Maritime Labour Centre Audit Info

This accessibilities audit of the Maritime Labour Centre was performed on August 6th 2011 by the Radical Access Mapping Project, for Metro Vancouver Kink.

You can learn more about the Radical Access Mapping Project, find other audited spaces, and request further information about the Maritime Labour Centre audit here
https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/radical-access-mapping-project-vancouver/

and here
http://www.maritimelabourcentre.com/

If you would like a space audited, or have questions about accessibilities in general, please contact rampvancouver@gmail.com

Maritime Labour Centre Accessibilities Overview:

Google Doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zi9oawYfDuVNc7ILtZnDqaiciyh4YDEeXD7Yeh8YDrE/edit

PDF
MaritimeLabourCentreAccessibilitiesOverview

 
Maritime Labour Centre Full Accessibilities Audit:

Google Doc
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkEveutSlMoVdGRhS0ROUzlZM2FLUTRtOS1RaXdkUXc

PDF
Maritime Labour Centre Audit_August 2011 – Sheet1 (1)

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ableism and the distance it creates

Was chatting with a friend today in part about political, community burn-out and how to deal with it. We talked about periodically going into hibernation, and what that can mean. One of the things it can mean for me as a disabled person is that there ends up being just that much more distance between me and my communities, and that is scary when there’s already such a divide.

It can already be really difficult to access the kinds of spaces i want to be in, to be part of those spaces, because of ableism (not to mention how discussion of ableism often gets called out as “identity politics!!!!!” when it’s just sharing real shit), and it’s not simply about them being physically inaccessible to me. There’s a culture of ableism that gets built up over time, one which excludes so many of us, one that seeks (sometimes, occasionally) to fix itself but so often stops short of real, deep, change.

And when i burn out and/or need to take space, it means that much more time away, not building trust, connections, having fun as well as talking serious shit (no, i don’t always want to be talking about accessibility. That’s not all i’m about or have to offer). It means it feels like the only times i’m doing stuff, it revolves around access, and i’m so fricken tired of it. As an anarchist i find these constraints, this divide, this ongoing repetition of fucked up predictable patterns, unacceptable.

i’m happy to hibernate, it can be really important, but what i don’t like is the intense realities of the isolation i go through because of the burn out from constantly having to work so hard just to get in the door, and rarely seeing anything resembling the kinds of anarchist community i desire.

i’m curious to know what sorts of things you do to keep your heart going, not necessarily to be doing stuff all the time every minute, but to maintain connection, trust, community?

SOLIDarity

For anyone who wishes to be in solidarity with me as a disabled person, as opposed to being my ally, i really hope you’ll read this.

Every day i leave my apartment sighted people stare at me. They stare at me, ask intrusive questions about my body. They expect answers, and when they don’t get them, or the ones they wanted, they get angry with me. They hiss and tsk and shake their heads and dismiss me and laugh at me and swear and occasionally they spit and hit. This stuff happens all the time. It’s especially brutal when i’m alone. This happens Every. Single. Day.

Because i’m disabled in a way that sighted people can perceive, they behave as though they have ownership over my body. They behave as though my body is here for them to scrutinize, to judge; and they expect me to feel the same way and act according to their ableist framework. And they do so with the knowledge that most of the people around them will back them up.

This stuff happens all the time, because i am ALWAYS disabled in a way that sighted folks can perceive.

But it doesn’t just happen with strangers, certainly none of whom are telling me they’re my “ally”. Strangers are one thing, that’s tough enough to deal with, but at least i’ll be getting off the bus soon, only have to interact with this person a few more minutes, at least i’ll be able to get to the safety of my apartment soon. When it’s friends and lovers and “allies” who do these things, it follows me into my home. It eats away at me in a way no other person could. When “allies” refuse to learn, refuse to listen, refuse to shift, it burns my throat. When friends allow the reality of living ENabled in an ableist society to bleed into their interactions with me unchecked and without doing the actual work necessary to be in true solidarity with me, it literally aches.

i am disabled by a society that says i’m not worth it. Every. Single. Day.

Yet when i speak to this daily lived reality (even as relatively infrequently as i do, compared to how often i could), i’ve been told, by self-identified “allies”, that my words are “too much”; that they “can’t hear it all”; that i swear too much; that i “expect too much” from people, and ultimately, that i am “too sensitive”.

