My hope was that my last post would start a wider-ranging conversation in the UU blogosphere. And while a few blogs did comment, I want the conversation to keep going.
In my last post, I took issue with those taking issue with the use of the word “standing” in the new campaign. This post, however, will take issue with the word love.
Don’t panic. I’m not against love.
I am against love in the place of action. And while some UU congregations have made real progress in terms of accessibility issues, too many think that love of the individual is enough. It is not.
So I’m going to reprint part of Mary’s letter and ask the question, what is YOUR congregation doing in terms of making its building(s) and programs as accessible as possible? Is there any action in the love you have?
As a physical/human being no careful word-smithing or good intentions are an adequate substitute for a useable toilet or shower – especially when accommodations for many people’s needs are readily available or fixable. The word “standing” on a banner does not have the same power to exclude and harm me personally as compared with event organizers knowingly choosing a non-accessible site for a meeting or retreat I was hoping to attend. For example for the second year in a row the New England branch of the Retired UU Ministers (UURMaPA) is holding their retreat at a facility with no wheelchair accessible rooms even though the last time I stayed there I had to pee in a coffee mug, even though I reported this problem to the coordinators, even though they asked for a year to address it and then didn’t, even though there is a fully accessible retreat center nearby in NH- which means I am excluded again although I’m a retired UU minister living in New England. The fact of this and then the process of trying to remedy it really hurt my feelings and made me super mad. But at the end of the day I don’t want to drag this kind of heavy thing around with me or have this sort of humiliation and offensiveness taking up space in my life. Which is why I have resigned from the organization and asked that my name be taken off their list. Time to move on.