phineasfrogg: A bird flying away with the caption 'free at last'. (free @ last)
I was helping my local ASAN (Autistic Self-Advocacy Network) chapter organise to get the city government to approve a transitional living programme for people with developmental disabilities (despite a bunch of really ableist people trying to persuade the government it was a bad idea) and... they decided to give it the go-ahead! I wasn't the main organiser, but I did send a written testimony for people to read at one of the hearings they had.

Here's my testimony:

As a person on the autistic spectrum, I am saddened by the hostility expressed towards the 3L Place facility for adults with developmental disabilities.

Nowadays people wouldn’t see me as anything other than a productive member of my community - I am about to graduate from Tufts University and have been doing work for non-profit and governmental organisations for the past several years. However, when I was younger, I lived in a San Francisco facility somewhat like 3L Place, although it wasn’t specifically for people with developmental disabilities it was designed for homeless and former runaway youth, another group of marginalised people who might be accused of ‘lowering property values’. This was despite the fact that the facility was monitored by staff, and residents living there didn’t actually cause any trouble for the local community.

The students at 3L Place will have the opportunity to learn important life skills and contribute to the community around them through their training. The idea that allowing developmentally disabled people to move into a house in their community would somehow ‘endanger their children’ or ‘lower property values’ seems to come from deep-set bigotry against people with developmental disabilities, rather than concern for the community at large. Our city is for everyone, not just the able-bodied or ‘neurotypical’. Allowing 3L Place to exist in the local community will not hurt it; rather, it will emphasise Somerville’s commitment to equality and inclusion for all, regardless of ability.

The hostility directed towards 3L Place is NIMBYism at its worst, and not in keeping with the spirit of community.

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phineasfrogg: Various books arranged on a shelf. (Default)
Phineas

June 2014

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