What if no one’s watching?

By | May 1, 2008

A crowded room has fifty two empty chairs and twenty three occupied with purses, coats, and people. Slowly bodies trickle in, slowly voices rise in greeting and fall to whispered conversations among friends, family or co-workers. Tap, tap, tap on a microphone at the front of the room and silence begins.

There’s an artist and a message to be heard, righteous rage to be felt, fists pumping in the air. There’s a beat to absorb and a rhythm to sway along as the air gets thick with harmony and indignation. There’s an honesty in a room used for higher learning on any other day.

There’s a corner of the room where she sits and a corner of the room where their eyes avert to. There’s a smile for her trouble and a glare for her struggles. She can’t be them, she can’t be like them. She isn’t theirs.

There’s a violence in the assumption and a wound left on her body, not seen. There’s a sound like thunder in her ears and a fist clasped tightly under her left thigh. There’s a sway as the room grows dimmer and she’s there, not there, still there.

An empty room full of promises for someone more obvious or more vocal, perhaps more literal or literary, an understanding. And a tangled web of commonalities and complications with the segregation of the revolution hangs heavily in the doorway.


Writer’s note: Today is Blog Against (Dis)Ableism/Ablism day. (dis)Ableism/Ablism is the discrimination of and against those who identify as or are marked as disabled. This includes visible disabilities and those that cannot be clearly seen or read on a body. The disability rights movement has been tirelessly working to end discrimination against the disabled alongside fat, queer, race, gender, sex, and age activists but are rarely acknowledged or included in the universal struggle against inequality. While our struggles and oppression are no doubt different they are connected and intersect with other communities including race and gender.

It’s time for both recognition of this intersection and inclusion of this community across the board.

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