Disability Rights History at American Landmark Needs to be Told
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The FDR Memorial is a landmark for the disability rights movement. In 1995, over 50 disability rights organizations, non-profits, and activists launched a battle to add a depiction of FDR in his wheelchair to the larger FDR Memorial that was under construction in Washington, DC at the time.
When the Memorial was dedicated in 1997, FDR's disability was hidden. This changed in 2001 when the disability community prevailed and a statue of FDR seated in a wheelchair was added. Now 20 years later, the Memorial remains an epicenter that embodies the power and pride of the disability community; however, there is no information about the epic fight led by people with disabilities. Our history is missing. And to make matters worse, the Memorial needs accessibility improvements and is in need of major repairs.
The National Park Service is responsible for the Memorial. Its non-profit partners, the Trust for the National Mall and the congressionally chartered National Park Foundation, also play a large role.
We need your help to push them to:
- Tell the National Park Service to use the FDR Endowment Fund for an education program to tell the story about the disability community’s epic and historic fight for representation! (Not a penny from that Fund, which was set up for education and extraordinary repairs, has been used for education.)
- Improve and upgrade the access and inclusion for all visitors.
- Prioritize maintenance and repairs at the Memorial using funds available from the newly signed Great American Outdoors Act.
The mission of the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee (FDR Committee) is to document, share and preserve the leadership and legacy of the disability community’s campaign for disability representation at the FDR Memorial in DC, and to promote education on other underrepresented stories and research about FDR, Eleanor and their times.
The FDR Committee brings together historians, disability and civil rights advocates, artists, academics, leaders in government, business and non-profits, and interested people across the country, and operates under the non-profit status of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), which serves as a fiscal sponsor.
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