Friday, November 30, 2007

Some More Pics from FRIDAfest

The fabulous FRIDA pinata (the head of Frida Kahlo)

Aerin and friend celebrate FRIDAfest

Barb kicks ass. A whole lot of ass. Especially Tim's ass.

The FRIDA history timeline (thank you Aerin!)

Barb tries on a FRIDA torso mannequin while Mike Ervin looks on

More FRIDAfest Pics!

Here's another handful for your enjoyment...

Lluvia and Janice having a good conversation

Womyn making a FRIDA mask

Mary giving Sol a ride

William with FRIDA eyebrows painted on and a sanitary napkin nametag

Our potluck organizer, Christine
Robert Latimer Applies for Daytime Parole

In 1993, Canadian Robert Latimer killed his 12-year-old daughter Tracy, who had cerebral palsy, in order to "ease her suffering." He put her in his truck and ran a hose from the tail pipe into the window, and left her to die. The rest of the family was at church.

Latimer is serving a ten year sentence at a minimum security facility and is asking to be released into the community during the daytime.

For a news story see:

In my personal view, this case highlights an ongoing problem for women and girls with disabilities, as well as boys and men, namely: are people with disabilities safe from their own family members? Yes, parents should strive to do what is best for their children, but when it comes to people with disabilities, especially those who do not communicate, often the gray area is HUGE. Latimer was supposedly trying to help Tracy escape suffering, but was he really just making things better for all involved (i.e., getting rid of Tracy so the "burden" would end)? Who can really say?

This calls to mind other examples of when families abuse or reject or kill children. What about parents whose children come out as LGBTQ? What about parents whose children inform them that they have HIV? Would most families of children without disabilities who were in severe pain simply kill them?

At a basic level, I think there are lots of parents out there who, intentionally or not, view their children with disabilities as less than full people. I know I work with plenty of young people with disabilities who believe their parents love their nondisabled siblings more, and give them more freedom (and conversely sometimes the siblings feel the parents treat the disabled children in a more special way). A disability-inclusive perspective within families, that does not pity or devalue or infantilize the disabled child, is something that bears further discussion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

FRIDAfest Pics!

The crowd mingling at FRIDAfest!

FRIFA tshirts and dolls for sale

Our Little Frida of the Day (Lluvia)

Sharon and Sandra checking out wheelchair toggle skirts

Sharon holding one of her toggle skirts....

check out her FRIDA eyebrows (courtesy of face paint!)

More to come....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FRIDA Celebrates Our Second Anniversary!

Today, FRIDA celebrated our second anniversary with an all-out FRIDA bash at Access Living! By my guess we had about 60 people attend, most with disabilities, from all different walks of life. We even had out of towners attend (Hi Cilla and Mike!). This was a terrific community event, and if you missed it, you'll have to come back next November.

Our activities included: a FRIDA history timeline, a potluck, FRIDA mask making, raffles of things such as wheelchair toggle skirts, website unveiling, t-shirts and hand-painted mannequins, an auction of Frida Kahlo items, a birthday cake, a mini FRIDA (Lluvia dressed up as FRIDA), lots of music and talking....we still have FRIDA dolls and t-shirts for sale if anyone is interested in ordering some.

This was a great way to wrap up our second year, during which we have seen so much action! It's terrific to have our community come together and just have a really good party. Thanks to everyone who came and here's to a new great year for FRIDA!

Oh PS: Emylee made this incredible pinata that is a Frida Kahlo head, complete with earrings and necklace. Holy crap. I have to get pictures up.... The pinata is currently (unbroken) at Access Living.

Monday, November 19, 2007

AMA Supports Community Choice Act

Thanks to an alert from NCIL's newsletter, FRIDA has learned that the American Medical Association on November 13 voted to support the Community Choice Act as official AMA policy. This is in line with the campaign demands of ADAPT in Chicago in September 2007 and with FRIDA's activity with the AMA. For the press release, see:

A goal has been met! VICTORY!


I don't know if you all remember, but back in January, FRIDA decided it wanted three things from the AMA: to oppose the "Ashley Treatment," to have disability representation within the AMA, and to support the Community Choice Act. We have the third now! We're working on the second.

How did the support of the CCA happen? It appears that a policy to support the CCA was proposed and then voted on. What is outlined in the press release is what we know.

It can't have hurt that 500 people with disabilities surrounded the AMA building in September demanding support for the Community Choice Act, and that our direct action activities were covered not only in the mainstream press but by the AMA in-house newsletter. Getting people to talk about the issue of community choice is often the main way to get folks to take action.

So the momentum continues...a great two year anniversary present!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

FRIDA Activities Update

Hi folks, believe it or not, although our blog has been quiet the last few weeks, we've been busy as heck! This month marks FRIDA's second anniversary and on Tuesday, November 27 from 3 pm to 7 pm we are celebrating with our first ever FRIDAfest. It will be at Access Living, 115 W. Chicago Avenue. We'll be doing a potluck, auction of FRIDA-made art items (including FRIDA dolls!), general fun-making, and...........

We'll be unveiling the FRIDA official website!!!! Oh my gawd!!! Thanks to the Crossroads Foundation and the ever poptacular cripfeminist Joe Hall, we'll finally have a one-stop shop for those looking for info about FRIDA.

So what's been happening this month is we're writing content for our website and we've been making MORE tshirts and having a couple of art making evenings where we've been making FRIDA art that wil go up for auction. We're just getting ready for a full-blown FRIDAhood event! So come and join us if you'll be in Chicago!

Memory lane pit stop: People often ask how FRIDA got started. Well...a couple years ago, six women who worked for Access Living got sick and tired of the crap we saw happening to women with disabilities in the news and we basically decided to start having brown bag lunches talking about different topics. Before long that snowballed into a town hall...which snowballed into direct action campaigns...which snowballed into the national network of feminists and the official Chicago group known as FRIDA today. Mighty oaks really do spring from tiny acorns.

So keep an eye out for our new site at the end of the month (I'm praying this will work out as announced!) and if we're a little quiet this month it's cuz we're gonna explode on November 27!

PS: If anyone out there has any interest in starting a FRIDA chapter, please e-mail me at Ambity(at)
PPS: If you're wondering what's up with Linda who so often posts, she's been in Chicago the last few days at a disability biocultures conference! Congratulations on presenting Linda! Thank you for all the work you do on this blog!

Amber Smock