blog will collect and share info some folks wouldn't have access to anyway. Take it! Use it!
I also wanted to thank my Access Living colleagues for coming to my bon voyage lunch with me. I have a lot of really great coworkers and I will miss you! Your support means a lot to me. I will also miss my AYLP youth group...it's really hard to let go, but I will be back before you know it. And I will miss Chicago ADAPTers, and FRIDA. Our work together makes change possible, and we gotta keep it up! We DO, because we have to. See you in December!