- by Keith Hosey -
When I posted Social Justice is Everybody’s Issue (please read it if you haven't) the point I wanted to make was that Rosetta Thurman is right-on about allies being essential in social justice. I’m not the greatest writer and I realize I got sidetracked a bit and said “we all get complacent sometimes.” I was shortsighted here in using the word complacent. I don’t use any mobility devices, I’m not limited in my communication or my sight. I have some physical limitations, but they are not near as severe as many people I know. I have been an active civil rights advocate for seven years only – because before I worked at the Center, I never really knew of, or thought about, the inequities in our society that are presented every day to people with severe disabilities, even though I myself have a mild physical impairment.
My point here is this. I am relatively new to disability rights and while I choose, or not choose, to shop somewhere because of access, it’s a choice. When I get tired, when it’s ultimately more convenient to walk over that inaccessible threshold, I can. Sometimes I forget this. Then I read about Glenda Watson Hyatt not making her Duet with Chris Brogan at SOBCon (a conference for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers) because the bar wasn’t accessible. She wrote a great post about it and said, “The group left for the Blue Frog. I went back to the hotel to go bed, disappointed. In that moment, inaccessibility wasn’t about the law, my rights, or me being part of an under tapped market. In that moment, it was about missing the opportunity to do something crazy and unexpected with someone I admire, respect and trust.”
I thought why not fight? I thought about the situation for a whole day. I have been an active civil rights advocate for seven years only – Glenda has been an active civil rights advocate for decades. When she gets tired of fighting, when it’s ultimately more convenient to walk over that inaccessible threshold, she can’t. So if Glenda wants to pick her fights, I'm all for it. And this is why Rosetta’s “allies” are so important. Yes, we people with disabilities need to stand up for our rights, but we need to find those who will help us in that fight. Fortunately Glenda has many allies (she calls disciples) to contact the Blue Frog’s Facebook page and complain. J