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Day 1: Umoja, Disabled-ly

Day 1: Umoja, Disabled-ly

Habari Gani? Umoja, disabled-ly!

The first day of Kwanzaa, December 26, is Umoja.  Umoja means Unity. This is a principle I’ve noticed the disabled community has become quite good at practicing.  It could be that sometimes, we are all we have. For some of us, the disabled community is our social network, our family, our support system.

At least it has been for me.  I’ve come to rely on disabled peers online when it comes to different life things.  When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was seek out the disabled parent community.  We share each other’s donation links because hey, being disabled gets expensive. We sometimes turn into our own medical team or awareness “organization”.  And we do it all without judging (I hope. Oh I hope).  We boost each other’s work, amplify each other’s voices, and have fun with different discussion hashtags.

We are a community.

When we put out a call to #DisabledTwitter, we all come running, or wheeling, or limping, or rollating, or…well, you get the picture.

We come to support each other.

The best part to me is that we don’t HAVE to know each other. Once you identify as disabled, you become part of the family. Umoja to the disabled community means we found a new family.  We defend each other. We promote each other. We are there to answer each other’s questions (health or otherwise).  And we do much of this no questions asked!

Why though? What do we get out of it? In our community, we know all to well what it is like not to have that support.  We know what it is like to have to fight for, advocate for, defend our very right to live.  And we know the struggle in doing so when the world around us would rather we disappear, whatever that may mean. And we know what it’s like to feel like we are doing it all alone. Until we find our community.

We practice solidarity.  We practice unity.  We epitomize Umoja.

What are some ways you promote Umoja/Unity? Answer in the comment section below.

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