Disabled, chronically ill crips at AMC 2011!!!
Most of the time, access is placed on the individual who needs it. It is up to you to figure out your own access, or sometimes, up to you and your care giver, personal attendant (PA) or random friend. Access is rarely weaved into a collective commitment and way of being; it is isolated and relegated to an after thought (much like disabled people).
Access is complex. It is more than just having a ramp or getting disabled folks/crips into the meeting. Access is a constant process that doesn’t stop. It is hard and even when you have help, it can be impossible to figure out alone.
We are working to create mutual aid between crips and beyond! We try and work from an anti-capitalist framework. This framework is a big part of what holds us together. Last year, we shared food and resources, we found last-minute housing for each other, some of us fronted money for food and some of us who had long-distance phone plans made phone calls.
Things we are thinking about as possibilities for collective access in Detroit:
- collective eating and food gathering. having a central accessible place where we eat together. This space could also be kid friendly to help provide mutual aid for parents and their children. We may go on joint food runs to the grocery store or to pick up food and bring it back.
- collectivizing rides–pooling transportation for those who need it. helping to coordinate rides to and from places.
- sharing information/communication. helping us be in touch to share information (about access, ableism that is happening, workshops, resources, etc.), connect and provide a working network of crips through out the AMC.
The Network: We imagine that there will be pockets of planned access happening. We cannot anticipate or meet everyone’s medical or access needs and we are sure that for a lot of you, you have your PAs, folks who you feel comfortable with and trust already lined up. Our hope is to create a network that can connect these access pockets together. We hope we can help each other and share resources: you can’t walk long distance, but i can speed in my chair down to the end of the block and get food; i can’t read, but you can, so you help me find my workshop in the schedule; you can help make calls to organize the food gathering and eating, while i carry the food up into the room. We hope that together we can create a culture of collective access.
A Note on “Pods”…
We figure that most disabled folk who are coming to Detroit will have some kind of access plan in place, whether it’s with a PA, friend(s), care-giver, etc. Most folks will be coming to Detroit with/in a pod. So, our work will be to try and connect these pods together, since we totally acknowledge that most access is done through relationships and it is really important for folks to feel comfortable with the folks who are helping them with access AND because we can’t possibly anticipate nor do we have the capacity to meet everyone’s access and medical needs.
If you’re coming alone and not in a pod, but still want to be part of this – don’t worry! Email us and let us know your needs and what you can offer! Let’s work together!
We are still working on this process and trying different things out! Would you like to join us in practicing what this could look like? Do you have ideas? Are you an ally/comrade who wants to help out or be on call?
Please email creatingcollectiveaccess[at]gmail[dot]com with the following info so we can get you on a contact list!
1. Your name (and your pod members’ names, if you are in a pod)
2. Your contact info, including e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers (and of course, your pod members’ as well)
3. Access needs. What kinds of things might you need with regards to access? What things can you offer? For example, “there are three of us: I am disabled, my PA and my friend are also disabled. We will have one van and one disabled parking permit. I have access to a credit card that I can front. I am great at coordinating folks. My PA is an ASL interpreter. We will definitely need help getting to and from our community housing to the building where the workshops are. We all need help lifting/carrying heavy things.”
4. A pod name, if you have one!