Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center at UCLA

I gave a talk today about one of my research projects at the Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center at UCLA, as part of their "Women, Knowledge, and Power" speaker series. What a fun bunch of women (and one man): they really embraced my subject, Marion Brown (1843-1915), a Scotswoman who had an array of serious, chronic health issues. They shared how much of their own experience was echoed in excerpts of Marion Brown's letters to her American cousins. Wonderful feedback, wonderful questions, wonderful stories. They're the kind of audience I like best. (And I got a piece of someone's birthday cake in the bargain.)

research on 'blogworld'

Hi readers! I know I haven't been posting much lately, but I have been giving some thought to blogs as a way of communicating across distance and as a way of forging flexible yet robust communities. Researchers at MIT are interested in these kinds of social networks, so I invite those of you who are active in this sphere to consider participating in their on-line survey. Simply select the button below.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey (Or is the Bell Curve me?) Mike

Friday, June 24, 2005

Women Make Movies...with disability themes

I just got around to looking at the various brochures I picked up in the book exhibit at the Berks. One is a catalog from Women Make Movies, a "distributor of independent films by and about women, with a focus on cutting-edge documentaries and intellectually challenging works in all genres." A few of the listed new and recent releases have disability themes, so I thought I'd pass along the titles here: Mama Wahunzi (Women Blacksmiths) is a film by Lawan Jirasuradej, about "three disabled East African women who defied convention to train as blacksmiths and now build wheelchairs for themselves and their community." Quick Brown Fox: An Alzheimer's Story is a film by Ann Hedreen and Rustin Thompson that's called "an incisive political exploration of the dementia industry." And Queen of the Mountain is a film by Martha Goell Lubell about Theresa Goell, an archaeologist who was hard-of-hearing, pursuing "her passion at Nemrud Dagh, a mountain in Turkey that had eluded archaeologists for centuries." Each of these films is just under an hour long, and available on VHS; the second and third are also available on DVD.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

More on the TennCare Cuts

Even though these massive (over 300,000 disenrolled) cuts are occurring in Tennessee, we must be involved and let leaders like Sen Frist know medical care cannot be denied to people just because of budget cuts. Thousands may die within weeks of TennCare's cuts. Which state will following in massive medicaid cuts? Which state will be next killing disabled and poor? See the documentary about the truth with TennCare cuts and show we share their fight. 323,000 -- a documentary about the largest health care cuts in American

Monday, June 20, 2005

Desiree Hawks

I probably won't get many chances to mention my interest in NHRA drag racing on a disability blog, but this scholarship announcement caught my eye. The winner of the Sears Craftsman $25,000 scholarship (intended for high school seniors planning a career in automotive/industrial technology, marketing, or manufacturing) is a California girl this year, Desiree Hawks. I sort of expected a story that highlighted her gender--most of the 650 applicants were boys. But I didn't expect the story to highlight her status as a student with a learning disability, too: "Not everyone has the same abilities. We are all good at different things, which makes us the individual people we are," Ms. Hawks explains in her statement. The dreaded word "overcame" appears in the article, and she sounds a bit Miss America in her goal to "show kids with and without learning disabilities that education is available in many fields," but overall, it's nice to see a young woman so open to breaking all kinds of stereotypes; and nice to see her recognized with a big scholarship, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Justice for All web ring posts interview about forcing vent users into nursing homes

Governor Bredesen Issues Life Sentences to Vent Users.

Before and after a media event Governor Bredesen, of Tennessee, was confronted about several issues surrounding the states TennCare cuts. Under a special category of TennCare there are around one hundred individuals who use ventilators that receive support services in there own homes. Governor Bredesens plan to cut TennCare includes cutting the TennCare coverage that allows individuals that are vent dependent to live independent lives. Some live in their own homes, some with family or friends but they are all free Americans. When asked directly by Randy Alexander what his plans were in relation to these specific cuts Governor Bredesen replied, Im not going to cut their services Im just going to put then in the nursing home.

So you are saying, you, will institutionalize people because they have a disability asked Randy Alexander? Yes, replied Bredesen, I care about them, Im not cutting their services Im going to provide their services in a nursing home, the Governor continued.

Are you going to sentence them to prison for the crime of having a disability? A nursing home is an institution, an institution is imprisonment and you are saying today, right now, you are willing to sentence them to prison for the crime of having a disability, asked Alexander. Governor Bredesen began to step away as he said, the state cannot afford to pay for the services of these one hundred people.

We are talking about basic human rights here, you have admitted today you, this state, is willing to imprison people simply because they have a disability, said Alexander before the Governor had a chance to walk away.

The Governors plan is to do just that, issue life sentences to those who use vents. He is willing to take away the freedoms of over one hundred people in this state simply because they have a disability.

Today Governor Bredesen was confronted by members of the Memphis Center for Independent Living, ADAPT of Tennessee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. More info will be made available tomorrow.

Free Our People!

Randy Alexander
Memphis Center For Independent Living
1633 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104

Governor Bredesen
Governor's Office
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-0001

Phone: 615.741.2001
Fax: 615.532.9711
Email: phil.bredesen@state.tn.us


Forwarded by Mark Johnson, Mark_Johnson@shepherd.org.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Frieda Zames, 72, Advocate for Disabled, Dies

Sad news of the death of an important activist and Disability Studies author, from the NY Times, June 17, 2005, by Margalit Fox

Frieda Zames, a prominent advocate for the disabled who lobbied to make New York City accessible to them, died yesterday morning at her home in Manhattan. She was 72.

The cause has not been determined, said Anne Emerman, a longtime friend. She said Ms. Zames had been recovering at home from a recent appendectomy.

Ms. Zames, a retired mathematics professor, was a past president of Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York, an advocacy group. At her death, she was a vice president of the organization.

Over the last several decades, Ms. Zames, who used a motorized scooter because of the effects of childhood polio, worked to improve access in places like subway stations, movie theaters, stores, restaurants and public restrooms. Her work helped make city buses wheelchair-accessible beginning in the 1980's; in recent years, she lobbied for wheelchair access to taxis and ferryboats.

With her sister, Doris Zames Fleischer, Ms. Zames wrote "The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation" (Temple University, 2001), a historical survey.

Frieda Zames was born in Brooklyn in 1932. She earned an undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College and a doctorate in mathematics from New York University. Until her retirement, she taught for many years at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

In addition to her sister, of Brooklyn, Ms. Zames is survived by her partner of more than 30 years, Michael Imperiale.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Accessible art OR parking

Rolling Rains Report points out this story, about a component of the Santa Fe Design Week festivities involving the beautification of accessible parking spaces. But...isn't there a problem? The art is only visible if folks with parking placards stay AWAY. Thinking through some more welcoming alternatives... maybe a sound installation that's triggered by the presence of a vehicle with proper plates or a placard? or maybe, something that points art-minded onlookers to notice the striped area NEXT to the parked van, highlighting the true function of that space (which is not, contrary to common practice, a great place to abandon your grocery cart).

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Disability history at the Berks

I spent the weekend at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, which happens every three years and happened about an hour's drive from me this go-round, at Scripps College in Claremont CA. Disability historians interested in gender were there in good numbers: at one table for the Saturday night barbecue, we had Susan Burch, Donna Ryan, Janice Brockley, Heather Munro Prescott, Cathy Kudlick, Martha Stoddard Holmes, Wendy Kline, and myself (apologies if I'm forgetting anyone). Didn't see any of their presentations (those who gave them--Susan Burch's panel was opposite the one I was chairing, for one excuse), but the talk around the lunch and dinner tables was invigorating.