Root Cause of Disability Struggles is Ableism

ECNV’s Ford Foundation supported Agents of Change (AoCs) presented the results of their year-long study of disability and interdependence issues. They studied the root causes of disability struggles and addressed their findings and recommendations in three key areas: housing, employment and social empowerment.

AoC’s D’Arcee Neal, Marcos Castillo, Emma Budway, Josh Wilson, and Teresa Champion began discussing issues faced by people with disabilities, then took a deep dive into the key barriers impeding the quality of life for people with disabilities. They identified the root cause as ableism then broke these barriers into clusters representing large ideas like education, housing, social issues, justice involvement, and financial literacy. They splintered down these barriers into smallest pieces to get at the nuanced reasons why disability issues persist in a post-ADA society. These sections were then categorized through influencers and stakeholders in an attempt to consider some key opportunities for change.

The 2022 Agents of Change End-Of-Year Report shares their findings and opportunities for change as well as key resources they used in their year-long study. You can view the Presentation on the ECNV YouTube channel.

AoC, Marcos Castillo also presented the structure for a website that would help disabled employed and job seekers navigate a treacherous employment path. “I challenge people to look at this not from the engineering side, but from the ideas and dreamer side, because we understand that there is a lot of things that we’re possibly brushing over, but the way I explained it to the gentleman who helped me with this is: ‘Don’t think about it from the car builder side. Think about it from the side of the people in the community that are going to be using the roads that we’re building, but weren’t built for the vehicles that they had to access to come to the car builders…You already built all these things. They don’t work for my community but we’ve spoken to our community, and this…would help us navigate your roads.’”