MADISON, Wis. — The pandemic brought a sense of isolation to many people, especially those with disabilities. But one local organization has been finding ways to work through the loneliness.
Disability Pride Madison has been serving Madison’s disabled community since 2013. For the past year ad a half, members of the group have faced immuno-compromisation, delays in para-transit, and mostly, fear.
Board member Kate Moran says that the beginning of the pandemic was the scariest part, vulnerability at a high and knowledge of what was to come at a low.
“With the pandemic, there’s a whole different level of fear,” said Moran. “We didn’t know how vulnerable we were.”
Faced with these barriers Moran and Disability Pride Madison’s seven other board members were forced to find other ways to connect with one another.
“We had to pivot and decide what else we were going to do,” said Moran.
Enter Zoom meetings. The group began using the platform more regularly and soon found that it could connect them in ways that even in-person discussions couldn’t.
“Things blew up on Zoom,” said Moran. “We’ve been able to connect with all kinds of people with disabilities.”
Taking virtual programming a step further, Disability Pride Madison has introduced a virtual showcase into their repertoire, highlighting Black artists with disabilities.
This is something especially important to members of the organization, sparked by Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Moran noted the National Alliance on Mental Illness statistic that half of the people that police kill are disabled.
“We were all feeling very strongly about the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Moran.
Looking ahead, the group’s Disability Pride Festival is going to look different this year. It’s slated to be more of a DIY gathering, set for July 31 at Tenney Park according to Moran. The feeling of togetherness, though, will still remain.
“The possibilities of getting together and helping each other are really endless.”
COPYRIGHT 2021 BY CHANNEL 3000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.