Amidst the temperamental rain and wind of Wednesday morning, nearly 2,000 people lined up in Sacramento for the Eighth Annual Disability Capitol Action Day. Marchers walked down L Street to the front lawns of the Capitol building, where they gathered to listen to the motivational words of community leaders and legislators supportive of their cause. The march, organized by The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), is an annual event which aims to mobilize people with disabilities as well as their loved ones to take grassroots initiative in the legislative process by reaching out to their policymakers.
The disabled community has experienced huge setbacks with California’s budget crisis, with only more cuts to come in the latest versions of the budget. Said one community member regarding the demands of the marchers, “We understand it is a difficult time for all Californians, and we are willing to make sacrifices and take our fair share of the cuts. We only ask that we be forced to make these sacrifices in reasonable amounts, no more or less than any other group represented in the budget.”
These demands were echoed throughout the morning in chants of “We’re here, we’re loud, we’re disabled and we’re proud!” and “Tax the oil, tax the booze, save the services we all use!” It was truly a motivational sight to see: hundreds upon hundreds of people gathered from all backgrounds and ethnicities, some English-speaking, some not, some in wheelchairs, others on their feet. As the morning progressed, despite the rain, the sense of solidarity on the Capitol lawn only increased.
The march was a call to action. Once it ended in the early afternoon, marchers went on to meet with or contact their policymakers to tell them about how the budget cuts affect their ability to lead normal lives, go to school, go to work, and be active members of their society. They hope that these appeals will bring about positive legislative changes for the community in these difficult times.
-Reported by Nikita Khetan, Health Access intern