Disability Awareness Bewareness

Amy Sequenzia on Disability Awareness campaigns that silence the very people they claim to advocate for.

BE AWARE OF THE DEFICITS, BEWARE OF THE DEFICITS, BEWARE, BEWARENESS, Amy Sequenzia, Ollibean logo, an outline of a circle, made up of equal signs of different shapes, colors and sizes.

I Am Aware of You

I am aware of you

Of your dismissiveness

Of your hostility

Of your badly disguised contempt

 

You say you do all that

Because it is a much needed

First step

 

A first step

Towards acceptance, you say

But we need to change our ways first

 

A first step

Towards better services, you say

As long as not-us are served first

 

You claim to speak for some of us

The ones you call trapped

Voiceless

Severely damaged

But you don’t try to listen to what we say

Especially if we don’t use our voices

 

You silence us

 

You claim to understand what we need

As long as it fits with your idea of

Convenience

Normalization

“Desired outcomes”

 

The step you want us to take

Lead us not up

Nor forward

 

It leads us

Nowhere

 

We become targets

Of mockery

Of pity

Of hate

 

I am aware of you

And of your strategies

 

You want to use our lives

To raise money

To promote your ideas that

Bear little resemblance to

The life we want to live

 

You say you are listening

Then

You call us unreasonable when

We demand respect

 

I am aware of you

And I see your game

“Let’s listen to both sides”, you chastise us

Already dividing what shouldn’t be negotiable:

Our dignity

Our voices

Our experiences

 

One side – us – seeking respect and understanding

Your side seeking authority

Decision making status

Control

 

I am aware of you

 

You spread “beware of us”

You side with,

Defend and promote

Anyone

Who rejects us

 

I am aware of you

 

Empathy

Respect

Community

Allyship

 

You know the words

You don’t live the concept

We listen until we tire

The words overwhelm and pierce our soul:

 

DEFICITS

BE AWARE OF THE DEFICITS

BEWARE OF THE DEFICITS

BEWARE

BEWARENESS

 

Silent we are no longer

We are aware of you

 

You want us to change

You say that compliance will make us happy

You call us inflexible

Difficult

A “behavior” case

 

But I am aware of you and

Of your inflexibility

Your unwillingness to see us

As people

With our own goals

Our own feelings, and

Self-determination

 

You yell: LIFE SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT!

But you only want one thing – Compliance

 

I am aware of you

 

I am aware of you

I beware of your awareness

I reject your approach

 

I am aware of you

 

Are you aware of your

Undesirable

Unwanted

Intrusive

Unhelpful

BEWARENESS?

 

I am aware

Of you

Of your methods

Of your game – a rigged game of power

That denies us humanity

I am aware – of you

 

Copyright 2016 by Amy Sequenzia

I WRITE ABOUT

 #ableism

#neurodiversity

#autism

About the Author:

Amy Sequenzia is a non-speaking Autistic, multiply disabled activist and writer. Amy writes about disability rights, civil rights and human rights. She also writes poetry. Amy has presented in several conferences in the US and abroad, and her work is featured in books about being Autistic and Disabled. Amy is deeply involved with the Neurodiversity Movement and has been outspoken about the rights and worthy of disabled people. Amy serves on the Board of Directors of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). http://nonspeakingautisticspeaking.blogspot.com and Autism Women’s Network. You can also follow Amy on Twitter at @AmySequenzia.

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