Today, writer David Perry published a blog post linking the Center for Disability Rights (CDR) to “right wing blogger” Emily Munson (pictured right). CDR is linked to Emily, as she is one of our Disability & Politics Bloggers, offering a republican disability perspective in our blog series about the presidential race. As a nonpartisan organization, CDR works very hard to include the disability perspective from both major political parties. Emily offers her conservative views, while Andrew Pulrang offers liberal views, and a few other disabled people have also chimed in with their thoughts in our Disability & Politics blog series. While their views often differ, quite vastly, both Emily & Andrew have lived disability experience, and their voices are equally valued by CDR and should be equally valued by the broader disability community.
Perry’s issue with Emily appears to stem from a blog that Emily wrote two years ago, published by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), wherein Emily calls out the TSA Administrator for having TSA agents touch intimate areas of her body in the name of homeland security. Her blog begins by asking the TSA Administrator “When’s the last time a white, Catholic gal in a wheelchair tried to hijack a plane?” Perry is upset by Emily’s mention of race in this question and stated in his blog that he is opposed to racial profiling.
CDR agrees that racial profiling is unacceptable and, like Perry, CDR opposes racial profiling. However, this blog post written two years ago, and published by an unrelated organization, and has nothing to do with CDR or Emily’s work with us.
In Perry’s short blog, he omitted some facts that we feel are pertinent in order to be fair and balanced. First, Perry describes Emily as “a right-wing blogger for CDRNYS.” Perry forgot to mention that Emily is also a successful Disability Rights attorney at the Indiana Protection and Advocacy agency where she works to enforce and expand the rights of the Disability Community every day.
Perry also failed to mention that CDR does much more than publish “right-wing” blogs. CDR is a strongly intersectional organization that promotes diversity, and we are run by and for people with disabilities. Throughout the presidential race we have incorporated both conservative and liberal bloggers on our site to ensure that we are providing different perspectives by and for the Disability Community in an effort to be non-partisan. Beyond our efforts to get out the disability vote, CDR also provides services to people with disabilities, promotes independence of people with all types of disabilities, and works for national, state, and local systemic change to advance the rights of disabled people. Most recently, CDR played an integral role in the creation of the Disability Integration Act and continues to actively push for its passage in order for disabled individuals to have an absolute right to live in the community and have equal rights, including the freedom to say and do as we please.
It remains unclear why Perry brought CDR into this conversation. Any issues Perry has with Emily’s blog from two years ago should be addressed with Emily directly, or with MDA since that is the organization that published the blog. CDR will not interfere with a person’s first amendment right to freedom of speech, nor will we stifle the voice of a strong, young, disabled woman simply because she happens to be conservative. So, what exactly is Perry’s interest in bringing CDR into the conversation?
This statement was prepared by the Center for Disability Rights. For additional information contact Stephanie Woodward.