In the count-down to this year’s election, several issues have emerged at the core of public awareness. Some of the widely publicized issues include LGBTQ rights, racism, immigration laws, women rights and islamophobia. Regrettably, American citizens with disabilities have conspicuously been forgotten. Nevertheless, a disability campaign known as #CripTheVote seeks to bring recognition of people with disability in the limelight.
This campaign is a nonpartisan initiative with an aim of engaging American voters, particularly those with disabilities in the election process. The #CripTheVote campaign is also aimed at increasing consciousness among the politicians and voters as far as the disability issue is concerned.
Founded by Alice Wong, Andrew Pulang and Gregg Beratan, #CripTheVote invites people to participate in public campaign deliberations on Twitter through the hashtag “#CripTheVote”. Individuals who are not using Twitter have an option of posting their messages online via the #CripTheVote website.
The founders of the campaign are aware that the word “crip” may offend some people and hence they have categorically affirmed in their website why they chose the term. The reason stated is that “crip” is a deliberate and conscious action aimed at empowering people with disabilities through reclaiming an earlier disgrace to a symbol of pride.
There are up to 56.7 million Americans with disabilities which is approximately a fifth of total population in the US. However, less than a third of people with disability voted in the previous election. According to the founders of #CripTheVote, a major factor is failure of engagement such that disability issues are still overlooked by ordinary politics.
Presently, political consciousness towards disability issue is increasing. For instance, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are among the politicians who have confirmed their support for the Disabilty Integration Act (DIA). DIA enables people with disabilities to get a lasting care at their home or in their own societies instead of getting the care in institutions. Yet, more political awareness towards disability issue is still desired.
Apart from the DIA, a couple of other unresolved issues put people with disabilities at jeopardy. For instance, police brutality, education and social security remain a menace to Americans with disability.
According to Beratan when interviewed by the Daily Dot, disability issue has barely featured during the present election campaign. He said that the issue only emerged when Donald Trump was heard ridiculing a reporter with disability. Beratan also noted that all #CripTheVote founders were not satisfied with the way parties were handling the disability issue. They advocated for more meaningful deliberations among the parties and the members of the disability community.
Beratan also took the opportunity in the interview to stress that #CripTheVote aims at addressing the disability issue holistically. He affirmed that there will be no discrimination between white or black people with disability. Wong also noted the campaign will find out how racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia correlate with the disability issue. She added that the movement will listen and discover from the wide range of people with disability.
The awareness of how the variety of types of discrimination can affect people combined by the open platform via Twitter, could lead to the triumph of #CripTheVote and that the people with disability will have an equal voice in deciding on the vital matters of their country.
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