Recently, the Denver Women’s Chorus went through a few shakeups in membership. A few of my close friends, meaning geographically close ones, left the choir temporarily. The choir is now full of members who don’t live too close to me, and don’t hang out with me as much as they should. Now, I can’t get a ride to regular practices like I should, and have to use Metro Taxi to get back and forth, but it seems they don’t even want anything to do with me at all. I am first of all blind, and second of all, because of the blindness and people’s views of it, isolated. It has nothing to do with me being anything sexist or anything people have called me in the past, it has everything to do with the sighted community refusing to do anything. And in my view, this is laziness. The sighted community has long held that blindness is a disease among other things, and blindness is, in most parts of the world, considered a curse. Because of the sighted view of blindness, in most countries like Tibet, Somalia, and parts of Eastern Europe, blind people cannot get an education, get jobs, and moreover, have a piece of land to farm on in some of the more agrarian parts of the world. The families of blind people often have to make a choice for their lives or the lives of the blind family member. Does the DWC realize this? I think it’s hypocritical if they don’t.
As a blind woman, I am subjected to “slut” and “whore” shaming by the blind people I’m supposed to get help or help myself. This causes incoherence in the entire United States blind community, but imagine what it’s like in places where agrarian practices like farming are common. Blind girls are oftentimes subject to rape, killed, or abused all because they are blind. I’m not naming any ethnic groups that practice agrarian lifestyles, but the lifestyle of people in these parts of the world are something that every choir member should be aware of.
As for the taxis, I have standards for my drivers. First and foremost, the driver should be fluent 100% in English either British or American, I don’t care about which. However, English fluency is required if God forbid the car was involved in an accident with airbag deployment, and the driver had to if possible call 911. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to bear the responsibility the driver has to bear, calling 911 and pinpointing a location I don’t know where we are and such like. The driver cannot have speeding or DUI charges on his or her or their record. It is highly important that any driver attempting to get this job or volunteer opportunity abide by these rules, especially the DUI and speeding rules because I can’t afford drunk drivers, and so many others probably don’t get it. Drunk driving kills many people, and I’ve seen the results of drunk driving. There was a woman at LaAmistad, a rehabilitative facility in Winter Park, and she had an ankle bracelet on. She’d been on probation and was required to do residential treatment for alcoholism. Most of the residential treatment people were either AA or NA people, and that was also a requirement. All the drug users had to go to chemical recovery twelve step programs, but I was exempt from that requirement because I was not a substance user. What I do know is that my friend Liz who was in the AA program had to pee in a cup before she could proceed after coming back from a pass. The nurses and such like wanted to track her progress, which is all well and good. But trust me, if Liz and the other lady hadn’t gotten their treatment, who knew what those women might have done on the road?
My friend Katherine, a lady who picks me up for Soar practice is trying to find volunteer driver orgs, but with no luck. They would have to work on Sundays, and Sunday nights are a boon. Access a Ride wouldn’t work because Montview Presbyterian is not located on a fixed route bus stop, but even still, the bus stops running after six. Even after seven on weekdays. But this is
I’d like to thank a friend who stayed over with me when this apartment was better about things, and they offered to email a director or something like that. The friend is coming up with solutions. Solutions I may come with later might include a buddy system, checking in with chorus members who need a check in, and all of us need to be accountable for ourselves but most of all, for each other. I should also point out that the use of the word “liability” is in and of itself unethical, and unethical behavior should include exclusion of persons with disabilities. The reason is that persons with disabilities who cannot drive cannot often afford transport without having to buy food, laundering supplies, and soap. The insecurity is big here. I only get under $800 a month and I’m supposed to pay for retreat and costumes, dues, and other crap? This fully excludes those on SSI benefits, and I’d like to volunteer and such but how are people going to believe I have any skills at all? I eventually want to arrange music with garage band, but will the choir believe me? I don’t think so.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 as revised says that blind people are entitled to auxiliary aids, so says my friend Clayton, but I don’t know where to go from there. I hope my friend Ulysses and I can arrange something, something that would tell people how much inclusion needs to be done in order for more blind and visually impaired people to join any choir, anywhere.