Disabled Iraqi vets
Disability rights movement – the other
civil rights movement
Disabled Iraqi vets will face their greatest challenge in their transition into
the community. As they move from “brave hero” to the life of a
citizen, they will have to negotiate the enormous tasks of re-establishing
their social life, obtaining an education, and finding employment, work, and
None of this is being talked about in the press.
Simi Linton has made the transition to life as a disabled citizen and can provide
new angles for journalists who wish to tackle the subject. A particular interest
is to demonstrate how the disability rights movement and the disability community
can help these men and women move towards community and social integration. This
is a major focus of her book, My Body Politic.
Disabled people form the largest minority in America. This constituency is chronically
under-represented in the media, and their issues are often misrepresented.
Simi Linton can speak on a myriad of issues related to disability rights, including
public transportation, discrimination in the workplace, equitable voting rights, “special” education,
and physician-assisted suicide.
Advances and remaining obstacles
Thanks to the disability rights movement that gathered force in
the 1970s, disabled people are a more visible presence in American
society today and disability issues are making their way into
the mainstream. However, there is still 70 percent unemployment
in the disability community, and discrimination and segregation
still mark most disabled people’s lives.
As an example, there is greater access to education and advanced
training in professional fields and in the arts, yet these benefits
are unevenly distributed by gender, class, and race, and are available
to only a small fraction of the people seeking such opportunities.
Simi Linton has witnessed the advances made in the quest for equity
over the last 35 years. She can comment on the state of the disability
community today, describing the gains as well as the significant
obstacles that remain.