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Why the Disability March Was An Important Step Towards Intersectionality

On January 21, 2017, Nasty Women, Bad Hombres, and millions of badass individuals marched for their rights and in solidarity all around the world. Local marches have been getting highlighted, from being a tiny group in a town of 63 people to being the half a million in DC, to being a group of women in a hospital holding up signs! It was amazing and I get chills thinking about marching with my amazing pals. One march in particular hasn’t been getting enough praise, though, and it totally should.

The Disability March was a virtual, viral protest created by and for people who may not find marching to be accessible due to physical or mental health obstacles. According to the march’s website, “This online march is put together by a small ad-hoc group of writers and organizers including Sonya Huber, Sarah Einstein, Andrea Scarpino, and others; most of our ad-hoc organizing group are disabled people; this category includes people with a variety of physical limitations as well as chronic illnesses.”

Some people would say, “hey, that’s not necessary.” They would be wrong. Over 56.7 million people in the US alone have a disability (according to the 2010 US Census of course), and they deserve to fight and support as much as the next person. Plus, the Disability March got so many submissions that they couldn’t post them all on the day, so they’re still posting them! People from across the globe were able to submit a picture and a statement that says anything from why they march, to why they didn’t march, to just plain shout outs! I love that this was an option for everyone.

When I first thought about the Women’s March, my first thought was “Nope.” I wasn’t going to figure out how to get to Washington D.C., be crowded by strangers, be worried about money, etc. By the time I got there I would have had 10 panic attacks and it would’ve been a mess. Luckily the marches were on a good mental health day for me, so I was able to go to an amazing local march called “Our Feminism is Intersectional” (There is a Facebook group you can join to see aftermath updates. It was also featured in the NYT, Buzzfeed News, and of course Pittsburgh Newspapers). However, a couple of friends of mine submitted and I’m just as proud of them.

If you want to look at some cool images, visit disibilitymarch.com.

You should also check out the Hashtag: #marchingwithme. Through Marching With Me, people who couldn’t march paired with someone who would be there. The marcher connected with their partner, pinned a picture of their partner on their clothing, and took them on a journey. There are some amazing posts out there! If you want to see more discussion about Disability Rights at the women’s march, check out this dope article by Emily Ladau, a lovely lady on wheels: https://theestablishment.co/disability-rights-are-conspicuously-absent-f….

As you reflect on the women’s march, remember: If your feminism isn’t intersectional, then who is it even for?

Teri is in the Class of '18 at Chatham University. She is a Communications-Journalism major, Editor-in-Chief of The Chatham Post, and president of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. Her passions are writing, leadership, and encouraging people in any way she can.
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