One of the righteous demands made fifty years ago by the striking incarcerated workers of Attica Prison has long been a demand of the Disability Community of the right to a minimum wage, a right denied to both groups of oppressed peoples since the 1938 U.S. (so-called) Fair Labor Standards Act.
Incarcerated workers and disabled people need much more than what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides. We need a law that also protects all of the rights of disabled people – incarcerated or not, guarantees free health care, and covers all of our needs – including aides and equipment, home care if we prefer, childcare, the right to have children, to have the choice of birth control and abortions.
We should have the right to all accessibility accommodations, not just those that are deemed “reasonable” and affordable for individual landlords and business owners. It is our right to live in our homes with our families instead of being locked up in COVID-infested nursing homes, institutions, or jails.
These accessibility and independence rights are guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) disability rights treaty. President Biden could ratify the CRPD by executive order instead of blaming the U.S. Senate for its ongoing ableist misconduct.
We demand the same accessibility advances and quality free medical care provided in Socialist Cuba despite the racist U.S. embargo. July 26 is not only the 31st birthday of the ADA but it is the 68th anniversary of the battle of Moncada, the opening spark of the great Cuban revolution.
As the international Disabled Liberation fighter Nadina LaSpina told the July 14, 2019 NYC Disability Pride Parade: “Today is Bastille Day. Let’s break down the walls — no walls — neither to keep people out nor to keep people in. And no locking up people in nursing homes or in detention centers … FREE OUR PEOPLE!”