Author: Alicia Reagan
Recently, a petition was all over my Facebook to get 100,000 signatures to stop Medicare from making inappropriate cuts to complex wheelchair accessories. I had been to United Spinal’s Roll On Capitol Hill this past year and knew what this was all about.
I took this petition on personally! I used my blog and asked my readers to take this seriously and help my kind! That post got over 13,000 hits. I took a video camera to my support group meeting and made some videos to play on my social media outlets to show how we would personally be affected! I did everything I knew to do to get the word out for that petition to be signed.
The petition is closed now. It only received 28,000 of the needed 100,000 signatures. 28,000? Really? I saw this thing posted all over major disability pages. I received emails about it from companies that service our needs. Are there only 28,000 disabled people who have the internet? Many of those signatures were from people like my friends who care about me and are not disabled at all! Where are we? Where were those signatures?
This brings up a very important issue that needs to be addressed. As a disabled person, how much do I depend on others to take care of me? While I may need help physically, have I let that attitude of neediness infiltrate my thinking in every other aspect of my life? I live in the world of disability, and therefore, I see the problems that can glitch up my daily life and needs. I have legitimate needs and concerns that must be solved and fought for. I am so thankful for the people that have taken these needs personally and fought to bring about many changes for the good of the disabled community! I reap these benefits every day. To sit in the wheelchair I do have, to park in an accessible space, to drive with my hand controls, to use a restroom I can fit in, and to be employed and treated with dignity are issues that were fought for by those who become involved! Are we personally involved or are we comfortable just complaining and then letting others take care of it for us?
November has us thinking about elections. I have personally reviewed voting facilities to make sure they are ADA compatible. There are organizations that focus solely on the disabled having access to vote. I appreciate the work they do! But how many of us actually go out and vote? How many of us will make sure others can vote? How many of us have called the candidates and asked them their views on things that are important to us and our world? How many of us have even taken a Google search to look at the candidates and see what they represent? They will work for us you know.
Disabilities have affected many things in our lives. Most of those things we can do very little about. I can petition all day long for these legs to move but they just won’t budge. However, the day I choose to not be an active part of change, is the day I have chosen to be disabled.
The right to equality is the responsibility of action. Be involved. Be the change you want to see.
Alicia Reagan is a dedicated disability advocate and member of United Spinal Association. To learn more about Alicia, visit http://aliciareagan.com/