Handicap This!: September-October 2022

September 13, 2022

From the September-October 2022 issue of News & Letters

by Elise

Disabled dancer Rodney Bell Ngati Maniapoto is touring Australia with his dances Meremere and Hurihuri. With his wheelchair as his partner, he tells stories of his life including leaving his homeland New Zealand, the accident that disabled him, becoming a member of Seattle’s dance group Axis for five years and then his homelessness journey. His performances in New Zealand inspired some audience members to come up to him and tell him their stories.

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California Institute of Technology is among those colleges and universities resisting disabled students’ demands for accommodations, even though their chief communications officer said: “We work closely with each student who seeks an accommodation.” Riley Brooker started having frequent seizures, and sought authorization from Caltech to miss classes and receive accommodations to keep up with her coursework. Caltech refused. Part of the problem for disabled students is that the Americans With Disabilities Act vaguely says institutions of higher education must provide “reasonable accommodations” to their students. While Caltech Accessibility Services for Students is inadequate, Generation Patient and the Association on Higher Education and Disability work for disabled college and university students to actually be accommodated.

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Ireland held its first Disability Pride and Power Festival in July. In addition to an annual Disability Power Parade, Disability Power Ireland organized the play by Smashing Barriers theatre company What We Thought Was Good For Us. They as well presented: the Disability Power Ireland Launch panel of disability activists, artists and educators; a night of comedy performances Comedy Night!; A History of the UK and Irish Disabled People’s Movements panel; and a solidarity virtual event with Chicago Disability Pride Parade on the history of the Disability Pride movements worldwide.

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