In this video, activist, former congressional campaign staffer, and current Disability Rights New York staff member Zach Borodkin discusses what motivates him as a person with cerebral palsy to be politically active. Zach explains that the exclusion of people with disabilities from conversations about policies that will directly affect their lives leads to disenfranchisement and bad policies.
As Zach puts it: “There are so many issues that can be connected back to disability, whether its economics, healthcare, or education. So many of these issues can be linked back to disability; this is what inspired me to start working with Disability Rights New York and the National Disability Rights Network.” He goes on to explain that: “The one constant that keeps me active is the struggles of the everyday person, and what everyday people are going through just to get the services they need, and in some cases just to stay alive. Because I look at what is going on nationally and locally, and I try to see the positives in everything, but I know that the current situation is no way to run a country or run or a state, or even in some cases run a district. My activism motivates me to try and help those people.”
He explains that the conversation has done little actually to speak to the disability community, and often, politicians talk about people with disabilities in a way that makes them feel smaller. Zach calls on politicians and policymakers to reach out to disability groups and people with disabilities to include them in their conversation. He concludes by urging people with disabilities to fight to make themselves heard, saying: “I think generally think things are moving in a positive direction, but we need to be the ones to further the discussion. We can’t wait.”