Thursday, 23 May 2019

Many Nova Scotians with intellectual and physical disabilities continue to live in large institutions against their will, while others are being taken care of by ageing and senior parents. Affected people are saying enough is enough. We went to today’s press conference at Province House, and transcribed in full the powerful statements by Jeannie Whidden of People First Nova Scotia, and Jen Powley, of No More Warehousing.

Laura Shepherd, reflecting on the Transgender Day of Visibility and inspired by the wisdom of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, writes about being an older trans woman, allyship, friendship, and all the complexities that entails.

“That I and my trans peers harbour our own private doubts about the extent of the allyship we enjoy even among our closest friends underscores Miss Major’s assertion that it is time for “The people who care about us, who are involved in our lives, and who know us… to become more visible.”

Judy Haiven questions why police and reporters broadcast the release of a man deemed a high-risk offender who has completed his sentence. “I’m no expert in this matter of crime and punishment. But it can’t be good to target, name and shame ex-cons in our midst. After all, 95% of people in prison do get released. They have to walk and live among us.”

The Disability Rights Coalition is collecting signatures to an open letter to Premier Stephen McNeil, asking his government to stop warehousing people with disabilities and focus on investing in community living options instead. Alternatively, the group is asking people who are institutionalized and/or waiting for a community living space to file an individual human rights complaint.

Dr. Cynthia Bruce on the recent Human Rights decision on institutionalization and what it says about the pervasive force of ableism in Nova Scotia. “Describing ableism only in terms of discrimination against disabled people fails to capture the essence of ableism’s power to oppress. Discrimination is an intensely felt outcome of ableism, but the origins of such discrimination rest in deeply held beliefs that disability is undesirable, unwanted, and a burden on individuals, families, and society.”

News release: The Nova Scotia chapter of Autistics United Canada announces their inaugural neurodiversity flag raising event on Friday, March 29 in recognition of World Autism Acceptance Day. Neurodiversity is the natural diversity of human brains and minds.The rainbow infinity symbol symbolizes the great diversity in the Autistic community, and is widely used to represent the larger neurodiversity community beyond autism, such as ADHD and dyslexia.

News release: Krista Carr, Executive Vice-President of CACL, explained, “When it comes to pursuing justice for Canadians who are or have been institutionalized, CACL will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes. Even if it takes 1,500 individual complaints – as these rights are secured in the CRPD, which Canada has ratified with Nova Scotia’s agreement.”