New York City is loved for its fast-paced life, with its busy streets, theaters, restaurants, museums, and workplaces. One of the most exciting places in the world, it can also be the loneliest and most challenging.
Of the 8.4 million inhabitants in this great city, it is estimated that nearly 900,000 people live with disabilities. Lack of accessible transportation and affordable housing, unequal education, and unemployment are only some of the common issues people with disabilities face. These individuals often go neglected and are left with no means of connecting with people in their community or making friends.
Where power, beauty, talent, intellect, and money are valued, those who cannot readily provide them go overlooked. In fact, the exclusiveness in sorting what and who is on top – and what our relationship is to them – pushes attention away from marginalized people.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “In our society, we consider the upward move the obvious one while treating the poor cases who cannot keep up as sad misfits, people who have deviated from the normal line of progress.”
Consequentially, People with disabilities are often ignored and left with no natural way of connecting with people living in everyday community life. While this may seem insignificant at first glance, it is a serious problem.
People with disabilities are often
Decreased in social status
Moved involuntarily and separated from others
Excluded from commonplace socializing
Denied personal agency over their lives
Exposed to abuse and neglect