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Today is International Day of the Disabled.

I’m sitting on the floor of a motel room in Mexico with my beloved, beautiful daughter next to me. She’s trying to bat her eyelashes at me and ask for Dora. She is winsome. She is charming. She is completely and utterly adorable.

red dawn oregon california (11 of 14)

I think about disability – hers and mine. How I end up writing so much about hers because her tribe is still, far and away, the most discriminated against out of all of us on the disability spectrum.

I think about my own deaf tribe and how isolated we are among the general population. I think about mental disabilities and how even I will hesitate to write about it because of the stigma associated with them. I think about Star Trek and the value of disability. I think about the gay and lesbian community and what we, the disabled community, can learn from them. I think about the Hawaiian monarchy movement and what we can also learn from that piece of history and apply to our own rights movement.

I think about the sexy club that I passed last night, the one that was next to some run down center with a large sign with a blue wheelchair outside of it, and thought of how that needs to change. Disability doesn’t have to be so… disease-ridden, medical, unsexy, run-down, beige coloured. It really doesn’t. It is not about that.

So what is it about?

It’s about the way we move. It’s about the way we hear, the way we see, perceive, think, feel, experience our world. We all do it in a way that is our own. It might be difficult to understand how another does this if it’s different from the way you yourself do it, but that doesn’t make it less or more; it’s just a different way.

But understanding, accepting and more, valuing it,  will add variety to our lives, it will make the universal stew that our human race is creating more complex, rich and worth savouring.

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I “came out” as a disabled person fully and completely after Moxie was born. I changed my life. Rather than seeking to “pass” as a person without disability, I embraced who I really am for the first time, and along with that, my own child.

My journey in that acceptance is captured in my compilation of essays from this blog.

In honour of today, I will be giving the e-book away this week – the link to download it is here: 4 Years: Essays from the Blog, A Little Moxie

If you don’t have a device that can read the e-book, the PDF is here.

meriah nichols_-6

 

Now, your gift to me.

Please take a moment to participate in this teleconference if you can –

Call:

Senator Harkin Asks Community Groups to Join Him on the Phone this Wednesday, December 3rd, for an International Disability Rights Day
discussion of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD)

On Wednesday afternoon, December 3, Senator Tom Harkin
invites disability advocates to join him on a teleconference discussion regarding United States ratification of the international disability rights treaty (CRPD). December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, commemorating the fight for equality, opportunity and access for people with disabilities now taking place all over the world.

Our fight is not over in the United States and December 3rd is an appropriate day to come together to take note of our progress to date and commit to continuing to work together and to expand our support in order to reach our goal of U.S. ratification of the CRPD.

National disability leaders will be listening and we invite
state and local disability advocacy organizations to bring their staff and consumers together around the phone to hear Senator Harkin’s remarks at this moment in the history of disability rights in the United States.

What: National Message from Senator Tom Harkin on CRPD
When: Wednesday, December 3, at 2:00 Eastern (1:00 Central; 12:00 Mountain; 11 a.m. Pacific)

Teleconference Line: (202)
228-0808 or (855) 428-0808
Conference ID: 2767894

Read

this article on The Convention of the Rights of the Disabled.

and this one, by Judy Heumann (written last year but sadly, still relevant)

 

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Thank you xoxox

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Want to Make Your Own Book? – Big Savings Just in Time for the Holidays
(sponsored post)

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I received an email a couple of weeks ago from a mother who had read something on this blog that was the tipping factor in her decision to keep her child with Down syndrome. That is, her decision to not abort her child with Down syndrome.

This was not the first such email I have received – there have been many in the four years that I have been writing openly and honestly about both my experience as a person with disability and as a parent of a child with a disability.

It’s a sobering thing to know that somehow, between the words on this blog or the images presented therein, a life was chosen. A living, breathing, growing life. The life of a human being.

This is a large part of the intention behind this blog.

I want women who are at a crossroads similar to the one that I once was, to have clear information, access to stories and narratives that will speak to them.

I also want a life with a disability – any disability – to be seen as something that is an experience in a way of thinking, talking, hearing, seeing, moving, feeling. It is far from a tragedy, far from broken-ness that needs fixing, it is as complete and whole as it should be. After all, it’s not disability that ever needed to change so much as our attitude towards it, and access to the world around it.

4 Years: The Book

In this book, 4 Years, I have compiled essays from this blog that I feel best articulate my experience and philosophy surrounding disability. Artwork that I produced as well as photographs are included.

The collection is divided into 2 sections: Down syndrome and Disability. The Down syndrome section includes artwork from before Moxie was born, straight out of my diary.

It’s available on Blurb in 3 formats:

  •  e-book (formatted for the ipad and iBook) (free!)
  • pdf and regular print form. (neither pdf or print versions are free on Blurb)*

The e-book is free. Download it HERE, or in the  iBookstore: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id924979193

 


The pdf is available for download  HERE
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

This was a labour of love: from me to you, a token of thanks for being a part of this journey with me, for reading, for cheering – and for pushing and questioning me too. I am growing more into the person that I want to be, and I have you to partly thank for that.

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