Where is the front line?

This piece was originally written by Michael Bailey, recommended  by Amber Smock, a Chicago based coordinator of ADAPT.  You can read her piece, “Disability’s Reverse Diaspora” from AREA 11 here.

Where is the front line?

Where is the front line of the struggle for disability rights?

In an Oklahoma nursing home a young man weeps from loneliness. There is the front line.

In institutions from Virginia to Iowa and beyond thousands of people are herded through their activities of daily living. There is the front line.

Every day more hundreds of thousands toil at meaningless piece meal work for sub minimum wage. The front line lies there.

In a care facility in Oregon a non verbal woman steels herself for her morning sexual abuse. There is the front line.

In every school district five year olds are funneled like sheep into segregated placements where they will learn they are really not a part of the school. Segregated placements are the front line of the disability rights movement.

In zombie like trances people with the label of mental illness suffer psychotropic drugs. Pharmaceutical companies and the Treatment Advocacy Center grow rich. There is the front line.

In Louisiana terrified people lie in nursing home beds waiting for Katrina’s surging waters to drown them. There is the front line.

In Seattle children are prepared for surgery that will rob them of their growth and their sexuality. The scourge of Ashley X. There is the front line.

Endless war creates thousands of young men and women with lifelong brain injury only to be denied care by the very Congress that sent them to combat. That too is the front line.

In an office building in Minnesota workers hasten to close an elevator door to keep a person with a disability from reaching it. That is the front line of the struggle.

People are told work will make them free only to learn that if they have a disability and need things like health insurance they may only hold $2000 in total assets. There is the front line.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico a mother with a disability loses custody of her children because she does not get them to appointments on time. There is no public transportation. There is the front line.

In every blind eye and hard heart and miserly spirit — there lies the front line.

On the backs of the warrior heroes of ADAPT, filling America’s jails with voices of protest. There is the front line.

Every reader can add to this list.

Welcome, comrades, to the endless struggle.