The Disproportionate Impact of Hurricane Katrina on People with Disabilities
Links to Fileshttp://blogs.goucher.edu/verge/the-disproportionate-impact-of-hurricane-katrina-on-people-with-disabilities/
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This paper explores the devastating impact Hurricane Katrina had on people with disabilities and the contexts that created enormous obstacles to accessing information, transportation, shelter, and care throughout the storm. Insufficient infrastructure and planning resulted in a blatant disregard for human life and well-being. Many people with visible disabilities were refused entry to shelters, in clear violation of anti-discrimination laws, and many nursing home residents were abandoned to drown in their beds. As shocking as these abuses are, they have been under-publicized and are rarely discussed in the academic community. This disregard of people with disabilities is not unusual. Even proponents of the Environmental Justice Movement, which generally strives to include marginalized groups in discussions of environmental burdens and benefits, have overwhelmingly failed to acknowledge the many ways disability can impact a person’s relationship to their environment. I was inspired to write this paper after working for the Disability History Museum, an online collection of materials on the experience of people with disabilities. There, I learned about the long and horrifying history of discrimination against people with disabilities in the United States. With this paper, I hope to encourage a dialogue surrounding the role ableness plays in determining a person’s relationship to their environment.