My name is Joe Basey. I was born in Glendale, California and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). I’m going to be talking about why your vote is so important for assuring that people with disabilities (PWD) have the same rights as their non-disabled counterparts. I was born in 1976 before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is important to remember. I was born at a time when there weren’t many real expectations for PWD. I spent my first few years of life as a foster child, was adopted around the age of six, and moved to Oregon. From what my parents have told me, I lived a meager existence during my early childhood. I spent the majority of my time watching TV and playing with toys. I’m telling you this because after I moved to Oregon, my life vastly changed. I started improving my fine motor and gross motor skills. I started learning the alphabet and numbers.
My parents were eager to discover my potential. They threw me into a school for kids with special needs so I could get caught up to the skill level of my peers. Their advocacy made a huge difference in my life and helped my voice be heard. I have often talked about why advocacy is so important to me. Over the years, I have found that I could be a stronger advocate for others and myself to be engaged in the elections. It’s important for your voice to be heard. Being actively engaged is integral for developing change. I try to lead by example in this way. I believe you shouldn’t complain if you aren’t willing to take appropriate action. It’s really disconcerting that so many people choose not be involved in a system that was developed to allow their voice to be heard.
I understand that the political environment can be a little overwhelming. This being said, I’m 43 years old and have had some stuff thrown at me throughout my life. No matter what happens, you have to be diligent about moving forward at whatever speed you’re able. There are so many political issues that have the potential to negatively affect PWD and their networks right now, and I hope that people will pay attention and engage with them.
I believe that there is power in one vote. We can always make a difference. I’m involved with different committees and councils on local, state, and national levels. This is really important because often the voices of PWD are not heard or validated. I want to be an example for others to know that their voice is important for making positive developments in their communities. One way to do this is to be involved with your political system. In other words: get out and vote! Your life depends on it. Remember, if you have an idea for making positive change, stay resilient and stay the course.
Your Voice = Power of One’s Vote.
Check out Joe Basey’s blog, Blaxican Revealed, where this was originally posted.