A Chicken in every pot,
A thermometer for every family.
The power of democratic change in your community is almost as easy as running a bake sale. I’m your host Steven Davis and welcome to the first episode of disability democracy radio. This weekly podcast is about practical actions we can take that you can take to make a difference in your community. The goal of disability democracy radio is to accelerate the disability community revolution. Find out more at disability democracy.org
(see also Show Notes)
it has been so easy to feel powerless in the face of the covid 19 pandemic. We’ve been told to shelter in place. Keep our kids from school we can’t meet except for by phone or video. It is tempting to lose ourselves in watching and reading bad news. At the same time many of us are uneasy that what is being done is not enough. That our representatives aren’t representing that our leaders aren’t leading. But we can do something. Parents, teachers, moms, dads, kids, all of us. We don’t need permission. We just need to get going and work together. Because democracy isn’t a vote every two years. It’s what we choose to do, or not to do every day.
Let’s start with getting some thermometers.
My kids have just finished three months of distance learning. It has been a unique experience. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not super comfortable about what school is going to look like this fall. We’ve probably got to deal with this global crisis for 18 months to two years, maybe more. It’s time to get real. All of us working together. We can’t shelter in place for two years. We can’t stop teaching our kids for two years.
We can’t stop living for two years.
Whatever we do is going to be imperfect.
But let’s do the best we can.
And it’s going to take all of us. Let’s start with some little things. My kids started camp this week. It’s been both exciting and scary. My son’s camp is running by the City of San Mateo. And they are working very hard to be careful. They check every child’s temperature as they come into this building. And they ask us a lot of questions every day. It’s the same kind of thing schools are planning. Maybe we can help. And maybe we can kick things up a notch and make it better for all of us. Why don’t we make sure every household has a digital thermometer, and that they know how to use it. Before I got involved in disability issues, I worked in computer security for 34 years. The most important thing I learned was that to have good security, it you need to know that it’s not perfect. fact that security works best when there are lots of layers and easy ways to recover when things go wrong. And things always go wrong. We have both door locks and alarms for our cars. We have passwords and SMS messages for our computer accounts. While a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, when we build bridges, we don’t use huge cables. We use bundles of hundreds of thousands of tiny cables wrapped together, individually weak, together amazingly strong. So before our kids even leave for school, let’s check their temperature at home.
And we can get started today, you and me.
We could organize a local fundraiser at your school, talk with your friends and community members. It’s nothing magic. It’s just a bake sale with thermometers. You don’t need to do this all by yourself. No one bakes and sells all the cookies. You build a team. Your goal is not to do everything but to make sure everything gets done. Make a plan, get allies from the school, the PTA, ask parents and local businesses to sign up. Raising consciousness and bringing the community together particularly now is almost as important as the project itself. Okay, now, before we get too far, you may have a question. What does all this school fundraising stuff has to do with accelerating the disability community revolution? There are three parts to the answer. First and foremost, kids with disability are kids, the schools and systems that affect everyone else affect them. That message is important for us as it is to everyone else. kids with disabilities, our kids, the disability committee. As part of the community, we will have opportunities to be allies in the future
and we will need allies.
The second reason that this could be useful for a new or existing disability group is it will help us build up ourselves in the community to be effective for the disability community. We need to grow ourselves and develop allies, fundraising and support of our schools connects disability groups to other school organizations, social justice groups, churches and businesses. It also gives members of our disability community a reason to act together and to do something good.
It might even be fun.
And finally, it is limited. a start time and an end date encourage volunteers. This should be a relatively easy victory, likely good publicity and will be a larger and stronger group at the end of the project than when we started.
Now back to our plan.
You need to be thorough and practical work with your school and reach out to all the parents and teachers. They are the front line on this success is going to depend on them not bureaucracies and the school district or the CDC, or school boards or Congress, but the local teachers and parents. But maybe we can take this a step further, or you don’t want to sell thermometers. My kids are pretty young and don’t have to wear a mask under the current rules. They should, but it is pretty challenging to get my six year old son to keep his on. So let’s make it fun. My kids go to San Mateo Park Elementary School. their mascot is the Panther and they have a pretty cool school logo. Maybe my kids need Panther masks. Let’s make sure every kid has a cool face mask to wherever Every day, it won’t guarantee they’ll wear it or keep it on. But the easier we can do it and the more fun we can make it, the better. Of course kids won’t need just one mask. We’ll need multiple masks for each child. A big mesh bag for each classroom so kids will swap The masks they wear to school with a clean one every morning. Another fundraising milestone or date donation target details matter. There’ll be different in every school in every classroom. By the way, share your ideas at our forum at disability democracy.org. And maybe we’ll need a washing machine and a dryer. If your school doesn’t have one. It’ll need one, maybe two more funds to raise but not too much. More donation targets more reasons to connect individuals and businesses and groups for donations and help stretch goals. For your campaign, more community engagement, a big thermometer in the front of your school or downtown with milestones, thermometers, masks, laundry bags, washing machines, you may need to organize parent volunteers to run the washer and dryer and redistribute mass back to the classrooms. Let’s get more parents and community members involved. We’re all in this together. You’re building a team.
You don’t have to stop there.
Another fundraising project might be to add fans in each classroom. The latest news is that COVID needs to build up in a room to get really dangerous. So let’s get the air moving. Is this the right answer? I have no idea. It can’t hurt. It may help. It probably isn’t expensive, especially if we do it together. What are your ideas? How are you bringing your community together, share your experiences and ideas at disability democracy.org we have a community forum where you can leave a comment or a voice message. I’ll also link to other resources on our web page for this podcast. There are probably more things we can do for our community. Disability touches everyone and there are disabled people in virtually every part of your community. Maybe we can extend some of these ideas to senior centers, do outreach to our elderly and people with disabilities to ensure they can still be part of our community. What about our minority groups and immigrant communities? Do they have masks, thermometers, meals, transportation, we are all in this together. day to day democracy is how we make our community better. It isn’t anyone else’s job. It is all of ours. If you see a pic of litter, you pick it up. You don’t leave it to the sanitation department. Your City Council. And when you are done, make sure absolutely sure to thank everyone and I mean everyone, and make sure you get their names at the beginning so you can thank them at the end. The things we do small and big help all of us. I look forward to hearing what you do. This episode of disability democracy radio was sponsored by not without us, not without us is a 501 c four public benefit corporation. Our goal is equality for all disabled adults and kids with disabilities. You can learn more about our work at not without us.org. Our strategy is built on democratic action and community whether it is providing a roadmap for fundraising, support for disability organizations and allies through our directory at disability democracy. org training, aspiring local candidates for office or endorsing candidates. We’d like to thank Martin le and howl for joy designs for their contributions to not without us. You can support not without us with an annual monthly or one time donation at not without us.org slash join. If you have any questions or comments on this episode, visit disability democracy.org you can email us leave a comment or even a voice message. I’m Steven Davis and on behalf of not without us, we think that democracy comes not from a vote every two years, but from the actions we can take every day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai