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Response/Reaction to Dr Lindsey Grubbs Talk 3/20

cds6's picture

The talk by Dr Grubbs was about Abby Folsom, a radical19th century feminist and abolitionist. On top of her focus on women’s rights and abolition, she also was known to advocate for disabled bodies and prisoners and never pit the communities she was standing for against one another. I think this really speaks to her non-hierarchical advocacy and underlying perspective of the world. In her obituary by Wendell Phillips, he states that she lived for others. At the core of her existence and her work, I think embodies the spirit of offering care to any and all. Which reminded me of the Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Making Space Accessible is an Act of Love for Our Communities. At the core of access and solidarity in the disabled community is love and care. But in order to carry out meaningful progress towards inclusivity — requires collective commitment to make space for more accessible, inclusive practices and physical spaces. This upholding the standard for accessibility needs not just the “crips”… but also the “non(yet)-crips” since making spaces inclusive provide benefit not just for people with disabilities, but everyone as a whole. There is similar feelings to the way Abby conducts herself and the way Leah speaks centralizing access with every act/decision. There is a sense of universality to these pieces that have stuck with me. 

The weaving of care through different spaces, especially those that are institutionalized, allow for the connection of seemingly unrelated themes of spaces of anti-care and an institution’s way of evading responsibility. In a way, these initially designated spaces of care have been weaponized through a cyclical passing of persons — through homeless shelters, outpatient clinics for mental health, and juvie/prison. And while many people have trouble connecting these spaces and their respective communities together, it shows how truly ahead of her time Folsom was as a radical, female abolitionist.  

The idea of incarceration, institutionalization, and industrial-medical complex came up in our discussion of Good Kings, Bad Kings on Thursday. I think many of the characters in the novel are victims of the larger system at play. The scope of their lived experiences extends far beyond the embodied accessibility struggles and even discrimination/othering they face, leaving them many times at the mercy of those who claim to “care”. In the talk by Dr. Grubbs, she mentioned the way institutions used to systematically release and report an inflated “cure” rate to ensure their funding sources would continue to support them. These institutions were known to re-admit the same patients year after year, presenting unethical and unrepresentative statistics. Again, the fate and lived experience of those who need the care are being decided by people of authority, people with the means and the power, or people who just care more about the profit rather than giving care. 

Something I really liked about this talk was the casual feel to it. It was facilitated in a way that allowed for casual questions and genuine curiousit's to come out in the audience. It felt more like a conversation or an open dialogue rather than a lecture. I liked the location of the talk as well -- right near the entrance of the accessible library entrance facing the dining center. In addition, a zoom was recorded and displayed subtitles which alllowed for me to follow along with the words spoken by Dr. Folsom and hear the questions asked by the audience quite easily. All in all, a great experience and such clear connection to some of the material we discussed in our class!