Disability Pride Rally Planned for May 6 in Downtown Muskegon

Contact: Eleanor Canter (eleanorcanter@yahoo.com)

May 5, 2016

MUSKEGON, MI – Peer Action Alliance will hold a Rally for Disability Pride from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 6 at Alcoa Square in Downtown Muskegon.

The event will feature live music and speakers, free cupcakes, and the opportunity for members of Muskegon’s disability community and allies to meet up, enjoy downtown Muskegon, and support local advocacy. 

Organizers say that, unlike many disability-themed events, the Rally for Disability Pride will create a space for the community to support the priorities defined by people with disabilities themselves, instead of priorities defined by agencies and service providers.

For example, under current law, some Muskegon businesses can legally pay workers with disabilities less than minimum wage – a practice many in the disability community object to. Advocates say they are starting to see movement at the state and federal levels to outlaw this practice, which they describe as discriminatory and outdated.

“This event is about pride,” says Independent Living Advocate Eleanor Canter. “It’s about presenting a counter-narrative. We’re going to come together as a community and say ‘no’ to subminimum wage employment, low expectations, and pity. Our message is that people with disabilities are the best experts on our own needs, and that we are stronger together”.

Yet, on the same day as the Rally for Disability Pride, Disability Network West Michigan will host the DisCover Muskegon Resource Fair at the Downtown Muskegon Holiday Inn. That event is sponsored by Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, a business that pays subminimum wages to approximately 150 individuals with disabilities.

“We’re not interested in hearing about how great subminimum wage jobs are for people with significant disabilities. These businesses are exploiting our community – plain and simple. We’re done with that. A popular saying in the disability community is ‘Nothing about us without us’. The Rally for Disability Pride is for us and by us.”

Alcoa Square is located next to the roundabout at the intersection of Western and Third. The Rally for Disability Pride is free of charge and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP on Facebook.

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