Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What do Occupy Wall Street and Disability Rights have in common?

People finding their voice.

At the time of the writing, the number of people protesting in the Wall Street area is growing. Without a designated leader or specific agenda, participants are expressing their anger with corporate greed and the ineffectiveness of government. Similar protests are spontaneously emerging around the country. Where this will go, how much life does it have, and what will emerge is not clear at all. What does seem clear, however, is that people are not satisfied with a political economy that has a growing and blatant disparity between the various social classes.

As government spending at every level is reduced, unemployment remains at 9%, the poverty rate increases, and foreclosures continue. Simultaneously, many S&P companies are increasing dividends and profitability. Rancor amongst elected officials continues while the approval rating of Congress is lower than it was for O.J. Simpson during his trial.

Yes, people are angry.

They are angry at a system that is not solving problems. They are angry at government cuts that look at bottom lines without understanding the ripple effect. They are angry at the tax structure. They are angry at being “graduated” from services. They are angry at cuts in heating assistance when oil prices are up 38% from a year ago.

They are angry about not having a voice.

What is taking place on Wall Street and cities throughout the country is a demand to be heard. Everyone should listen and they should listen closely – this is what democracy sounds like.

- Burt Danovitz


  1. I am an Advocate with RCIL. I am glad that our agency talks a lot about finding “pathways out of poverty.” This is urgently needed by most of my consumers. Poverty is the number one source for almost all of their difficulties. If we address poverty directly - we address the root cause of our consumers’ problems. Therefore, I want to know - not IF – but how - RCIL plans to be a part of the Wall Street protests. Local demonstrations will be happening in Albany. I am ready to take it to the streets. Who is with me?


  2. Are you serious?

    Your clients, your consumers as you so lovingly described them -- are first and foremost people. People who are not best served by protesting without purpose and lack of leadership.

    This is not a disability pride parade for you march the people you work on the benefit of down the street and then pat yourselves on the back.

    Change needs to come in the form of more varied choices of living with nursing or personal attendant staff who are highly qualify at what they do.

    Change needs to come from staff who do not neglect those they care for because they feel frustrated that the job "doesn't pay enough" to do what is being asked of them.

    Change needs to come in terms of employment, when a well-meaning temporarily able bodied person greets a disabled person with "are you applying for services" or "sorry the position has been filed" when interview just started...

    The occupy movement is just another way to circumvent the truth. The Occupy Movement doesn't speak for me as a disabled woman.

  3. As I posted on the above commenter's site --

    I can't believe you (the commenter, not the article author) vilify the very people who are standing up for your rights as well as theirs.

    I am legally blind and have been stepped on so much in this world, that I'm not going to take it anymore. Rather than playing the victim, as it appears you are doing, I am going to stand up for change.

    If you don't like the conversation, or don't feel it includes you, then stand up and add your voice to the chorus to what will be regarded as the greatest Civil Rights movement in human history to date.

    Change will not come by sitting in our homes and pouting. Change will come by adding our voices and demanding to be heard.

  4. Government spending is not the answer. The middle class in the US can not bear any more burden. There are three Directors at RCIL earning more than $100,000. How much of this is funded by taxpayers? Why not accept less or voluntarily pay more? I believe there is a line on your 1040 for this. If you advocate change shouldn't you lead by example?

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