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The League of the Physically Handicapped 1935

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1 The League of the Physically Handicapped 1935
On 29 May 1935, 6 young adults with disabilities went to a New York agency to discuss a New Deal policy, which they felt had discriminated against them by classifying them as “unemployable”. When told that the personthey wanted to speak to was unavailable, some of the members refused to leave. Three of them remained in the building for 9 days. There was no planned demonstration, but soon, picketers with and without disabilities supported them outside the building. Following 3 weeks of protests, the group decided to organise formally. Their protest marked the beginning of the League of the Physically Handicapped. The top part of a flyer put out by the League announcing a protest.

2 The League of the Physically Handicapped 1935
Six months later, in November 1935, the League conducted a 3 week picket at the New York headquarters of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of the primary New Deal agencies for employment. Their main demand was that – “handicapped people receive a just share of the millions of jobs being given out by the government" As a result, the WPA hired about 40 League members. The League proceeded to gain political momentum with the WPA in the following months by gaining employment for about 1,500 people who would deaf and/or had disabilities. In the next few years, the League continued to fight job discrimination and contest the ideology of disability that dominated early-20th century public policies, professional practices, and societal arrangements. The League dissolved in 1938.

3 Wheelchair Accessibility at the opening of Eastern Subways Railway in 1979
This protest in 1979 was directed at the lack of wheelchair accessibility to public transport in Australia. This was the first protest of its kind in Australia. A group of about 15 people in wheelchairs and about 10 people without disabilities participated in this rally. Premier Neville Wran admitted in 1981 (the International Year of Disabled People) when he was the first to introduce a wheelchair accessible taxi service into Australia, that he was inspired to do so because of this protest. Although not every single bus, train and station is accessible, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) stipulates that total accessibility of all public transport is to be achieved within the decade.

4 Miss Australia Quest 1980s Miss Australia Quest/Awards was a beauty pageant that ran from 1954 until It was associated with The Spastic Centres of Australia whereby Miss Australia would raise money for the centres through her family and friends. However, some people with disabilities started protesting against the pageant due to its focus on stereotyped images of physical perfection, and the ethics of a charity fundraising in that manner. Protesters felt they were being belittled by the beauty quest, and that the Spastic Society, which organised the contest was exploiting their disabilities in order to raise money. The protests received significant press coverage and provoked a range of responses, including strong support from people within the Spastic Society and other disability charities, and also criticism from people with disabilities. Despite the objections, the protests marked a symbolic shift in the mode of public thinking about the place of people with disabilities in Australian society.



7 Deaf President Now! The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University
A federally-chartered university for the deaf and hard of hearing Had always been led by a hearing president. On 6 March 1988: Following the students’ campaign for a Deaf president, the Board of Trustees announced its decision to appoint a hearing person, the only hearing candidate, as its 7th president. Gallaudet students seized the campus and closed it down in protest at the Board’s decision. The student strikes revolutionised the perception of Deaf culture and education for the deaf. This movement became known as Deaf President Now (DPN).

8 Deaf President Now! The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University
The protestors presented the Board of Trustees with 4 demands: The resignation of the newly appointed hearing president and the selection of a Deaf person as president; The immediate resignation of the chair of the Board who, it was alleged, announced the Board’s choice with the comment that “the Deaf are not yet ready to function in the hearing world”; The reconstitution of the Board with a 51% majority of Deaf members as the Board composed of 17 hearing members and 4 Deaf at the time; and No reprisals against any students or staff members involved in the protest.

9 Deaf President Now! The 1988 Revolution at Gallaudet University
On 11 March 1988, 2,500 protestors marched on Capitol Hill, holding a banner that read: “We still have a dream!” After a week long of protesting, on 13 March 1988, all 4 demands were met.

10 Japan Protests October and December 2004, February 2005
The protests in Japan occurred on 20 October 2004, December 2004 and 15 February 2005. The protests were against planned changes made by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) to the national welfare system for people with disabilities that they believedwould create a severe burden on people with disabilities. A disability welfare bill called the Grand Design had been proposed. Grand Design would make major changes to how people with severe disabilities would receive social services such as attendant care. Grand Design was written without full input from the people it would affect the most. There were no public hearings, only closed door meetings with select members of the disability community known to be sympathetic to the government position. What was most significant about the Japan protests was that there was no major print or television media coverage of the events. All information provided on the Japan protests have been taken from a blogger, Karen Nakamura, who had participated in the protests. According to Karen, MHLW had placed pressure on the major newspapers and television networks to not cover the protests.

11 Japan Protests October and December 2004, February 2005
Protest 1 – 20 October 2004 Several major disability organizations in Japan staged a major protest demonstration in Tokyo. About 2,000 persons with disabilities and other supporters gathered from all across Japan for this protest.

