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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.'

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

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."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less