When you can grasp what an incredibly teensy percentage of actual incidents these posts articulate, maybe then you’ll be able to appreciate how fair, kind, reasonable they really are.

al⋅lies
[al-ahyz, uh-lahyz]
–noun
1. pl. of ALLY.

2. (initial capital letter ) (in World War I) the powers of the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France, Russia), with the nations allied with them (Belgium, Serbia, Japan, Italy, etc., not including the United States), or, loosely, with all the nations (including the United States) allied or associated with them as opposed to the Central Powers.
3. (initial capital letter ) the 26 nations that fought against the Axis in World War II and, with subsequent additions, signed the charter of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
4. (initial capital letter ) the member nations of NATO.
al⋅ly [v. uh-lahy; n. al-ahy, uh-lahy] –verb (used with object)
1. to unite formally, as by treaty, league, marriage, or the like (usually fol. by with or to): Russia allied itself to France.
2. to associate or connect by some mutual relationship, as resemblance or friendship.
–verb (used without object)
3. to enter into an alliance; join; unite.
–noun
4. a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose: Canada and the United States were allies in World War II.
5. Biology. a plant, animal, or other organism bearing an evolutionary relationship to another, often as a member of the same family: The squash is an ally of the watermelon.
6. a person who associates or cooperates with another; supporter.

i don’t want allies, i want people to be in solidarity with me.

sol⋅i⋅dar⋅i⋅ty [sol-i-dar-i-tee]
noun, plural -ties.
1. union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples, etc.: to promote solidarity among union members.
2. community of feelings, purposes, etc.
3. community of responsibilities and interests.
solidarity
1841, from Fr. solidarité “mutual responsibility,” a coinage of the “Encyclopédie” (1765), from solidaire “interdependent, complete, entire,” from solide.

What that means to me is that we understand we’re not an “ally of _______ people”, but that we’re in solidarity with each other; that you and i have had conversations about what it means to be in solidarity with one another, in all our complexities; that there’s been some exchange, some understanding, some agreements made.

i am not a member of Group A. i can’t be an ally to the group “A”. It’s an impossibility. Unless i believe that members of Group A have one mind, one set of desires, of expectations, have one way of expressing themselves. i don’t believe that, and so i do the work of understanding on an individual basis what it takes for me to be in solidarity with individual people who are members of Group A. The hope is that that work translates into my broader understanding of the multitude issues faced by, and the multitude realities of people who are members of Group A, learning about Group A’s rights, projects that are happening in my city and beyond that are about support, empowerment, community, and listening to some tough stuff. And of utmost importance, that i do not harm members of Group A with my ignorance. That i listen when they tell me i have, and that i take steps to change my behaviour. That i’ll take all of that, be constantly updating my information, my connections, that i’ll in return share my own stuff. It’s a back and forth arrangement, we both learn, challenge, change. We both perceive each other, support.

It doesn’t count when we’re not both engaged in the work. It doesn’t count when you can and do back out anytime it gets uncomfortable or downright painful. If i backed out of being in solidarity with you every time i felt like it was too tough, or too inconvenient, where would we be? How long would you want me around if every time it really counted, when you truly needed me, every time you wanted to just speak your mind about the kinds of shit you deal with, the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and to simply be heard, i took off?

i make promises to myself and my communities about the kinds of work i’ll engage in. i take advice on it, change and challenge, be challenged. i STFU.

i respect you – that’s why i ask and expect you to check your shit.
i trust you – that’s why i share my life with you, even the really hard stuff.
i love you – that’s why i refuse to give up.
i love myself – that is why i expect more.

If i am in solidarity with you – that is why i do this.
This is the work of being in solidarity with people. It’s not an identity we can claim for ourselves. It is work. It has been and always will be work. Our individual responses to the work will always cause variations on pain and anger and resentment and shame and guilt and defensiveness that we’ll need to check for ourselves. And it’ll always be worthwhile. Every. Single. Time.

Please, don’t be my ally. Be in solidarity with me. It’s not semantics, it makes an actual difference in the real world. i want solidarity, nothing less will do.