Saturday, September 28, 2013

Did You See the Lovely Seats Up in Second Class

Yesterday I finally finished dealing with a complaint I made against A GIANT THING. I knew going in that my complaint would be dealt with because GIANT THING has a process for dealing with every, single complaint made. I knew when I sat down and filled in a form, attaching an outline of my concern and the basis of my complaint that the hope of anything being accomplished was minimal at best. But, I felt that I had a duty as a citizen to complain, but it was my membership in the disability community made that duty, compelling.

So, I've had a few phone calls.

I've had a meeting.

Along the way I've had choices regarding which way the complaint would go. I chose what I thought best, taking into account the energy level required in each of the options. I did everything I was supposed to do.

Yesterday I finished the last step. By then I knew pretty much what the outcome would be and what, very little, effect my complaint would result in. The last thing to do was to write a letter basically stating the impact of the issue that caused the complaint has had on me and my life.

The hardest thing to do was to figure out what angle to take. Once that was done, I wrote the letter. At the end I stated, because I felt that I needed to be clear, that I thought that, because it was all over, few would ever even bother to make it to the end of the letter. It was a closed complaint. It's done now.

This all made me think about why we advocate, why we raise concerns and complaints, why we choose to be noisy when silence is an option. I didn't expect much going it. I pretty much know that change is hard, and when change is demanded from a group of people whose voice isn't yet either acknowledged or valued sometimes the biggest job is simply getting someone's attention.

So I complained and set about the process, a long one, because I believe that silence is consent ... and I do not consent to be treated as if I don't matter. As a disabled person it isn't that I am objecting to being considered second class - I am ASPIRING to second class status. I am aspiring for the recognition that disabilities issues ARE issues. That they aren't my INDIVIDUAL concerns, that these are the concerns of a class of people. Yes, I aspire to second class. 

It took a long time and I feel like a wait has been lifted from my shoulders.

It is finished.


Jayne Wales said...

Sometimes I just think go out and small the roses and why am I doing what I do? Then I kick yourself mentally up the arse and get back on to it. Go out now after all you've done and smell every rose because after all that....yes you deserve it. Have a good day.

Anonymous said...

"It took a long time and I feel like a wait has been lifted from my shoulders."

Dave, I can relate to your thoughts. But did you write wait instead of weight on purpose to get attention to this special wording or is it just a mistake or something I did not get in a foreign language?


Dave Hingsburger said...

Julia, given that the process for these things take so long it's a relief that the wait is over ... so I was making a play on words.

Cindy said...

In my Bible reading from Thursday was this: Isaiah 1: 17

17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.

Sounds like what you were doing!

Anonymous said...

Ah, a pune :-)

Thank you for the explenation Dave!

Julia :-)

Unknown said...

I just added this quote to the end of a very long post I have just written. Sounds relevant to your situation too.

"Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the systems and structures which exist in our societies;
 it is about transforming those systems and structures to make it better for everyone.

Inclusion is about creating a better world for everyone."
Diane Richler, President, Inclusion International

And while this is the way things should be, for the time being, you are right about the silence too. when nothing is said, nobody is bothered and nobody gives it a second thought. Good on you for having your say, sadly, we all need to do that more often.


Anonymous said...

I don't have a disability, however I am affected by disability. When our daughter began showing signs of Autism just after her 1st birthday, our little family became affected by disability. Wanting to ensure she would have support to assist her in living to her full potential, I became an advocate joining our local Autism Society and Association for Community Living as a director. I have sat through IEP meetings and Case Conferences and advocated for her right to be educated with peers as per the UN Convention, I have spoken up when told to SHUT UP!- because I too believe, Silence is Consent. Many times... it feels like we are losing the fight, that instead of moving forward- we are sliding backwards... but we get up, dust overselves off and take another run at it. Welcome to second class :)

Sue Marranconi said...

Dave, your story today stirred a memory of last year. I have a family member with autism. I was told when I took her to a local hospital with what I thought was the flu, that I should just leave her there to die, after all, to them she is less of a person. Her bowel had twisted and her stomach had moved into her upper chest. They strongly recommended that I just give up. Needless to say, I am almost her Mom, since she has no family and she has been with me for 18 years. I advocated. AND I freaked out. I asked the Doctor what he would do if it was someone he loved. He said he would get a helicopter STAT and fly her to Pittsburgh. I told him that his treatment plan was NOT acceptable. We had a helicopter in 8 minutes. She went through two life saving surgeries and I'm proud to say that that hospital got a piece of my mind and she is happy and healthy today. I hope they have reviewed their procedures for those who have special needs. I refused to stand down. Thank you for taking a stand, maybe if enough of us do, it will change the world view.

Rickismom said...

Change takes time. I remember as a new nurse working at XYZ hospital, seeing a lot of things I didn't like. I chose to show by example at first. It took time. But by the time I left five years later, things were a LOT better.
Attitudes against the disabled are so ingrained that most people don't realize that they have it.Change takes time, but G-d willing, with time (hopefully sooner than later), we'll get there- due to people like you (and ALL that you influence through this blog!)

Anonymous said...

• I am glad this long process for you is over. Sadly it seems in our society things that you are trying to fight for take too long and often people given up, but happy you waited it out and can move on. Hope the result is one you were hoping for. My sister has Autism, and as a sibling with a disability, I have seen my mom fight and do what was right for not only for her but others with disabilities. You have to advocate for yourself or have someone be there and advocate for you, so I am glad you were able to with your complaint and get results.