Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

Bette McMuldren

Audio transcript: On coalition building among different disability groups
Date: October 8, 1998
Interviewer: Sharon Bonney

Note: Transcripts have been lightly edited; therefore there may be slight discrepancies with audio clips.

Was coalition building—was it political?

Oh, yes. I think that's what I'm saying about these different factions and different disability groups and this fear that somehow they were going to lose something by joining together. I think that the sense of the blind groups was that they had gotten more than anybody else. They had had more success in their political efforts, and so it was kind of like they didn't need us [chuckling]. But, yes, I think it was definitely political.

Then there was the thing of Judy being the spokesperson for disability groups. I think that got taken to crazy extremes sometimes, of having to have all these—everything had to demonstrate that it was really a coalition, there had to be a deaf person, there had to be a blind person, there had to be a person in a wheelchair [chuckling]. You know, every group had to be represented.

I remember even then—and I know independent living programs are still struggling with this now—we were trying to include people who had developmental disabilities, and we were trying to figure out how to do that. You know, certainly there were people who had cerebral palsy. There were a lot of people who had cerebral palsy. People with mental retardation never really got incorporated. But there was always talk about how to build coalitions and how were we going to make that happen.

End of transcript

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