One Danger the Disability Community Faces is Advocate Apathy
Advocate apathy is a growing problem across the disability community. As I travel across the nation and discuss issues as important as access to independent, private and accessible elections. I am frequently amazed at the lack of commitment by the rank and file.
When disability advocates are asked to make a simple phone call or send an email the results are often lackluster at best. I believe many have forgotten or never knew the struggles of the past that have advanced disability rights to the current state.
Civil rights leaders from other minority communities have expressed concerns about advocate apathy to me. Older advocates are weary and younger people sometimes take for granted those rights that came at great cost.
Tackling advocate apathy could be over complicated, we cannot force people to be outspoken. We can offer historical briefings to educate the young on disability rights. Leadership could offer mentoring programs matching senior advocates up with younger ones to learn the art of advocacy. Young in disability rights does not necessarily mean young in age.
If the trend in advocate apathy continues there will come a day when we face a true destruction of our rights and have no soldiers with which to fight the battle. Disability leaders are responsible and must act to reinvigorate the power behind our past victories which has always been the individual advocate. I will do whatever I can and call on disability leaders to do their part. The time to act is now.
Douglas George Towne (Doug)
Disability Relations Group