Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Harriet McBryde Johnson’s 18th Annual Telethon Protest

John Polito from Crip Commentary has put together this report, along with photos, of Charleston's (SC) 18th annual protest against the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Here is an excerpt:

While Charleston lost Harriet on June 4, it did not lose the causes she championed. Today, thirteen protesters braved intermittent rain and the absence of their field general to remind Charleston why the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon causes vastly more harm than good. In Harriet’s words, “Lewis and the MDA have built an empire represented by the telethon tote board. The empire is based on pity. Pity sets people apart, makes one group feel superior to another. Pity makes people feel good - because they’re not like us. And when they feel that way, they are inspired to send money - to make us more like them, to ‘cure’ us of our differences, or even to prevent our very lives.”

Pity breeds stigma. Stigma breeds disability discrimination. Jerry and the MDA continue to exploit, work and worry young children by teaching them that their lives cannot rich, full and rewarding unless people send the MDA money for research, so the MDA can discover a way to cure them. Jerry, what’s the cure for stigma? What has been the collective psychological damage inflicted upon young children with muscular dystrophy, after 42 years of MDA “cure” telethons and still no cure?

h/t to media dis&dat.