While Saturday is going to be a day of public protest and marching across America, marches are inherently inaccessible to a lot of people. Standing for a long time in a massive crowd is difficult or impossible for people with physical limitations, chronic pain and illness, and conditions like anxiety or PTSD. Still, plenty of people with those conditions want their voices heard on Saturday, so a few organized a virtual Disability March.
Disability March asks participants to upload photos of themselves and descriptions of why they are marching to the site, which will create a digital archive of solidarity. “I began to wonder about other ways to be visible, especially for our community, besides marching—even though the march will of course include many disabled people,” Sonya Huber, one of the organizers, told Mashable. “Since the disabled community is going to be so impacted by the Republican agenda, it seemed that giving people a platform to tell their individual stories was most appropriate.”
The Trump administration could have a massive negative impact on the disabled community. A repeal of ACA could eliminate necessary coverage, since many disabilities are considered pre-existing conditions that would keep private insurance companies from providing care. In her hearing yesterday, Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos appeared to have no knowledge of IDEA, the federal law requiring disabled children to have access to public education.
The Disability March is an official co-sponsor of the Women’s March on Washington. However, many activists have complained that disability rights are only passively mentioned in Women’s March on Washington’s official platform.
The Daily Dot has reached out to the Disability March about disability inclusion and representation but hasn’t heard back as of this posting. However, the Women’s March appears to have made some changes to the platform recently. There are sections on its site about accessibility to things like sighted guides and ASL interpreters, and it’s partnered with other organizations that fight for disabled rights.
But what the Disability March proves is that there is no “right” way to protest. Marches are not the best choice for everyone, whether it’s because of a disability, not being able to take hours off work, or not having access to child care. Marching is just one way to be politically active.