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Revoke the Awarding of an Author Known for Discrimination Against the Disabled
We are deeply offended and disturbed by author recent remark on social media that “if someone is going to willingly produce a genetically impaired person into the world, the parent shouldn’t expect the rest of us to pay for it.” She asserts that “...it is terribly wrong to invest so much money and energy into people who mostly can’t give anything back...”. Her comments deny the right of persons with disabilities to social welfare, which is recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and, more specifically, the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Furthermore, referring to persons who have Down’s Syndrome, the author mentions in her blog about the “very real problem of further contaminating the human genome, already assault from chemical pollution that reduces sperm count and increases birth defects”. In the same article, she questions whether “life without mental function is human life,” and if “life without capabilities beyond those of a six-month-old is human life,” and concludes that an advanced civilization should seek quality of life, not quantity. Her thoughts and words are not only unethical but deeply offensive and hurtful for families and caretakers of people living with disabilities/ special needs. This petition, signed by more than 13,000 persons at the time this letter is being drafted, is an appeal to Arkansas Historical Association to revoke the Walter Lee Brown Award given to No author who suggests inferiority of the lives of disabled people and denies their right to welfare should be publicly honored in any way. We are certain that the late Walter Lee Brown, who brought scholarship and discipline to the study of Arkansas history, would be disgraced to find his name being used to honor someone who espoused the genetic superiority of certain humans.