Do Your Own Disability March!

If you’re planning a march, please think about doing a Disability Contingent online. All you need is a blog and 20-30 volunteers and/or a self-hosted site that allows you to accept entries via a form that automates the process (we didn’t have that, but apparently it’s not that hard).

  1. One very easy option is to make a Facebook Page, connect that to a Twitter account, and invite people to post their stories on the FB page. Easy!
  2. If you want your marchers to be archived on a WordPress blog, you can either do hand-entry for smaller marches, instructing marchers to send their entries to an email address, or you can do a self-hosted WordPress Blog and add a plug-in like this one .  We’re not advertising for that form-to-post plug-in; you can just google “WordPress form to blog post plug in” and many options will come up.
  3. You should next think about what your goals are for the march, and how you will write guidelines for participants to clarify what you need from them and who can participate. These are a sample, but yours should reflect the goals of your organization:
    1. Please send us a photo (does not have to be of your face, can be any image that you choose) with an image description for those with low vision, i.e. “A smiling brown haired woman wearing red glasses and holding a grilled cheese sandwich.”

    2. Include your name (either real or an alias, either is fine).

    3. Include a personal statement about why you are marching.

    4. We ask that only those who identify as disabled send posts, as the mission of this march is to highlight the disabled community and the effect that Trump’s policies would have on us. We are SO EXCITED that you want to show solidarity, but we won’t promise to post solidarity posts and we won’t promise to post entries from parents or family of those who are disabled.

    5. Entries will not be edited for clarity, grammar, etc.

    6. We reserve the right to delete any entries that contain profanity or what we consider to be hateful or harmful speech because we want to keep this effort accessible for our community.

  4. Remember to publicize in advance, and if possible “roll out” the entries gradually at first so people can see what the march is about, share on social media, and get excited. One thing that worked well for the Disability March was to ask specific people to write entries at the very beginning; those were shared widely.
  5. You can ask people who have done a disability march to help you, but remember: acknowledge their work. Just because someone is working at home doesn’t mean their labor should be invisible. Send their names to the main organizers, acknowledge them in meeting minutes and thank them.

Disability March itself can’t do the processing for companion sites for every march; progressive political organizations need to commit to disability representation for all of their actions and take that on in order to be responsible to their full range of non-mobile supporters. Why? Because you will gain MANY MORE supporters that way, and grow your base. Because disabled people are political beings just like everyone else and we need and deserve political outlets and to be heard. And because disability is an intersectional issue that should also be in your mission statement, your goals, and integrated into the values of your organization, as the disabled are some of society’s most vulnerable. Please check your mission statement. Are the disabled there? If not, why not?

For more thinking about planning actions and meetings so that disabled people can participate, see this blog post from Sins Invalids on “Access Suggestions for Mobilizations.”