12 Japan Protests October and December 2004, February 2005
Protest 2 – 13 to 15 December 2004 Following Protest 1, protesters demonstrated in front of the MHLW building in central Tokyo. On the last and main day of the protests, key leaders within disability organisations were able to meet with MHLW staff to discuss their demands. However, the concerns and demands of the protesters were met with hostility by the MHLW staff.

13 Japan Protests October and December 2004, February 2005
Protest 3 – 15 February 2005 Around 2,000 people with disabilities and their supporters travelled from all over Japan. One of the hallmarks of this coalition was that it included people with severe physical, psychiatric, and intellectual disabilities as well as people with chronic diseases and others who found themselves left out of the disability “categorisation” system in Japan. Even though their disabilitiesmade it difficult for some protesters to speak, a major effort was made in making everyone’s voice heard. In some cases, translators were used for speakers with cerebral palsy or intellectual disabilities.

14 Tropic Thunder Protest Los Angeles – 11 August 2008
Dozens of people from organisations such as the Special Olympics and the American Association of People with Disabilities protested at the ‘Tropic Thunder’ premiere in Los Angeles for its scenes featuring the liberal usage of a disparaging term used to describe the intellectually disabled. In the movie, director and co-star Ben Stiller plays a fame-hungry actor cast in a war movie who previously had a role as a intellectually disabled character named Simple Jack. Protestors held signs with slogans such as “Call me by my name, not by my label” and chanted phrases like “Ban the movie, ban the word”. Following original complaints from advocacy groups, DreamWorks pulled some promotional materials, including a website that promoted the film-within-a-film starring Stiller’s character which contained the tag line “Once there was a retard”.

15 Hardest Hit March London – 11 May 2011
Approximately 5,000 disabled people, joined by friends and representatives of numerous charity organisations rallied outside the Houses of Parliament on 11 May 2011 to express solidarity and anger at government-proposed cuts threatening people with disability’s benefits, services, jobs and rights. The march was dubbed the Hardest Hit march. People with disabilities have been using the courts to challenge multi-million pound spending cuts which they say will hit them the hardest. They have launched a number of legal actions against council plans to slash vital support services after cuts in government funding.

16 Russia Protest Irkutsk - 2 December 2011
Dozens of people with disabilities in wheelchairs picketed the regional government administration building in south-eastern Siberia. Their demands were directed towards getting the regional authorities to open a rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities in order to help them to return to work. Treatment in a private clinic would cost at least 80,000 rubles/mth, which most people with disability could not afford. Protesters held placards saying “I Want to Walk”, “Rehabilitation Means the Right to Live” and “This Can Happen to Anyone”. Other demands included: Restoration of lower utility fees for people with disabilities; and Abolition of a so-called transportation tax for people with disabilities. Protesters have said they are ready to start a hunger strike unless the authorities meet their demand for the opening of a rehabilitation centre.

17 Greek Protest 13 December 2011
People with disabilities and their families held a march in central Athens on 13 December 2011 protesting against cuts to their benefits. Representatives of the National Federation of People with Disabilities that staged the protest argued that daily life costs more when you have a disability, and people with disabilities and their families are more vulnerable to the impact of the painful austerity policies under way. Waving banners with anti-austerity slogans, people with vision and hearing disabilities along with protesters in wheelchairs and their supporters demonstrated in front of the parliament building.

18 Bondi Beach Protest Australia – 9 January 2011
People with a disability protested at Bondi Beach against a plan by Surf Life Saving Australian (SLSA) to ban its clubs from providing beach wheelchairs that help them in the water. The Disabled Surfers Association said SLSA had plans to force surf clubs to discard the wheelchairs because they make the clubs’ liability insurance too costly. On 12 January 2012, SLSA retracted its ban against beach wheelchairs and is reported to be working to ensure national operational procedures are in place for the safe use of beach wheelchairs.

19 New Rules of Engagement
Reference Groups Working Parties Consultation Advisory Groups Ensuring a person with a disability is “involved”

20 Why everybody loves the new rules
Government can say “we consulted” People with disabilities can feel like they are being consulted Is the “let’s work together” approach working????

21 Transport Standards DDA
Is government meeting the targets in Victoria? Can people in wheelchairs get on most trams? What do deaf people do when the monitor at Flinders Street says “Please listen for announcement”?

22 Education Children with borderline IQ can’t benefit from extra assistance (“The Age” 2011) Children with the following disabilities are not entitled to funding: ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Borderline IQ, Language Disorders (unless exceptional conditions), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Asperger’s (unless exceptional conditions), etc etc

23 Physical and Psychological Abuse of Children with Disabilities in Victorian Schools
Regulation 15 Education and Training Reform Act Restraint from danger A member of the staff of a Government school may take any reasonable action that is immediately required to restrain a student of the school from acts or behaviour dangerous to the member of staff, the student or any other person.

24 Life in Australia for PWD
“Australians living with a disability have the worst quality of life in the developed world and their employment opportunities have hit rock bottom, according to a report issued today by PricewaterhouseCoopers.” The Age November 2011 (Disability expectations - Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia)

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