Like many other communities, we have this habit of glorifying a few leaders and not recognizing the work of others. The civil rights movement was/is more than Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X. The Disability Rights Movement was/is more than Justin Dart, Ed Roberts, Judy Heumann. I wrote this poem in memory of the thousands who impacted our community but aren’t spoken about.
Hands are waving in the air
Not in that “heyyy ho” 90s kind of way
But as thunderous cheering from a throng of Deaf folk.
I like looking at you when you’re talkin’ justice
Yelling into the microphones
Wheels firmly planted into the ground
Service dogs are watching sleepily
while the terps work hard to keep up with you.
I like looking at you when you’re talkin’ pride
Some people looked peeved
They don’t like the way you say “disabled” like it’s a good thing
Cause not everyone is going to see disability like we do.
I like looking at you when you’re talkin’ community
Reforming the non-profit complex
Ending this bullshit federal grant dependency
Uniting in justice for all…
I just wish I had gotten to know you.