My FEDup™Rant: The Top 5 Reasons Girl Scouts Are Better at Fundraising Than the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon

FED UP TM Ideas worth ranting about

I’m FEDup with the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon. Unlike other disability groups, it’s still teaching children with neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) that their role in fundraising is to perform their disabilities and/or be treated as passive props in an ableist play. There are better ways to involve all children. Example: The Girl Scouts’ cookie sales.

2 Girl Scout cookies that say I Am A Go Getter and I Am a Leader

If these were MDA cookies, they’d say, “I’m half a person,” and “I wish I weren’t me.”

The Top 5 Reasons Girl Scouts Are Better at Fundraising Than the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Telethon

5.  Selling cookies was an age-appropriate fundraising activity for me as an 8 year old Girl Scout. Versus MDA putting even younger children on television to have their medical status be talked about and possibly misrepresented. Continue reading

This #NDEAM, Let’s #Consent to #EndTheTelethon and Dismantle the Charity Model – Again

This post is part of a blog-weekend protesting the re-emergence of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon. Sadly, Kevin Hart and MDA are bringing the charity model and Jerry Lewis back like Zombies of Ableism on October 24. We, the Not-Walking-Not-Dead-Yet, have to use our social capital to stop them in their tracks as the Hartless Crips we are.

I’m proud to be one of the disabled activists organized by disabled filmmaker, writer, and activist Dominick Evans to once again protest an event that perpetuates disability stereotypes, spreads misinformation about neuro-muscular diseases to increase donations, and utterly ignores structural ableism. In 2015, I wrote about the end of the Telethon that inexplicably ran every year on Labor Day and was presided over by the guy who claimed his “kids” could never go into the workplace.

This post revisits portions of it with an eye to the continuing issue of employment – if only because disabled children will once again be working at the Telethon for their health care, and potentially taking some very concerning lessons away from that experience about consent and power.  Thank you, Dominick, for your leadership!

Hands-OFF Fundraising in 2020: Consent, Consent, Consent

Telethon screenshot. Lewis has his hand grabbing a young girl's knee. "that we are about to present and it's for her and a million other of my kids"

In 2020, we need to critique this 2010 image from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon in terms of consent as much as we do its infantilizing attitude and fundraising tactics that use disabled people as charity props.
MDA needs to be held accountable for their broader transactional narrative in which disabled children are expected to allow strangers to touch their bodies as part of obtaining money for their health care.
The “new” Telethon is being held on Oct. 24, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). There is a connection between the MDA Telethon and employment. What we learn as children is carried into adulthood. The lesson here  can too easily become, “I need my paycheck so I have to put up with my boss touching me.”
Past KFC/MDA print ad saying, "On May 24th, show this child you care," with an explanation of why buying KFC will help kids. Lewis has his arm wrapped around a small boy in a wheelchair

MDA, Jerry Lewis, KFC, and a bucket of reasons why disabled children shouldn’t be used as props in cause marketing charity campaigns.

BONUS! Go here for “Stuff I Know As a Fundraiser Who Has Muscular Dystrophy and Why It’s (Past) Time for MDA to #EndTheTelethon”

BUT WAIT – WE’VE GOT EVEN MORE BONUS! Go here to read why Girls Scouts are better fundraisers than MDA’s executives

Continue reading

Zzzave the Date! The 2nd Annual Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights is Coming on March 12, 2021, World Sleep Day

Photo collage of 17 naptivists, including adults, children, dogs, and cats. Described in post below. Text: 1st Annual Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights March 13-15, 2020 talesfromthecrip.org 3 Days, 38 Naptivists #TiredOfAbleism $1740 in Donations 100% to dredf.org Thank You for Your Naptivism!

All Photos courtesy of Naptivists

Well, the glorious 1st Annual Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights was all of 6 months ago. In news that will shock absolutely no one, I’m tired again. As I bet you are, too.
So – when the waking gets rough, the sloths plan naptivism.  And that means…

Sloth photo. Zzzave the Date! March 12, 2021, World Sleep Day. The 2nd Annual Napa-a-thon for Disability Rights #TiredOfAbleism Naptivists stay tuned at talesfromthecrip.org

Zzzave the Date! March 12, 2012, World Sleep Day

Summon your inner naptivist sloth and stay tuned for more info on how to be part of the
2nd Annual Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights!

#TiredOfAbleism? Calling All Naptivists to Join the 1st Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights Advocacy March 13-15, 2020

Photo of a pooch napping belly-up on a couch 1st Nap-a-thon for Disability Rights March 13-15 2020 #TiredOfAbleism




Disability rights advocacy is tough and tiring. Supporting disability rights advocates shouldn’t be. Napping as activism is an easy way to do it!


