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Imperative Voice

 

To all of my NMD gimpy friends, an individual instance of a systemic problem must get our attention. I don't think anyone can genuinely argue that there are not legitimate questions surrounding Jerika's circumstances. Perhaps the questions have good answers, as some of you claim. Perhaps they do not. The reality is we will never know. But it seems to me that a bigger cause for the divide is whether the questions should be asked in the first place. To that I feel incredibly strongly that they must...because at least if we speak up, we have the intellectual debate rather than hang our head because it's not our business, we are skeptical rather than take things at face value, then we tell the world that we're paying attention. That we care. That we matter. In a world where the life of minorities is all too often undervalued (and has been since the beginning of time), this can't possibly be a bad thing. I have seen close to a dozen stories this year about people all over the world getting excused for murdering their disabled children, having courts rule on the lesser value of disabled life, police brutality against people with disabilities, and now, treating a teenager's decision to die as applaudable and brave. Not only do I think it is okay for us to speak up with concern, I am terrified to think of a world without that voice. Well...if we were alive just a handful of decades ago...I think it is safe to assume none of us would want to return to those circumstances. Now ask yourself, what has been the cause of the change? The acceptance? The accessibility? The opportunities? That voice! And look how far we still have to go before we have the care we need, the equipment we need, the right to marry without losing benefits, the right to airplane access and bathrooms. These are all causes we can get behind, but it takes a voice. And whether you are comfortable with it or not, that is the same voice that questions Jerika's situation, because it is the voice that makes sure disabled lives are valued.

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