Gap & Ledges : A City Tale of Subways, Wheelchairs and Danger!
I decided to get back on the subway, but this time bring a small video camera with so I could document the process. Here you can see proof that some subway cars that pull up to wheelchair accessible stations, are simply not wheelchair accessible.
I checked the MTA website and there was no construction or broken elevators that would impact my trip and yet…
In parts of the video, I slowed down the footage so you can see the varying heights of subway car entrances/ledges.
It’s called Gap & Ledges : A City Tale of Subways, Wheelchairs and Danger! I hope you all enjoy it and pass it on!
And a big thank you to everyone who has been liking, retweeting and reblogging these posts. I really appreciate it.
I was looking at ideas for costumes that would go around my wheelchair and I found all these! How cute are these kids!
HAPPY WORKOUT WEDNESDAY!
You are strong. As a member of the “other,” you are going to develop a toughness. You won’t have a thick skin, but you will be a survivor…
"You get proud by practicing…" - Laura HersheySome days you would tell them, the kids on the playground, you were born different. Some days you would say you were just like them but needed a little help. Some of the time it felt real to say that your legs were broken and would never get better. Eight years old and you were into complexity. Not a bad start I would say. The only requirement was that you told these stories yourself because it was the only way.That time on your first day of middle school when you visited the second grade classroom and the boy took one look at you and dived underneath a bookcase, I’m sorry about that. You did a really good job luring him out with your warm smile and kindness, but it was totally reasonable for you to wonder when it was that you entered the business of assauging discomfort and why it is that you got so good at it. You were born into a world where disabled people were and are doing battle against an image of ourselves that was unthinkably negative and devaluing. I have learned about, indeed I have felt in myself, the sense of urgency that this instills. I sometimes scathingly refer to this as “operation overcompensation.” And it is unfair and it has done harm particularly, I think, to the disabled women of our generation. None of that is to undermine the horror of what people before us have experienced. I try to think a little bit everyday about the fact that I live at home with my family most of the time. When I’m not home I’m at school. These simple facts make me (us) different from most people before us. But in our efforts to prove ourselves, let’s try, not to lose our richness.One time I was at a scooter demo with my mom and I met the first person ever who I consciously perceived as being a disabled activist. She told me that what her organization did was to raise hell until everything got better. I admired the sentiment, but could feel innately that that is not what I believed in. I do not eat nails for breakfast and I do not raise hell. I value nuance and complexity more that I value hard hitters. This realization evoked in me a good deal of self-loathing. I would lie in bed at night wondering if I would end up on the right side of history or have the courage to help my community. This, I’m sorry to say, is what you have to look forward to.What I think now is this: the movement takes all types and who you are is valuable. I think the work of that movement is not to take an extremely negative narrative and flip it positive. It’s to challenge all narratives that make disabled lives seem simple. You are not worthless and you are also not a hero (yet), live rich and live messy (a concept I took from Harriet McBride Johnson—read her!) and you are doing the work of disability rights activism. That and tell your storyPart of what this means is that just as you question the systems that kept disabled people down, question the ones that govern the way we pull ourselves back up. Think about what it means to overcome disability, and how if we do maybe something gets lost. I promise that this way you will start to develop some pride in who you are. Also, think about how the narrative of overcoming compounds the stigma on people who can’t function within it. Think about how ideas about success are reinforced by societal forces bigger than any of us and that they leave people behind sometimes.You need to know that understanding complexity doesn’t have to mean lacking moral grit. It just means being generous to people until you can’t be anymore. Like that time when the accessible theater led you through a garbage dump for the privilege of riding up their freight elevator, maybe we should have left that theater. Maybe equal access concerns are not segregation, but they are not ok either. So challenge yourself to navigate that thoughtfully.Figuring things out is really a life-long process. Feel the urgency, don’t let it take your pride. I am writing to you from a place of hope still to come.- Lili
"Letters to Thrive" originated from a small mentoring program that serves young women with disabilities. The program, Thrive Mentoring, is an Easter Seals Massachusetts based mentoring program that pairs each of its disabled young women mentees with older women with disabilities as their mentors. The goals of the mentoring program include empowering the young women as proud members of this larger network of women with disabilities.
In 2013 the mentees and mentors of the Thrive Mentoring Program were asked to write letters to their younger selves with any words of advice, or life lessons another young woman would find helpful. The shared social experiences from those letters were incredibly well-received amongst one another and a few, with the authors’ permission, were then published on this tumblr. As the internet often does so well the impact from those letters became widespread. It didn’t take long before other women (from all around the world) with disabilities began submitting their own letters, and so this tumblr jumped to life!
"Letters to Thrive" is a welcoming and safe place where women with disabilities, young and old, have the opportunity to speak and read the words from one another. Our strength comes from our numbers, our power comes from our shared bonds, and our impact comes from this community we claim.
"And you know, the fact is, nobody knew that they were prosthetic legs. They were the star of the show - these wooden boots peeking out from under this raffia dress - but in fact, they were actually legs made for me."
Aimee Mullins, on her look in the Alexander McQueen S/S 1999 show.