As the Black Lives Matter movement gains traction, people with disabilities are being left out of this push for racial justice. Disabled Black people and other disabled people of color are even more disproportionately impacted by poverty and racism, and are at greater risk of COVID-19 infections than their able-bodied counterparts.
Many Black people with disabilities are unable to participate in protests because of the severity of their disability and being immunocompromised. Their voices are not amplified and heard around the nation — they continue to be marginalized and forgotten.
I am acutely aware of my privilege as a white woman, but I do experience some disadvantages as a deaf woman who speaks and reads lips.
When decisions are made in an attempt to keep communities safe, there is too little consideration of the impact on the disability community. For example, the face-coverings mandate presents enormous challenges for lipreaders like me and for those with neurodiverse conditions.
Elizabeth Ralston, MPH, Seattle
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