For the nearly 60 million Americans with disabilities who depend on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for health care and public services to survive, the prospective policies of the US administration could mean losing their health insurance, social safety net, legal protections and civil rights. Or it could not. With every new administration and election in the US and abroad, there is always a threat to lose what we have gained. Potential new laws in the United States may once again expose people with disabilities to the vagaries of the private insurance market.
The stigma of disability can be as disabling as the condition itself. It thwarts people from realizing their potential and poses chronic barriers to inclusivity. Overcoming prejudice is the first step to beating the discrimination that people living with disability all too often face, with consequences ranging from poor healthcare, employment challenges and restricted community access, to the erosion of human rights, psychological damage and abuse. Efforts to surmount social bias must also recognize insidious factors such as self-stigma.
Embracing diversity is essential for us to succeed as a human family. We are constantly growing more and more diverse as minorities become the majority and different cultures continue to interact with each other and blend together. When practiced effectively, diversity recognizes each other’s differences – whether it is gender, disability, sexuality, economic status, race, abilities or religious beliefs - and gives everyone an equal say without “categorizing.”
Our imaginations need and want to soar. Art and artistic adventures are crucial to a healthy, inclusive society. With the trend towards funding cuts in the arts, we need to rethink our strategies to ensure the that the arts are kept alive and are inclusive. But the same time, in recent years, bolstering this mission have been mainstream arts programs, developments in assistive technologies, and creative expression around disability and diversity.