From the Director's Desk

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Inaccessible Justice

The National Black Disability Coalition assists families and individuals with disabilities in times of crisis.  This work is done while protecting the privacy of the families.  What we have experienced over the years is that most often families who have a disabled child where an injustice has occurred are unable, for various reasons, to do the work to obtain justice for their child.

We received an inquiry from a support person assisting an African immigrant family. Their middle school child with developmental delays was found in school unconscious on the floor of the boys' bathroom with a belt around his neck. The child survived.

The child was bullied because of his skin color, being a special education student and accused of being “gay.” What we don’t know: was the occurrence a suicide attempt or a lynching?

The occurrence happened over a month ago.  Today there still has been no public account of the incident by the school or family.

What we know is the disability supports did not come to the aid of the family. It was a civil rights organization who came to the aid of the family.  The supports have had a difficult time getting the family to understand the need to meet time lines.

This story is not new.  Too many Black families are unable to obtain justice for their disabled children.  For most Black families to dedicate the time to the work for justice there is the real threat of interrupted employment  who then find their delicate financial balance in jeopardy.  How do we, the Black disability community, support each other when these injustices happen?

 

Jane Dunhamn

Director, NBDC