HAIL ZUKAS: “HALE” Profiles a Low-Profile Disability Rights Pioneer and Co-Founder of the Center for Independent Living (CIL)

Movie poster for the film "Hale" that has a b/w archival photo of Hale Zukas in profile, at work, and using his headstick to type. HALE is in large red letters over white type: Changing the world one letter at a time. Directed by Brad Bailey. Additional text is unreadable to me but shows 2 prestigious film hoors.

Copyright Brad Bailey 2017

I live in an unusual household: Hale Zukas is a household name in it. But that’s what happens when your spouse not only knows his disability history but many of its people (like Hale), and you happen to work with another transportation powerhouse.
Fortunately, filmmaker Brad Bailey has made an award-winning documentary profiling this low-profile disability policy pioneer, team player, and organizer for the 504 sit-in protest. But make no mistake — Hale’s low-profile comes from staying immersed in the details of policy and regulatory work. He has been — and this is key — a dreaded name by anyone who opposed accessible transit. For certain officials, there have long been six words they just don’t want to hear in connection to public accommodations: “Hale Zukas is on the line.”
BAMPFA included “Hale” in its “Visualizing the World” series last night on 1/22. I had been planning to see it but could not — and I missed a strangely satisfying opportunity to celebrate Hale Zukas on the eve of Ed Roberts Day — pre-gaming it, so to speak. Ed Roberts is often mistakenly credited with co-founding the original-flavor Center for Independent Living (CIL), but Hale really is a co-founder. He got there first.  Brad Bailey describes him as a workhorse of the disability rights movement. See the film and see why for yourself. 
Rumor has it the film will be show again in Berkeley again in February. I plan to be there.  

This Labor Day, Let’s Commit to Wiping Out the Charity Model for All People With Disabilities in Our Lifetime

Photo of Jerry Lewis with his infamous quote about how muscular dystrophy would make him half a person.

When your organization’s fundraising tactics undermine your mission – as dehumanizing your own people does – your fundraiser efforts can only be judged a failure. No matter how much money you raise.

This Labor Day weekend has me feeling celebratory because there’s no Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon on the air for the first time in 49 years.
This is great. If you’ve got that particular diagnosis. If you don’t, you may still have a problem. If, say, you’re diagnosed with autism. People with autism are still dealing with the same dynamic of destructive messages in the fundraising that purports to help them.
Criticizing how funds are raised generates a whole lot of anger if the critics are among those who are said to benefit from the efforts.  That’s why cross-disability solidarity, disability history, and telling our own stories are so important. The medical model of disability would keep us separated by diagnoses — different and disconnected — but the social model can bring us together — unique and united — through common concerns for our rights.
I’ve said it before and it’s still true: “I look at fundraising as a means of not just supporting social change but in promoting it as well. How we raise money says a lot about our attitudes toward the cause we want to fund.”

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