Here’s what you DO:

1. You, your kid, dog, cat, horse, or sloth companion nap anytime between 3/13-15/20 and snap of photo of you doing it. Post it on social media with #TiredOfAbleism. Include alt-text!
Here’s where you can follow the action:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/196300241622595/
On Twitter: @IngridTischer, @DREDF
2. Post a message with your photo: “I’m napping for disability rights because I’m #TiredOfAbleism. We need to bring attention to ableism and support Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) in fighting discrimination. Will you give a donation in honor of my nap?”
B/W photo of a young white man sleeping peacefully with a calico kitty

Photo courtesy of a Naptivist team

3. Add a FB Donate button or a link to dredf.org/support-our-work/, and note “naptivism.” All donation amounts welcome!

→ Scroll down for The Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Support Naptivism for Disability Rights March 13-15, 2020


Top left-right: A basset hound sleeping; a golden retriever napping; a white woman napping on a couch in an office; middle row left-right: a white woman holding a small sleeping child; 2 cats curled in a basket; a little dog napping belly-up on an office floor; bottom row left-right: a woman napping with a cat; a white guy cuddling a blanket and stuffed frog; a lounging white woman

All images courtesy of Naptivists

Disability media peeps! Naptivism is an example of crip-led activism and philanthropy shifting the disability narrative from:

  • “awareness” to advocacy

  • charity to social justice

  • using less accessible fundraisers to more inclusive action


Young woman sleeping at her desk. Text: #TiredOfAbleism NAPTIVIST www.talesfromthecrip.org

This Hero Naptivist could be you on World Sleep Day, 3/13/20. Will you answer the call of naptivism for the cause of disability rights?

Long ago when I was a disabled fundraiser at Breast Cancer Action, I jokingly said sleeping was more my thing than some 3-day-schlepp for “awareness.” Yada yada, it’s the 1st annual nap-a-thon for disability rights advocacy!

Continue reading

Subvert the Dominant Paradigm of Disability/Charity By Letting Me Match Your Monthly Gift for Those Meddling Advocates at DREDF!

 

Image description: An old-timey drawing from a scene in A Christmas Carol where Bob Cratchit is holding Tiny Tim on his shoulder, who is cheerfully waving his crutch.
My, uh, non-Dickens text is Bob saying, “DREDF’s advocacy means you just might get a frakking wheelchair–maybe even an education!” Tiny Tim says, “I told Scrooge to become a DREDF monthly donor or I’d haunt his ass!”
At the bottom: Dog bless DREDF’s donors – everyone!
Image Credit: Illustration by Fred Barnard

How I love crafting heartwarming holiday cards. Like Tiny Tim subverting the dominant paradigm of disability/charity.

You may not know this, but fundraising is a hotbed of subversion if you’re disabled (like me) and raising money to fight ableism instead of being used as an ableist prop by someone else.

You know what goes great with a paradigm shift? A new narrative.

One where disabled people lead the philanthropic work that affects them. As in:

You let me, a disabled donor, match your monthly gift that will support cross-disability civil and human rights defense led by disabled advocates at DREDF. If you take this action, you’ll be making a gift and helping make philanthropy more inclusive. So it is with real glee that I throw down this match offer to help support DREDF’s 40th year as our country’s leading cross-disability legal and policy defense fund:

If you become a DREDF monthly donor by 1/31/19, I will match your first $40. Ex.: If you give $20 per month, I will match the total of your first 2 months, or $40. 

I’ll know it’s a match gift because you’ll include “Nothing about Tiny Tim, without Tiny Tim” in the note field of your online gift.

You may know me as the Queen of Sardonica or as A Crip in Philanthropy but my days are spent fundraising at DREDF where I’m often serious for up to entire minutes at a time.

Our education rights work alone tells you why: “Dickensian” describes schools that lock disabled students in closets, hold them face-down in  4-point restraints, and fail to teach them how to read

Individual contributions are critical because both impact litigation and policy require a big investment of time and resources, and foundation funding for disability advocacy is scarce

I’m a DREDF major donor now because I have complete trust in the integrity, independence, and brilliance that the staff (who are not me) bring to disability civil and human rights advocacy.

If you know, like I do, that DREDF has made the world better than it was 40 years ago, please join me in giving a year-end gift. Share DREDF with someone you know. 

If a monthly thing isn’t for you right now, no problem. We appreciate every single gift that will fuel our 2019 work to defend those gains and – let’s hope – advance them over the next decades. Together!

THANK YOU AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!