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The brilliant way this woman brought the Women's March to the disabled community.

'People who are disabled are here and we can help in a million ways, especially with Internet access. Do not write us off as less-than or incapable.'

Sonya Huber, a professor at Fairfield University, very much wanted to attend the Women's March in Washington, D.C., on January 21. Her autoimmune diseases, however, posed a problem.

While she can walk, the diseases take a toll on her energy, and she fears exhaustion after extensive mobility would overtake her. And she's not alone. 22% of American adults are living with a disability, and 13% of adults have trouble with mobility.

Even though a record-shattering number of people with a disability are expected to attend the Women's March (perhaps the most in United States history), that shouldn't prevent the countless others who want to show their support, but physically can't make it happen.


So Huber, along with a few like-minded individuals, decided to create a virtual march for activists for whom the Women's March proved inaccessible.

Image via Disability March.

"I think that especially with big marches, the logistics of getting in and out of a city can be prohibitive," writes Huber in an email, although she believes the Women's March has been very active and responsive in terms of marchers' needs.

Their mission is the same as the Women's March, part of which states "in the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore."

Participants are signing up on the Disability March website by entering their names, a photo, and a short explanation of why they're marching.

When she was younger and had more mobility, Huber admits she didn't always give the disabled community the consideration it deserves. Of course that changed when she herself became disabled.

Image via Sonya Huber.

"I struggled for a long time with putting myself in that category because social stigma and fear makes that category seem something separate and very hard," Huber wrote in her Disability March bio. "Hello, ableism and internalized ableism."

Today, she knows all too well how much that stigma negatively affects the disabled community and has thus made it her mission to turn it around.

"People who are disabled are here and we can help in a million ways, especially with Internet access," wrote Huber. "Do not write us off as less-than or incapable."

The response they've received from the disabled community has been overwhelming, which proves people were indeed looking for an accessible activist outlet.

Participants have been asked to tweet messages of solidarity using the hashtag #DisabilityMarch and direct tweets at elected officials explaining why better health care matters to them. Their goal is to make themselves as visible as possible — virtually speaking.

in solidarity from the global south, #WomensMarch #MarchingForward #DisabilityMarch

A photo posted by Shahana Hanif🍌🍌🍌 (@sha.banana) on

The Disability March is a reminder to allies as well as elected officials that the disabled community has a voice and deserves a space in protest movements.

In the next four years, there will likely be many more calls to action and moments of protest, and accessibility should be a key consideration of those organizing.

As is evident by the Disability March, and the many other disabled activist movements currently taking shape around the country, people living with disabilities are just as capable of fighting for their rights as anyone else. Just because some of them may need to do it from home doesn't mean their action will be any less effective or should be taken any less seriously.

Sometimes, in the rush to get a movement organized, the disabled community gets left out or tacked on at the end as an afterthought. At a time when their rights may be among those most threatened, they should be at the center of activist agendas, not the outskirts.

As the conclusion of the Women's March mission states, "We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

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via Pixabay

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