Chronic Illness, Disability and Civil Rights

I’m anxious. We’re all anxious for many reason these days. It’s election season. In fact, it’s only days away from election results, but by the time you read this article, results will possibly be over and we will possibly have a new government, a new administration in place…Or, maybe not. It’s ok. We will get through this, yet there are issues which will continues to be problematic and issues of which we all need to speak about.

This post is not about partisan issues.  Instead, these are about civil rights issues based on disturbing facts of which we all should be aware of from this point forward.  We need to be cognizant of our rights and what is going on in order to make our voices heard.  We need to make a difference. 

I live in Texas.  My governor is disabled.  He has been living life in a wheelchair for decades, yet it seems his politics have taken over the rights of disabled people – people just like himself. 

Here are the latest concerns I feel so compelled to write about.

One ballot drop off box per county – This is wrong!

Texas is a HUGE state.  People have had to drive for hours to drop off their mail in ballots and that’s not right.  In Harris County alone (Houston area) this affects millions of people from being able to vote as they have been able to do in elections past. For further information refer here:

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/27/texas-voting-elections-mail-in-drop-off/

Attempts to extinguish drive in or curb side voting for those with chronic illness and disabilities.  Attempts to determine the fate of over 125,000 drive-in votes could be cast out – This is wrong!

Early voting in Texas started on October 13th.  I voted on the 14th via curbside voting.  The experience was so helpful and a wonderful option compared to worrying about my ability to stand in line for hours at length.  I was even given the chance to walk with the ballot holder to watch my vote be submitted as it was supposed to be.  I felt comfortable and safe knowing my vote was counted legally and appropriately.  I showed up with my voter registration card, my photo ID and my disability placard.  The polling workers were as kind as could be and I knew I had done the right thing.  Here it is the day before the election and I’m second guessing myself based on the news I see in front of me.  Hence, I AM NERVOUS, yet I must have faith that I did the good thing… The legal thing to do.  I hate the fact I am being questioned for something I have the right to do.  For more information refer here:

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/11/01/texas-drive-thru-votes-harris-county/

Removal of Social Workers from being able to serve the important care needed to the disabled and LGBTQ communities – This is wrong!

If anything, we all need counseling these days.  Mental health is a priority and the climate we’re living in is challenging – To put it mildly.  I’m not going to elaborate on healthcare today, but our mental health is a priority and it’s at stake if we don’t have the recourses available.  This includes our social workers!  Not everyone has the financial luxury to pay for a psychiatrist or therapist these days.  Our social workers serve an important purpose and we need them.  I know I need mine and am lucky mine is affiliated with my MS clinic here in Dallas.   For more information refer here:

https://www.texastribune.org/2020/10/27/texas-social-workes-lgbtq-disabilities-discrimination/

All of these issues are wrong on so many levels.  Again, these are not partisan issues – I’m not declaring these as Republican nor Democrat issues.  These are civil rights issues.

Author: Mary

ABOUT MARY ~ Mary is a patient advocate for MS, chronic illness & disabilities. She is a freelance writer from Texas who enjoys exploring a variety of different styles & genres, however her deep passion for creative writing (poetry, essay, narrative interview & non-fiction) remains unwavering & purposeful. Mary's personal & professional background is an eclectic compilation consisting of the fine arts, civil rights advocacy, fundraising with 15 years in sales/marketing & event planning in the private club industry. Mary is a 1990 graduate from The University of North Texas with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. In 2001, Mary was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Within a few years, health issues forced her to resign from the career she loved. As her marriage began to crumble, Mary was keenly aware of the emotional & mental crisis firmly taking hold. Eventually, she sought the help of a professional therapist which helped her learn the important coping skills needed to tame/calm mood disorders & to encourage healthy ways in which to purge the noisy chaos inside the brain. This loss of reality, normalcy, & PURPOSE needed to be reinvented, renewed & rewritten...NOW! The divorce & all related proceedings lasted an unfathomable six years, yet it was the therapy, communities & her writing which kept her most grounded. Each poem a cathartic purge, each word a therapeutic tool meant for healing & to inspire resilience. Blindsided by this newfound purpose & passion, Mary continues writing & exploring a plethora of multimedia outlets to this day. Her writing, networking & advocacy projects target the MS, chronic illness & disability communities. Her interactive presence can be seen throughout social media. Although MS is the primary community in which she advocates, Mary enjoys playing an active role in other patient communities (bloggers, writers, music, live chats, special events, & many more. One of the key messages Mary continues to emphasize is how chronic illness can affect everyone differently. MS is a prime example in that we are not a "one size fits all." This disease called MS is a conundrum in every which way. To this day, research continues, yet we still don't know the root cause for MS, yet current findings now show "risk factors" for the disease. MS can morph as it sees fit to do so. Unpredictably, silently, sometimes relentlessly this MS becomes an uninvited, unwanted "internal room-mate." Mary's overall background & her desire to discover herself & new creative outlets was a plus. A renewed student for life, Mary continues to explore the unknown - Once you switch off your "auto pilot" it's amazing what you can see & do. Place focus on learning, consume new information & participate in activities uncharted or foreign (The science of Neuroplasticity). All of this is most DEFINITELY a work in progress, but remember to focus most on the important things in life. Laugh out loud & live selflessly with compassion, purpose & unbridled passion. Connect with Mary at: 🔸Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals 🔸Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mary.patriciapettigrew 🔸LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maryppettigrew 🔸Instagram: 🔸https://www.mspals.wordpress.com Acknowledgments and Press ~ UPDATES TO COME * Creator & Co-founder of MSpals: A Global Organization (2014 - present) * Administrator & contributing author of content, posts, & interviews: MSpals blog: https:/:www.mspals.wordpress.com ~ The Summer of Sport: Forward Poetry 2012 ~ Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 ~ Something On Our Minds Vol.III ~ Something On Our Minds Vol IV. Interviews: National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Momentum Magazine" ~ 2013 = Art Therapy & MS ~ 2015 = Connecting Via Social Media Other works also featured on a variety of blogs, websites, videos, as well as other multimedia platforms including: www.pajamadaze.com www.disabled-world.com www.HealthCentral.com www.MyCounterpane.com www.MS&MeRadio/TBI Network iConquerMS/The Accelerated Cure Project WEGO Health - Patient Leader HealtheVoices - Patient Leader MS Focus - Monthly contributor

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