Overcoming obstacles

The Deconstructing Disability Event on Tuesday was intended to build community and promote an inclusive and equitable view of disability.

All around the event were posters displaying a quote from The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections in Disabilities by Susan Wendell.

“Disability is socially constructed through the failure or unwillingness to create ability among people who do not fit the psychical and mental profile of ‘paradigm’ citizens.”

The Deconstructing Disability event included disability arts, videos, experiential activities and resources.

There was yoga, massage and dance, and during open mike, people had a chance to share their experiences with others.

Deconstructing Disability also had speakers, such as Kevin Fitz who spoke for the Psychiatric Disability section. Fitz was once committed to a state hospital, and he spoke of state mandated hospitalization as “one size fits all” rehabilitation. “Everyone takes a pill,” he said.

Fitz discussed the necessity for making hospitalizations optional-a choice people can make for themselves.

According to Kathy Coleman, a member of the Students with disAbilities Union, the Deconstructing Disability celebration was more than just an informational fair. The celebration was intended to change people’s concepts about disabilities.

There were many booths at Deconstructing Disability. Some of the representatives were: the Office of Consumer Technical Assistance (OCTA), Oregon Advocacy Center, Universal Access to Self Directed Supports, Independent Living Resources, Versatilt, N.W. Disability Business Assistance Center, Rights Under the American Disabilities Act, National Federation of the Blind and Self Determination Resources Inc.

Currently there is a Focus on Diversity Series sponsored by the Office of Affirmative Action, the Center for Academic Excellence and the President’s Diversity Action Council. The Deconstructing Disability event was publicized as a part of the Focus on Diversity Series.

Portland State University’s Students with disAbilities Union, with Disabilities Act Americans (ADA) Physical Access Committee sponsored the Deconstructing Disability event.