( ENSPIRE Resources ) July 26th Marks the 30th Anniversary of the Signing of the ADA, but We Still Have a Long Ways to Go For Equality for Everyone
ENSPIRE Contributor: Amanda Hirsch
As we have been seeing for years and years and still today, Black people are at a greater risk of violence and abuse at the hands of police. Having a disability puts Black people at an even greater risk. Many police are not trained to identify and interact with individuals with disabilities. A person with a disability may have eloped and is lost and scared by the time the cops find them. Different kinds of disabilities cause different triggers, which vary from person to person. If a police officer encounters someone with a disability and is not aware that this is why they are resisting orders, this person is most likely going to get arrested and suffer through a traumatic experience.
If an officer found a Black person with a disability and gave them orders which they did not comply with, they are trained to immediately resort to the use of force. Many people argue that police should receive training and education about how to interact with people with disabilities to avoid this situation, but the majority of police departments have not adopted this mindset.
This month on July 26th marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act which is a monumental piece of legislation. It prohibits the discrimination of people with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The catch is that there is no mention of skin color or ethnicity in its wording. This is why we must take it into our own hands to protect and support our Black and Brown brothers and sisters with disabilities to ensure that they suffer no more violence due to a lack of understanding or impatience. We can start by donating and volunteering with organizations that support the aforementioned mission.
The Autistic People of Color Fund is a non-profit organization that provides direct financial aid to people of color with Autism. They do not have a minimum age requirement and they do not require proof of a diagnosis when applying for aid. This factor is extremely beneficial because people who are struggling financially usually do not have the funds to receive a professional diagnosis. They rely solely on donations to provide funds for applicants so if you are able to donate, you can visit their website here.
The Disability Justice Culture Club is an organization made up of disabled and/ or neuro-divergent queer people of color. They operate out of the East Oakland area, and they are currently delivering funds to QTBIPOC in the Bay Area. If you are interested in donating, their venmo is @Yomi-Wrong.
The National Black Disability Coalition is an organization that was formed in 1990 in response to the need for Black people with disabilities in America to organize, focus on mutual concerns, and to address issues with an emphasis on people who live in poverty. Their goals include promoting unity, equity, and opportunity for Black people with disabilities. To support their mission or to donate, visit their website here.
Black Lives Matter has not only acknowledged people with disabilities, but they include them in their protests and their mission. As we continue to support BLM and Black and Brown communities, we must also fight for better treatment and understanding of people of color with disabilities. We need to do better for everyone and love everyone equally regardless of their abilities or disabilities.