Host Pamela Santos talks to Jack Malstrom (Rose City Native Radio), Ruth Parra (Tonalli), Alice Wong (#CripTheVote).
Please see below for the transcript of Alice Wong's audio essay on #CripTheVote:
Hoo whee! I just mailed my absentee ballot yesterday. It took me a while to complete my ballot but I did it with plenty of time to spare. I don't know about you, but this election cannot end soon enough. In less than 4 days we'll have a new President. And that's actually when the real work happens--with the choices and direction of a new administration. My name is Alice Wong and I'm the founder of the Disability Visibility Project™, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.
I'm also a co-partner of #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States. My co-partners Gregg Beratan and Andrew Pulrang launched it early this year because we didn't see any specific discussions or mentions of disability issues by the candidates. Rather than waiting for folks to notice us, we decided to create our own spaces and encourage the political participation of people with disabilities through social media. Primarily #CripTheVote is by disabled people for disabled people but it's out there for so anyone who wants to join or listen.
As a side note, I'll bet some of ya'll able-bodied listeners might wonder about the word 'crip' or feel uncomfortable by it. I created this hashtag with a nod towards Rock the Vote and deliberately chose the word 'crip' because for some in the disability community it denotes a sense of culture and pride, a reclamation of a word that has been used to oppress us. It's not everyone's cup of tea but it's a marker of the politicized disabled perspective that our campaign is all about.
All of our activities take place on social media, mostly Twitter. We live-tweet events such as the debates and conventions and we have the hashtag that anyone is free to use. It's been awesome seeing people take selfies and tweet that they went to a rally or registered to vote for the first time. People have really made it their own.
We've had 13 organized Twitter chats so far and with all of our chats, we acknowledge the intersectional disabled experience. People with disabilities are so diverse by disability and culture. Disability doesn't exist in a post-racial vacuum and the stories people shared reflected their complex lives. Our chats covered topics such as:
- voter accessibility, suppression, and disenfranchisement
- local elections and
- political participation for first-time voters.
These issues are equally important to non-disabled voters but our perspectives and concerns about them may differ.
One chat that was intersectional as you-know-what was about mass incarceration.The conversation touched on a lot of issues such as:
- The deep roots of racism, ableism, and audism in the legal system;
- Difficulties with re-entry for people out of prison when disabled and poor;
- And the intersections of gender, race and disability when talking about school discipline or non-compliance with law enforcement.
In the end, I hope all people, especially multiply marginalized people, feel a sense of ownership in the political process, that we all have a stake in civic engagement and it takes place all year around, not only during a Presidential election. #CripTheVote will continue its activities well after November 8th. Feel free to check out the #CripTheVote hashtag if you're curious. You can find me on Twitter at @SFdirewolf.