Statement from Spring Hawes

Dignity Denied

I became disabled 15 years ago, through a spinal cord injury. And while paralysis and its complications are by no means easy, the challenges presented by society are far more damaging and difficult to deal with. Every day, I am forced to re-assert my autonomy, my competence, and my humanity. I experience aggressions on the micro level daily, when it is assumed I can’t speak for myself, or that the clothes I’ve chosen are ‘inconvenient’, or when it is assumed that I will joyfully run down your child in my wheelchair. I have experienced them on a macro level, when health concerns were not taken seriously and allowed to become life-threatening, or when my friends felt sorry for the husband who was leaving me because I was a burden.  

I am rebellious and stubborn; I have a supportive family; I have access to money; I am white. These things give…

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