Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: Abled-Bodied Leftists Cannot Abandon Disabled Solidarity to “Move On” From COVID

Washington DC, USA- September 19th: Protestors lay down outside the White House to call attention to those suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and âlong Covid❠on September 19th, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Truthout | October 1, 2022

I have this book coming out. It’s about the disabled future, about how most of the world will be disabled soon, and how disabled people kept each other and other people alive during COVID. I have tour dates. They’re all online. Because COVID. Because COVID is still here. Because every week, 90 percent of the country is in high or substantial uncontrolled community transmission — the whole country is blood red on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) map. Because 400-500 people a day are still dying of COVID in the U.S., and long COVID is the third-most common neurological disorder. For all of these reasons, having in-person events would feel like inviting my disabled fan base to a slaughterhouse. I have every booster that exists, and I’m still immunocompromised and not hopping on 19 planes in a row.

Yet every time I post, people — radical people, “movement” people — say, “Oh see you in L.A./Atlanta/Chicago!” And I have to say, “All events are virtual. Remember that? Virtual events? The accessible kind, with CART (real time captioning, making events accessible to people with a variety of disabilities and neurodivergence) and American Sign Language (ASL)? How did you forget so quickly?”

I’ve started calling the time we live in “The Great Forgetting.” Some call it “The Great Gaslighting.” Both are true.

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