This Saturday, October 15, the next large rally is planned in support of OccupyChico. So far, the disability community has been largely absent from the rallies and ongoing occupation. This is the issue of our time. We absolutely need to be part of the effort.
ILSNC director, Evan LeVang, sees hope in the Occupy Movement for re-activating the long-dormant disability community. “Over the past few years it has become clear that – despite our best efforts at community organizing – too many members of the disability community simply don’t participate in the effort to save disability programs from budget-cutting state legislators. Sadly, as threatened and actual program cuts have become more severe over the past few years, our local disability community has actually become less active and less visable. People tell me that they feel exhausted, beaten-down and powerless in the face of unrelenting cuts made by legislators unwilling to consider alternatives to gutting social programs in order to balance the state budget. But people need to understand that it’s going to get much worse – and happen very soon – if we don’t start taking action and getting involved. In the current state budget agreement there are “trigger cuts” to programs like In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) set to take place in December if certain tax revenue levels are not met. We could be looking at a 20% cut in IHSS services if we simply sit back and hope for the best. This would be a catastrophic disruption in people’s lives,” says LeVang.
He continues, “IHSS is just one of several programs that people with disabilities depend on that are facing deep cuts. But rather than becoming despondent about our prospects for the future, we now have a reason for hope – an incredible opportunity to re-engage and push back – through the emerging “Occupy” movement. I’m calling upon people with disabilities, our families, friends and allies to show up to lend your presence and your support to the Occupy Chico, Occupy Redding or Occupy wherever this Saturday, October 15.”
We must all get out front and center to ensure our visibility. If we fail to show up, we risk being forgotten in all the commotion. Only by showing up frequently and verbalizing our issues will we have the chance to be part of the change we need. This is far more effective than begging legislators for mercy. See you at the Occupation!
For more information, visit OccupyChico on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/occupychico/