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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Disability Representation in the Women’s March on Washington

On Saturday, January 21, there will be a Women’s March on Washington, which aims to send a message to all levels of government, including but not limited to the incoming Presidential Administration, that we stand together in solidarity and we expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families, and their communities. If you are in the DC area, you can join the march, which begins at 10:00 a.m. on the corner of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW.

Across the nation, there are over 270 Sister Marches planned on the same day, and over 577,480 people are expected at these events and these numbers are growing daily. To find a march / rally near you, visit: www.womensmarch.com/sisters.

There are lots of ways advocates can become involved if you are not already. The first is reaching out to event leaders and making sure the event is accessible. Logistics, such as ensuring ASL interpreters are secured for the day; checking out the march / rally route and working with organizers to ensure the route of travel is accessible and working with volunteer teams to have them understand disability issues and have a plan if wheelchairs break down, or if someone needs assistance; making sure there are accessible portable toilets and accessible bathrooms nearby; ensuring that the staging area is accessible and encouraging that some of the presenters are people with disabilities and can talk about the issues women with disabilities are faced with. 

Rahnee Patrick, Director of Advocacy at Access Living in Chicago, is speaking at her local event and said, “I am participating because women with disabilities are central to a just society. We need to fight more than ever for our own agency as human beings and this march is to announce we will not be cowed to accept charity.”

The voices of the disability community need to be heard at all of the marches / rallies across our country. We encourage all in our movement to participate in these activities. We know that there are important stories to be shared and we encourage you to get out and speak on January 21, or share experiences of the struggle on social media in solidarity on that day. Take a stand against the discriminatory practices in many states that have laws on the books to terminate the rights of parents based on having a disability. Bring awareness that women with disabilities are sexually assaulted at higher rates than non-disabled women. Talk to someone about hospitals not being accessible, and the horror stories of Deaf women experiencing childbirth without a requested ASL interpreter. Remind America about issues of sexuality and personal stories you have experienced. Kings Floyd, NCIL’s Youth Fellow will be marching and says, “We march to boldly state the importance and intersectionality of women with disabilities; we demand, as all women do, the right to be treated and respected equally, and the march is our chance to speak out in that regard.”

We would love to hear about your experiences and if you are participating in your local march in any way. Feel free to connect with us if you want more information about this, or about the NCIL Women’s Caucus, by emailing slaunderville@vcil.org or mmmoore@ilcnsca.org.

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