When you hear the word “disability”, what comes to mind? What types of disabilities do you think of? What does it look like? Do you know anyone who has a disability? What does their life look like living with this disability? We had the chance to sit down with Joel Peden, from Montana's Association of Independent Living, who helped us understand some of the root issues surrounding disability rights and justice. Someone who lives with a disability, may not always present physically with one. Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services identifies someone with a disability to have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This could be someone with Cerebral Palsy, vision impairment (blindness), Traumatic Brain Injury, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sickle Cell Disease or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The list goes on and includes both visible and invisible diagnosis. Living with a disability comes with challenges in an abled-body world that is fairly new to their inclusion. Demographic data for those with disabilities is limited and anyone with intersecting race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identities face a smaller count in the inclusion for this data. “There should be more individuals who have a seat at the table when making a decision for those disabled.” Joel Peden, Executive Director of Montana's Association of Independent Living Montana lawmakers continue to make decisions about and for those with disabilities without having representation part of the decision making. We encourage you to advocate for our friends and neighbors living with disabilities by participating in the Until Justice Just Is Challenge and learning more about Montanans with disabilities in the links below.
Are you ready for the challenge?
Beginning April 17, the YWCA Racial Justice Challenge is the action component for the Until Justice Just Is campaign, which runs through April to raise awareness of systemic racism and how each of us can take action to advance justice. The Racial Justice Challenge creates time and space to build effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. The Challenge fosters personal reflection, encourages social responsibility, and motivates participants to identify and act on ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination.
Click on House Bills to learn more: HB 649 Implement Rates from Provider Rate Study HB 872 Provide Funding for Behavioral Health System For Future Generations
https://disabilityrightsmt.org/ https://disabilityrightsmt.org/resources/native-americans/ https://abilitymt.org/kb/programs/article/peer-mentoring/ https://erd.dli.mt.gov/human-rights/human-rights-laws/persons-with-disabilities/