by Mel Tanzman, Executive Director
These are the closing inspirational words to our Nation’s Pledge of Allegiance. However, as a disability and civil rights activist I know that those in power in our nation have not shown adequate allegiance to those closing words. While I don’t want to use this as a sounding board for my personal political beliefs: these beliefs are not necessarily representing all of WDOMI; I have to ask if those words have any meaning to: the families of black victims of police violence; immigrants who now have to live in fear; those with non-traditional sexual orientations/identities who are threatened with losing hard won progress; and yes People with Disabilities who live in poverty and who have an unemployment rate hovering at 70%. So I sit here on the morning after the House of Representatives voted to pass a repeal and replace health care law that will decimate Medicaid and health care to give a new tax break to the top .1% of our nation’s wealthiest folks, and say without being unpatriotic that those words ring hollow.
Since President Trump’s November shocker, the term INDIVISABLE has taken on a new meaning signifying a commitment to resist changes that would move us further away from the ideals of Liberty and Justice and a new activism that has the potential to bring a new era of true democracy. Indivisible is defined as “unable to be divided or separated”. A few days after the election of Donald Trump, two former congressional staffers talked about what many in America were talking about: what do we do now? They wrote a handbook called Indivisible, a roadmap to defeating the Trump agenda modeled on the local organizing done by the Tea Party and published it online on December 14, 2016. The outcome has been earth-shattering: The Guide has been viewed or downloaded over 2 million times; People from across the country have searched for a group, meeting, or event over 3 million times; 5,800 groups have registered (at least 2 in every congressional district in the nation!); www.indivisibleguide.com has been viewed over 18 million times by over 3 million unique users from every state. This is indeed the beginning of a new movement being carried out locally, such as Town Meetings confronting elected officials. Hundreds have been held protesting the repeal of “Obamacare”. Although they have been dismissed by the President as the creation of paid liberal activists, the compelling testimony based on real people’s lives cannot be refuted. Nationally, the historic Women’s March brought about 500,000 people to Washington, about three times the numbers gathered to watch the Presidents inauguration the day earlier. In addition hundreds of thousands around the world gathered in local locations. Last Saturday April 29th over 200,000 again gathered in Washington to protest climate change. Once again, hundreds of thousands gathered in local sister marches.
So what does this mean to the average person with a disability: Its simple: GET INVOLVED so that our needs and priorities are heard. Check out Indisibleguide.com, learn and find a local chapter. There are over 30 groups in Westchester alone. If we are not active we will be ignored. Let’s organize an Indivisible Disability Group nationwide and remember: NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US