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Multicoloured pictures of melting ice, buildings, a DJ turning at a table and a person speaking into a microphone in the background. In speech bubbles, there are the words centering  the margins. The logos of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, the laidlaw Foundation, YWCA Hamilton, The Awesome Foundation and Ontario Trillium Foundaton are at the top left. Text reads: "A federal election conversation on the priorities of BIPOC and/or disabled youth."
Multicoloured pictures of melting ice, buildings, a DJ turning at a table and a person speaking into a microphone in the background. In speech bubbles, there are the words centering the margins. The logos of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, the laidlaw Foundation, YWCA Hamilton, The Awesome Foundation and Ontario Trillium Foundaton are at the top left. Text reads: "A federal election conversation on the priorities of BIPOC and/or disabled youth."

This federal election, we are collaborating with YWCA Hamilton, and activists Alex Haagaard and Gabrielle Peters, to co-host Centering the Margins, which will engage BIPOC and disabled people in the electoral process.


It is estimated that one in five Canadians over the age of 15 has one or more disabilities. Yet disability justice perspectives remain underrepresented in our national political discourse, and many disabled people in Canada cannot physically or directly engage their candidates with important questions in traditional formats for a variety of health or access related reasons. To fill this gap, the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) is collaborating with disability activists across the country to run an online #CripTheVote campaign from September 23rd to October 20th. Taken from the original #CripTheVote model in the United States, which engages thousands of residents with disabilities each election, disabled people and their allies will participate in a series of online town hall discussions to address current issues in federal politics through a disability justice lens.


These Twitter town halls will take place on Sundays at 2pm EST / 11am PST, and will be hosted by @djnontario @alexhaagaard and @mssinenomine. You can find more information about each discussion, and how to participate, by clicking the links below.


The Centering the Margins campaign has been supported by funding from The Awesome Foundation and Laidlaw Foundation.

September 29th


October 6th

Affordable Housing


October 13th

Disability Rights Legislation


October 20th

Healthcare

Updated: Oct 4, 2019


Green photographic background showing an icy landscape. Overlaid in white at the top are the logos for Ontario Trillium Foundation, YWCA Hamilton, The Awesome Foundation, Disability Justice Network of Ontario and Laidlaw Foundation. At the bottom right is the logo for the Centering the Margins campaign. At the bottom left there is white text that says, "September 29 @ 2PM EST Climate Justice".
Green photographic background showing an icy landscape. Overlaid in white at the top are the logos for Ontario Trillium Foundation, YWCA Hamilton, The Awesome Foundation, Disability Justice Network of Ontario and Laidlaw Foundation. At the bottom right is the logo for the Centering the Margins campaign. At the bottom left there is white text that says, "September 29 @ 2PM EST Climate Justice".

Action on climate change is one of the key issues of the 2019 federal election. Recent research has found that there is a broad consensus among Canadians that climate action is needed. The outcome of October’s election will determine what Canada’s climate strategy will look like.


Climate change intersects with many social justice perspectives, including disability justice. Disabled persons may experience serious worsening of chronic health problems as a direct result of extreme weather and air pollution. Natural disasters that destroy public infrastructure and decrease access to healthcare put disabled lives at risk—as do evacuation plans that do not account for accessibility. Disabled people disproportionately live in poverty. This means that they are less able to prepare for emergency scenarios by stockpiling food and other day-to-day essentials. It also means that they are more likely to be unhoused, or housing insecure, and therefore vulnerable to extreme weather events.


In Canada and abroad, climate change and environmental policies most impacts and disables already marginalized communities. In Canada, over 40 water advisories exist for First Nations’ water systems, this federal oversight disables Indigenous communities. The federal government has also recently intervened in conflicts between First Nations and extractive corporations around issues of climate justice, clean water and pollution, and has legitimized use of force against First Nations people.


Canada’s environmental and economic policies and practices, have also directly caused disablement and environmental degradation abroad. With the prospect reality of mass climate migration becoming a necessary reality, it’s important to consider that many countries Canada continues to have eugenic immigration policies that directly or indirectly exclude disabled persons.


At the same time, recent discussions around climate action have often implicitly framed disability and accessibility as barriers to sustainability (and vice versa)—for example, the recent trend of campaigns and laws to ban plastic straws and other single-use plastics. Disabled people have pointed out that plastic straws are important accessibility tools for many people, and current alternatives do not offer the same level of safety, functionality and affordability. In cases where plastic straws are made available only upon request, disabled people have reported having their needs gatekept by staff who believe they don’t look “disabled enough”.


This kind of artificial conflict between disability and sustainability is also created in discussions about transportation, civic infrastructure and consumer behaviour, that fail to account for the access needs and socioeconomic situations of many disabled people. A more explicitly eugenic logic is often involved in discussions about overpopulation, where people raise the question of, ““whether our consumption is worth our contribution””, or suggest strategies to limit the reproduction of, primarily poor, disabled and / or nonwhite people.


