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Juneteenth, Disability, and Freedom Revisited

Two years ago, we asked DRP intern, Shawn Aleong, about his thoughts on what freedom means as a Black man with a disability, but that was before a worldwide pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and countless deaths of people with disabilities caused by police brutality. Figuring that his views may have changed considering these events, we asked him to, once again, reflect on the push towards freedom and change.

As I reflect on the past year and past June, we have a whole lot of work to be done. Not only for justice but for civil rights as well. We need to put forth a major effort to end police brutality, which has been a pandemic in and of itself. For 400 years, people of color and people with disabilities have been oppressed by society. Much like Dr. King once said, “[Black people are] still the poorest American, walled in by color and poverty. The law pronounces [them] equal--abstractly--but [their] conditions of life are still far from equal to those of other Americans. “

For centuries, America has also been stigmatizing disabilities. We still feel the effects of that stigma today. When we say that we have progressed, how have we progressed when we still have police brutality, unequal access to housing, and a lack of competitive jobs for people with disabilities?

Yet, we say that America is the land of the free.

We must come to the realization that America still has its failings that it needs to fix to become a nation of inclusivity and access for all. Black people and disabled people of color are more likely to be incarcerated and discriminated against—all because of the existence of disability and racism in their lives. It doesn’t matter which groups you identify with, if you’re an African American with a disability, society will look at you like you are not capable.

I hope one day, a Black disabled person will be able to live freely without judgment or persecution when they are simply existing. I hope that one day Black people, with and without disabilities, can have that American Dream we are told exists. I hope one day, public schools become more integrated for black disabled children so that they can learn without boundaries. I hope one day we will live up to the true creed of our democracy.

I hope that one day our human rights will be recognized. 

Voting stickers and

Harrisburg, PA | Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) announces the release of their 2020 Voting Access Report, a detailed analysis of accessibility issues Pennsylvanians with disabilities experienced in the 2020 General Election. Despite the expanded availability of mail-in ballots due to Act 77 and Act 12, simple proximity to the ballot does not ensure complete accessibility. Hurdles to voting both in person and through the mail remain. The report discusses the issues for the disability community in utilizing mail-in ballots, issues for voters in long-term care facilities, barriers to voting access for the visually impaired, and access barriers for in-person voters...

Settlement of Lawsuit gives people with mobility impairments greater access to their communities.
Following a class-action lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Pennsylvania, removable medical equipment, such as wheelchair ramps, wheelchair lifts, ceiling lifts, and stair glides, is now covered under Medicaid for children and adults with mobility impairments. Read more
Need help accessing a vaccine? Learn more about our vaccine hotline.

People with disabilities who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, or who are experiencing problems getting it, can call DRP at (833) DRP-2-VAX, (833- 377- 2829) or email DRP at between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Read more

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
301 Chestnut Street Suite 300 | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
800-692-7443 |

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