Accessible Clothing

Runway of Dreams is a nonprofit that strives to make fashion available to children with disabilities. Founder, Mindy Scheier, created Runway of Dreams after her son expressed that he felt peer pressure to dress like his friends, but couldn’t due to his Muscular Distrophy and wheelchair use. Scheier has partnered with Tommy Hilfiger and her designs can be found on their website. In the interview with National Public Radio, Scheier explained the success of her clothing line, writing, “ . . . The one incredible thing about the disabled market is that it knows no age and it knows no socio-economic background. So there are really consumers at every level, in every budget that are currently not being tapped into.” I found this article connects with the ongoing goal of accessibility within the various disability movements. Clothing is an area that can be inaccessible to people with and without disabilities, due to physical limitations and cost. Runway of Dreams addresses the physical inaccessibility of clothing, however the cost of their items may limit the amount of people who have access to them. On, the cost of one item of clothing ranges from $19.50 to $39.50. Although prices are relative, the limited amount of accessible clothing means that people with disabilities may pay more for accessible clothes than non-disabled persons. When looking for fashionable clothing lines to compare to Runway of Dreams, I found that Canadian fashion designer Izzy Camilleri created the IZ Collection, an accessible line for people in wheelchairs. IZ offers a range of styles for men and women at a price range from $12.99-$599.00. When looking at both lines of clothing from the perspective of functionality and cost, I think both lines have met the physical aspect of making their clothing physically accessible, however the limited amount of accessible clothing lines may lead to some stores having a monopoly on accessible clothes, driving prices up, and putting clothes out of reach for people who need them.


Police Killings of People with Mental Disabilities

Title: Half of People Killed by Police Have a Disability: Report

Authors: Ari Melber and Marti Hause

Over the past few years, news stations have been covering the shooting deaths of minorities at the hands of police officers. MSNBC has cited a report by the disability organization, Ruderman Family Foundation, which states that almost half of the people killed by the police have a disability. Authors Ari Melber and Marti Hause write, “The report wades directly into the racial debates over policing, noting that while coverage of police brutality cases has understandable ‘focused on race,’ that lens can also obscure how disability also factors into police interactions”.

This news article highlights the issue of overlooking intersecting identities in order to shape a discussion around generalizations of police interactions with people of color. While there is legitimacy in this generalization based on the way minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos, are treated by police, ignoring disability obscures the identity of those who are most affected by police violence. If the media is to do a better job of reporting state violence, it must take intersecting identities into account and engage in dialogue with individuals who are working on behalf of people who experience oppression on the basis of multiple identities.



Disability and the State Questions

Disability and The State

Warmup: Create a map/flowchart/list/etc as a group to organize some of the ways that disability is produced by the state.  (Feel free to use the chalkboard for additional space or have Natalie or Aurora write on board for you)


  1. In the readings, do you see intersections between who is included/excluded in political discussions related to disability and race, class, gender, etc?  Are people with disabilities, people of color, people with various economic classes, or genders included in the political process?  Do you know of any disability or feminist lobbying groups that have successfully pressured politicians to securing rights/resources for them?


  1. In “The Institution Yet to Come”: Analyzing Incarceration Though a Disability Lens, Liat Ben-Moshe describes the similarities between medical institutions and prisons.  Where does the author draw these similarities?  How does Ben-Moshe highlight the differences?  How do prisons produce disability for inmates?


  1. How is the ADA used as a method of exclusion?


  1. “Disabling Attitudes: U.S. Disability Law and the ADA Amendment” talks about how the prevailing societal view of disability impacts court decisions surrounding disability law. How do you see similar patterns of societal views of disability influencing and impacting incarceration/institutionalization of disabled people?  


  1. On page 290 (page 26 of the pdf) in “Critical Theory, Queer Resistance, and the Ends of Capture,” the author discusses the media’s quick judgement to label certain individuals (ex. Sandy Hook Elementary shooter) with a mental illness after they commit acts of violence.  Who gets to claim insanity?  Who gets to claim disability?  Why do people voluntarily attach these identities to people in historically privileged groups after they commit acts of violence?  Can you think of instances other than Sandy Hook in which disability has been applied to shooters?


  1. On page 49 in DSR, the author is critical of Justice Kennedy’s view that “the failure of a State to revise policies now seen as incorrect under a new understanding of proper policy does not always constitute the purposeful and intentional action required to make out a violation of the Equal Protection Clause”.  Should public support for an identity and equality be a prerequisite for Equal Protection?


  1. In “Critical Theory, Queer Resistance, and the Ends of Capture” by Liat Ben-Moshe, the author responds to an ACT UP posters which reads, “All People With AIDS are Innocent”.  In response, the author writes, “While the sentiment of the poster and slogan are both necessary and true, our moment calls on us to argue not only that people with AIDS are innocent but that innocence/guilt or freedom/unfreedom as binary oppositions need to be undone.”  Why is the innocent/guilt binary problematic for movements that relate to health and relationships?  What would be better way of advancing a political cause without the implication of ethics?

Earlier this month, the New York Times published follow up reports on New York City’s failed computer system called the Special Education Student Information System. The $130 million system, replaced paper Individual Education Plans (I.E.P.s), used to entitle students to receive accommodations in schools. The system is reported to have glitches, which include deleting saved student data and it does not provide citywide information about I.E.P., such as the amount of students receiving accommodations. News of the computer glitches gained traction after public advocate Letitia James filed a lawsuit against the city alleging that the computer system was deficient. Without the system, schools may not have access to students’ I.E.Ps and students with disabilities are at risk of not receiving the services that they need.


So far in class, we have discussed how the nondisabled community often does not interact with the disabled community, and how separate classrooms for students in special education programs is one example of this separation. Separation between the disabled and nondisabled community is largely due to inaccessibility on the part of an ableist society as well as able-bodied people avoiding disabled people for fear of appearing overly sympathetic or saying the wrong, which may indicate the lack of interactions between disabled and nondisabled people.  I see this incident of inaccessibility as an example of institutional failures which may lead to a lower quality of education for students with disabilities in comparison to non-disabled students.