The new federal government will make decisions about what kind of broad approach Canada should take in its climate action. These decisions will impact disabled Canadians both in terms of how effectively they address climate change, and in terms of how they account for factors like accessibility, poverty, and health justice. In this online town hall, we will be discussing:

  • your concerns around climate change as it relates to your experiences of disability

  • your experiences with environmental politics as a disabled person

  • what kinds of disability-engaged climate policies you would like

  • how you would like federal politicians to engage with disabled people around climate change


 

This discussion will be co-hosted by @djnontario, @alexhaagaard and @mssinenomine who will be tweeting questions every ten minutes starting at ten past the hour. You can see the questions by navigating to the profile of any of these accounts.


@alexhaagaard and @mssinenomine will be retweeting the responses that people post, so you can follow their accounts to see the rest of the discussion. You can also search Twitter for the #CripTheVote hashtag, and set the search page to "Latest", to see everything that is being tweeted to the hashtag.


We realize that Twitter chats can be hard to follow for some people. While the chat is taking place, @djnontario will be tweeting the chat questions only. If you are having trouble keeping track of the chat, you can click on the @djnontario profile and check that account's feed to find out which questions have been posted.


You can also find the chat questions at the bottom of this post.


After the discussion takes place, we will be posting a summary of it to the DJNO blog.


This discussion is about climate justice and its relationship to disability justice. We will be discussing how the marginalization of disabled people intersects with other forms of oppression including racism, colonialism, poverty, cissexism and heterosexism.


Racism, trans antagonism, homophobia, misogyny and lateral ableism are not welcome in this discussion and will not be amplified by the host accounts.


Remember to use the #CripTheVote hashtag when you tweet, so that others can see what you are saying!


If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote.


You may also want to include other relevant hashtags with your tweet, such as #CdnPoli #elxn43 #ItsYourVote #ClimateChange #StrawBan and #SuckItAbleism . This can help other people on Twitter to find and read what you are saying.

 


  1. Please introduce yourself! If you’re comfortable with sharing, where in Canada do you live?

  2. As a disabled person, what concerns you the most about climate change?

  3. Have you ever been in a situation where your access needs were framed as unsustainable or “bad for the environment”? How did that affect you?

  4. Why do you think that disabled people’s access needs get labelled as environmentally unsustainable? What needs to happen for that to change?

  5. Let’s flip the script. What might society be able to learn from disabled people about living in a sustainable way?

  6. What would a climate strategy that includes justice for all disabled people look like?

  7. What is one important thing that you would like Canada’s federal parties to understand about climate justice and disability? Feel free to tag them in your responses! @CPC_HQ @CanadianGreens @liberal_party @NDP


The Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) has hired two part time Summer Project Coordinators to assist with our project Access to Housing Needs for Diverse People with Disabilities, funded by The Inspirit Foundation.


This project will conduct online and in-person roundtables, social events and workshops about mobilizing people with disabilities around access to affordable, accessible and dignified housing. These events will specifically centre people with disabilities who are black, Muslim, indigenous, people of colour, new immigrants. The project will consist of three interconnected components, round-tables, workshops and a campaign. We already have several initiatives in place, but we hope to create more sustainable year-long programming and advocacy around disability, race and access to housing.


This project is in partnership with the Ontario Coalition for Agencies Serving Immigrants, and will be completed in Hamilton!


Ruby Hye is a student at UWCiM (United World College in Mostar) and former Westdale Secondary student. They are the co-founder of Model City Hall Hamilton, were a staffer in former Ward 3 City Councillor Matthew Green's office, and have organized LGBTQIA+ events such as the first LGBTQIA+ arts show in Mostar.

Ruby has a passion for anti-racism in LGBTQIA+ spaces and communities. They have been learning and healing through coming to understand that disability justice is interwoven in all liberation movements. Ruby is currently looking forward to finishing high school.


Mike Wood is active in Hamilton as Chair of Hamilton ACORN downtown he likes to push for change on Housing, Disability, Rental issues and much more for low-moderate income people, Mike believes with good change makes Hamilton a more inclusive city for everyone and that nobody should be left behind.


We have also hired an Administrative Assistant who, for ten hours a week, will assist with our growing volume of calls and emails.


Monisha Gupta is a graduate of the Honors Life Science's program at McMaster University. Her role is to create sustainable supports for the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO). Visit Monisha on Thursdays and Fridays from 10AM to 3PM


For more information about Monisha, Ruby, and Mike, please check out the page: https://www.djno.ca/leadership

Ruby, Sarah and Mike stand and sit in front of the DJNO sign, smiling. Joel, campaigns committee member, is in the middle of the photo, and Matthew Green is smiling in the background

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