Handicap This!: January-February 2022

February 7, 2022

From the January-February 2022 issue of News & Letters

Disability rights activists have registered outrage at the disgusting comments of Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that it is “really encouraging” most COVID-19 deaths have been of people with other underlying health problems. This bureaucrat is voicing the inhumanity that killed tens of thousands of nursing home residents when COVID-19 patients were inappropriately shunted into these institutions. (This continues in a number of states.) New York State’s recent decision not to pursue charges against former Governor Cuomo, one of the worst perpetrators of this massacre, shows that once again the ruling class will not hold itself accountable for its crimes.

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In Caerphilly County Borough, Wales, Mike Allen, a formerly homeless British veteran who suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder from the war in Afghanistan, has opened a center for people who struggle with mental health and other issues. It is a scenic castle on a rural hillside built with the aid of local farmers, workmen and veterans. Allen told the BBC, “Building the castle has been a good coping mechanism. It’s been really beneficial to help others. We’ve had special needs children, special needs adults, pupil referral unit (alternative education) children, the local community. I still have good days and bad days and I try to push forward as best I can.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the growth of Disabled Student Unions on many U.S. university campuses, including American University in Washington, D.C.; Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.; St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and the University of California at Los Angeles. They aim to improve campus accessibility, raise awareness of issues faced by disabled students, and foster community. UCLA activist Quinn O’Connor pointed out: “When the pandemic started, the whole world was able to switch to remote and online learning, whereas disabled students have been asking for these accommodations for years, and the university has said, ‘That’s impossible.’ But now, it’s obviously possible.” The university is now threatening to revoke that access.

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The Society for Philosophy and Disability (SPD) is a “non-profit organization open to anyone who is interested in philosophical engagement with disability and to philosophy students, researchers and teachers who are disabled.” Since 2020 it has published The Journal of Philosophy of Disability, with one print issue so far and many online articles. The SPD can be found online at: societyforphilosophyanddisability.org.

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