ADAPT's Marsha Katz Weighs In
Feb 26 02:23
Marsha Katz, who wrote the following entry, is best known as ADAPT's spokesperson. Additionally, she has a very rich history working on practically all the major issues our community deals with. Her words on the employment issue reflect this depth of experience, and so I thought I should share them with you. Following are Marsha's comments on the employment advocacy debate.
As someone who has spent over 30 years working equally hard on disability community freedom and disability community employment/self-employment, I am grateful to Josie for starting this discussion, and to Laura for contributing what I believe to be the bottom line.
I, too, am of the opinion that basic freedom, and basic civil rights trump employment.
I am also of the opinion that efforts to assure both freedom and employment are intertwined and don't have to be mutually exclusive.
Increasing employment of people with disabilities is not as simple as just increasing the hiring of people with disabilities. It encompasses combating discrimination via attitudinal changes or legal means. It includes removing the threat of losing health insurance as the reward for working. It means allowing people to work and accumulate money like anyone else for emergencies, or to buy a home, or save for a big-ticket item without sacrificing health insurance. It means removing the still-existing disincentives from the SSI/SSDI and Ticket-to-Work programs. It means changing the written and unwritten policies of state VR programs that stifle self-employment for people with disabilities, which may well be the best match for someone, have the best chance of success, and in rural, frontier and tribal communities may be the only possible option, and at the same time will increase the local economy.
It means demanding that people with disabilities get paid at least minimum wage and banishing the minimum wage exceptions that find some people paid a few cents a week in turkey-farm hell or doing “make-work instead of real work. It means being creative and ingenious so even people with limited skills and experience can have a way to contribute and earn a fair day’s pay.
What I would like to see change is the division that appears to exist between those in the disability community who "have," and those who don't. Too many people are too ready to jump on the "up-by-your-bootstraps" bandwagon, with no regard for individual circumstance, demographics, available supports (personal, family, public), and so much more. Sadly, there are people with disabilities who still subscribe to a disability hierarchy that mistakenly believes there is an “us” and a “them.”
I remember Bill Cosby once remarking on the African American community as more people began to move into the middle class and above…he said something like, “There’s nothing wrong with climbing the ladder of success. Just remember to have one hand reaching for the next rung, and the other hand reaching back to bring someone along with you.”
That’s what I’d like to see more of in the disability community…those who have jobs, families, freedom, disposable income, health insurance, typical lives, etc., fighting for those in the community who don’t yet have even freedom. I’d like to see those whose particular disability label has resulted in more and richer funding not grow silent or disappear when the topic of funding and service equity across the community is raised. We must choose to stop fighting over crumbs of the pie and choose, instead, to change the pie, for all of us, together. Until we do, both freedom and employment will be ephemeral dreams for those who are perceived to be less worthy, at the bottom of the hierarchy. The disability community as a whole must choose to firmly reject tolerating the notion of “those people” in our own community, so that we can authentically and righteously demand that this country stop marginalizing us; stop playing fast and loose with our freedom; and stop keeping us out of the economic mainstream of America.
Without freedom, there is nothing. Without freedom, employment and the rest of a typical life aren’t possible. Without freedom, we will never have first class citizenship. Without freedom guaranteed, we all live under the shadow of losing our freedom at the whim of public policy and public policy-makers.
And speaking of policy-makers, and those who vote for them, I’d like to close with this. Once again, we in the disability community, and we who are very low income, are fighting for our lives during the federal recession, and the looming state budget cuts. And in the face of our employment and services advocacy and activism, how many times do we hear something like, “well, we have to be careful of the taxpayers’ money,” or “we’re talking about tax dollars here, so we can’t just give everyone what they want?”
Every Senator and Congressperson, every public department head, every front-line worker from whom we hear those words like a mantra lives off the same tax dollars as the person who receives SSI, and the child who is covered by Medicaid, and the grandma who gets Social Security retirement and Medicare. And to my knowledge, there is no rule book in the sky that accords more worth to the tax dollar that supports Congress and gives them Cadillac health insurance and retirement programs that the rest of us only dream about, than it does to the tax dollar that provides minimal support to a child, or person with a disability, or an aging person. Our freedom, our employment, and our very lives depend on accepting that truth and demanding that it be equitably implemented.
Post a comment about this blog!
Feb 26 02:57
Thank you so much for posting my thoughts. Just to set the record straight, though, I am definitely not "THE" ADAPT spokesperson, lol. I am but one member of the ADAPT media team, and one member of the amazing ADAPT Community. I may get quoted from time to time, but we function on the basis of consensus in ADAPT, so many of us are charged at different times with communicating that consensus. Thanks again for letting me weigh in. : )
Mar 11 09:08
i think the emphasis should be on education. when ppl traditionally think of employment for the disabled we often get regulated into a corner of administrative work or work at home jobs that are mainly customer service. or go into business for yourself. what about educating to be an auditor? engineer? systems administrator? networking etc? these are in demand jobs that can pay well and give the freedom so many desperately need. there also needs to be a nationwide support system. what if someone wants to do an internship in fl but they live in ca? how will they handle their medical supplies/aides/etc? the issue i keep running into is that i want the EXACT same opportunities as my peers; to be able to do an internship outside of my state and not have to worry about how i'll get my supplies, will medicaid pay for it if i'm out of state etc. we can't begin to get ourselves into decent employment and creating a system which, no matter where you go, independence is possible.
Amazing stuff,Thanks so much for this!This is very useful for me. i think it will absolutely help me alot with my projects .replica watches
Amazing post! thanx a lot! i hope i will back here soon,Thanks for this information, it was very helpful. Keep up the good work.This is very helpfull for me .Thanks,Great entry. I was helpful.
Sep 03 11:36
In the early 1900s, the firstwatches with replica watches matching pinwere made to wear on a lady'slapel. In 1915, the lapel [url=http://www.watchesbook.com]fake watches[/url] was improved: The watch face was upside down so the replica watches wearer could read it more easily http://www.watchesbook.com.
Feb 16 09:52
In the early 1900s, the first pens with http://www.deluxe4less.com matching pinwere made to wear on a lady'slapel. In 1915, the lapel [url=http://www.deluxe4less.com]fake pens[/url] was improved: The watch face was upside down so the replica pens wearer could read it more easily http://www.deluxe4less.com.
Thanks for posting. Well worth the read. Cheers, Matt.
replica watch |
Jul 21 10:03
For more replica watch imfortion click http://luxuryrolexwatch.webs.com
top quality watch retail and wholesale www.chinamakereplica.com