we live in a world where nonprofits give off a corporation vibe
a world where change-seekers and believers have to get on their hands and knees
begging and compromising their beliefs
starbucks cup in hand, the focus is on funders, elections, conferences, networking, volunteer hours
people become an afterthought
this is a business
jobs (and money) are on the line, damnit!
events are in glass hotels that scrape the sky
internet costs $18.95 a day
dollar menu for dinner when you can’t keep up with the others
i try very hard not to break anything
my people at home want to taste this community we talk about
wade their feet in it..
but they’re stuck at home
“bus don’t come here”
…if they even have a home
“where do i go to sign up for housing list?”
looking for a job
“no places will hire me”
with bruises on their arms, legs, back
“i think i need to get out”
no money in hand
“i don’t even see that check”
these are every day conversations with friends
and yes i tell them about those good disability acronyms—
you know, the difference between medicaid and medicare, ssi, ssdi, pass, irwes, the “ada bus”, microenterprise, p&a services EVERYTHING—
but when it comes to the disability rights movement,
what do i say? that yes, go to this board meeting, you will feel like you’re making a difference?
seeing folks tear each other apart’ll be worth the 90 minute paratransit wait?
how about that this complex buys into the system?
that while people are dying in trifling situations
we’re shaking hands and passing out business cards?
yea… 501c3s… just another way to keep us in line.
note on poem below the cut.
people’s situations where i live are so bad that local activists are trusting a 21 year old no-nothing girl with only 4 years in the movement (guess who) to lead them in starting a center for independent living, a place where disabled people can come to get connected to services [information and referral] and basically just get an ally in this world that isn’t built for us. the need for a CIL is so real that not doing this is not an option. i am excited by the potential of this— rooting it completely in community and seeing how working together can transform this city— but am constantly thinking about how we can keep it from being professionalized, overbased in capitalism, too service-based and all the other things that leave people not believing in their local CILs.