wheelieterp: Head shot of me: black and white. Shaved head. Black, full goatee. Big toothy smile. (Default)
Today was the first day of a class that I was going to interpret at a local institution. I say "was going to," because the classroom is on the second floor of a building with no elevator.

We all know how this should turn out. But here's the thing.. The laws? They are so riddled with loop holes and caveats that really, they are not very useful.

This is the danger of pointing to existing law and saying "See? You have recourse! I know you do, because there's a law!"

I am not a student at this institution. I am also not an employee of this institution; I am a contractor contracted by an outside, private agency. So guess what?

That's right.... Loop hole.

Seriously, I know some of you are lawyers and brilliant activists and KNOWERS OF THE LAW. What I am here to tell you is that, in my experience, the law is useless because it still funnels all the power to others. I (and those like me) don't get to decide how the law is interpreted, applied, enforced or even what the definition of "reasonable accommodation" is. The school gets to use the building, because it was purchased before a certain date, and they will bring it up to code when they do a remodel later in the year. Just like the law requires.

In the meantime, I can crawl up the stairs, asking someone to haul up my chair for me...but that is painful and humiliating and exhausting. I know... I did it today. And once the rain comes, they'll be wet and probably muddy.

Or I can quit and request that another interpreter take my place.

There goes a healthy chunk of change a month.

Yes, I could have fought. But frankly, I have a busy schedule this term, and I am still not sleeping well... Plus I have had some almost-to-the-point-of-scary-serious health problems within the past month that I am just this side of over and I am just not fucking up to fighting... And it feels like I never am up to fighting and I get so mad at myself.

According to the US Census, of men and women in the state of Oregon with physical disabilities between the ages of 21-64 years old, of all races and all ethnicities and all education levels, only 4.5% are employed. That's also a good way of avoiding law suits... But for me, I can't go on disability because I love what I do so much that my identity and happiness are wrapped up in it. I have to keep working, and in that 4.5%, I hear generations of stories of folks like me. And even though I am so sad and angry about this incident today, I just want to be allowed to work and be the friendly, jovial, happy guy that I am. I don't want to have to file complaints and protest and assert my rights and all the other crap.

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wheelieterp: Head shot of me: black and white. Shaved head. Black, full goatee. Big toothy smile. (Default)
WheelieTerp

February 2011

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