Environmental Justice calls us to ensure the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in the development and implementation of policies that impact their lives. Our friends in the disability community coined a phrase that embodies this ethic: “Nothing About Us Without Us.” We are inspired by the leadership of people with disabilities in our membership, so in July we decided that “Nothing About Us Without Us” would be a great theme for Voices of the People’s History 2017. OPAL’s annual event celebrates diverse movement leaders past and present by sharing historic stories, read by today’s heroes. Members of our community perform readings of speeches and essays, and emphasize that our struggles are a continuation of past struggles – and justice has always had champions. All modern organizers stand on the shoulders of these giants.
Want to feel inspired? Check out the video below of our keynote reading from Voices 2017.
The reader, David Bouchard, is the elected Chair of the Bus Riders Unite Research and Advisory Committee, the committee that produced BRU’s low-income fare equity report. He is currently a student at Portland State University pursuing a Master’s of Urban Planning degree. David has a longstanding interest in transportation equity, as a person who depends on public transit to get him where he needs to go. David is also a passionate advocate for the blind as an active member of the National Federation for the Blind.
The National Federation For the Blind holds an annual convention each year, and at the banquet, the Federation President gives a speech. Kenneth Jernigan, the second President of the Federation, delivered this speech at the July, 1971 banquet in Houston, Texas. Entitled “To Man the Barricades,” this speech embodies the spirit of “Nothing About Us Without Us.”