Sunday, March 01, 2009

Thoughts after the 3rd Annual New DEEL Conference

Thanks to Stuart Murray at Leeds University for making us aware of additional lenses through which British citizens are viewing the story Cerrie Burnell of the children's show Cbeebies.

"The BBC/Cerrie Burnell story has also been conflated here in the UK with that surrounding the death of Ivan Cameron, the disabled 6-year old son of David Cameron, who's the leader of the Conservative party, and (to a lesser degree) that surrounding the death of writer Christopher Nolan. These two links [one; two], from today's Sunday Times might be of interest." exerpt from email communication to the SDS discussion listserv
Together these might constitute something of a 'perfect storm' of interest in disability issues. One of our more popular television news anchors on this side of the pond (don't recall, but perhaps it was NBC's Brian Williams) shared with viewers his proclivity of reading the newspaper obituary section, which inspired him to note the Economist's notice of the death (and through it the life) of Christopher Nolan, of which he had otherwise not been aware. But there has been very little coverage of the sympathetic connection between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and David Cameron in our media (although see Beth Haller's post on Media Dis&Dat); I was only made aware of it by an English and an Australian participant at the New DEEL (Democratic, Ethical Educational Leadership) Conference held at Temple University this past Thursday through Saturday [conference; blog]. These two men included mention of this in their "Letters to World Leaders" as part of a morning plenary panel.

My own presentation at the New DEEL conference, for the lunchtime panel "Democratic, Ethical Communities and the New Administration," reviewed the history of disability activision in the MidAtlantic region and and our current capacity building, designed to support the growth and raise the visibility of the disability community on and around Temple. [Watch this space for a link to the slides on] In discussing the role that our senior instructor Carol Marfisi played in fighting with ADAPT for the passage of the ADA, I also pointed out that we can't know in advance what leaders and administrations might bode well for the advance of disability rights; after all, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed and signed during George Bush Sr.'s presidency, only to be stripped of much of its teeth due to Supreme Court decisions during the Bill Clinton presidency.

We also mourn the loss a very important local activist this week, co-founder of the Pennsylvania Education for All Coalition, Patricia "Trish" Creegan this week, to very aggressive form of lung cancer. She was taken far too soon, and yet we realize she would want us to celebrate her accomplishments and indominable spirit by getting back up and fighting for supports to that students with disabilities can take advantage of the wonderful resources of American universities like Temple. The net effect of these connections has been, I hope, to bring matters of disability supports and education FOR ALL firmly to the attention of our leaders. My further hope is that we will develop further connections with New DEEL activists as well.

Sincerely, Mike


catherine (fairchild) calhoun said...


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