People are born different. Different colors and different races. It should not make a difference to how you are treated as a human being.
Despite race gender or sexuality, it is disrespectful that anyone would insult another person for being born different to them.
Those most vulnerable are unable to defend themselves when it comes to disability.
Discrimination has spread further than remarks in the street, in the digital age.
Disabled people have found themselves questioning their existence from online trolls, insulting their appearance, mental and physical abilities.
Natalie Weaver, mom to nine-year-old Sophia, who suffers from Rett disease and advocate for disabled children.
Rett syndrome is a rare, severe neurological disorder that affects mostly girls.
It’s usually discovered in the first two years of life, and a child’s diagnosis with Rett syndrome can feel overwhelming.
This rare neurological disorder that Sophia has occurs mostly in girls and affects the ability to walk, talk, eat and even breathe.
Described as adoring by her mother as a major daddy’s girl who loves to laugh.
In addition, Sophie also has an immune deficiency, type 1 diabetes and an undiagnosed syndrome which causes facial disfigurement.
Natalie has worked on multiple cases helping victims of online bullying and hatred.
She couldn’t believe her eyes the moment she was sent a disgusting tweet, which included an image of her daughter image to promote abortion.
Written by someone using the Twitter handle of @OBSIDIANSMOAK, the downright evil message read
“It is okay to think that every child matters, however, a lot of them do not hence the amnio test which should be a mandatory test and if it proves negative and the woman does not want to abort then all bills accrued after that is on her and the father.”
Natalie blocked the vile Twitter user, but the photo was still, in fact, being circulated.
The Twitter user had the cheek to pin the tweet at the top of their news feed.
She then decided that enough was enough and she reported the tweet to the social media platform encouraging her many of supporters to do the same.
Twitter responded two days later with the claiming that the tweet did not violate any rules.
Eventually, Twitter Support acknowledged their glaring mistake and suspended the person who posted the photo but only after Natalie continued to fight and complain again.
Twitter apologized for their error.
Natalie’s fight against Twitter had only just commenced.
A fellow disability advocate, Julie Ross tweeted Natalie informing her that Twitter does not include hate against people with disabilities within the user complaint form.
Natalie took it upon herself to personally address Twitter’s policy issue.
SHe is now lobbying for them to include ‘disabilities‘ in their violation report.
Natalie discussed the stress of having to fight off the trolls at the same time as looking after her unwell child
“It’s been very difficult….
I’ve had days where I’m just crying. It’s interesting I shared my story with a reporter because I wanted to put pressure on Twitter to have the person who was promoting eugenics and using my daughter’s image, I wanted them to take it down and I never imagined it would go viral like this.
It’s been difficult because this man was using my daughter in a hateful vile way, which has now led to other reporters from right-wing media groups to change the narrative to fit their devices, agenda, they lie which opened me up to more attacks. So a story about hate and attacks on my child has now led to more hate and attacks on my child.”
Twitter, unfortunately, is not Natalie’s only ongoing battle.
Natalie often works alongside legislators, senators and the Department of Health and Human Services as one of the three co-founders of Advocates for Medically Fragile Children NC, in order to ensure they are appropriately educated on the impact and difficulties of having a child with disabilities.
Natalie was sickened when she first learned the news that her country had elected a man who openly mocks disabled people in his presidential campaign.
Natalie knew she needed to act, when the Republicans first unveiled their health care bill to repeal the ACA, aware of the catastrophic effect it could have on her daughter’s health – and millions of others across the country.
Eventually, Trumps bill failed, but a tax reform was put in its place, which is set to increase the deficit by 1.5 trillion dollars.
To decrease the deficit, the GOP is coming for Medicaid (or Medicare), the joint federal and state program that supports the medical costs for some people with limited income and resources.
Medicaid is a crucial lifeline for multiple families with disabled children across America
Considering people are accepted into the optional program based on their disability, not their income.
Many families face putting themselves into medical bankruptcy if not for programmes like Medicaid. Even those with private insurance in the US find it difficult to afford the proper care they need.
Medicaid allows Nathalie and her family a “hospital style” setup, complete with in-home nursing, rather than being in a medical facility it means Sophia can be properly cared for in the comfort of her own home.
Optional set-ups like this are at risk, Natalie believes that reducing Sophia’s services risky if the programme is scrapped
“She’s a more extreme case with all her medical needs, so that’s why I fight. I also fight because, of many attempts to repeal the ACA; the individual mandate, and people with pre-existing conditions wouldn’t be able to afford insurance and ACA provided protection for people with existing conditions.
My child has private insurance through an employer but anybody could lose their job, nobody’s job is guaranteed, so I’m just overall fighting for the protection of people with chronic illness and disabilities and my child in the process.”
It seems things have become more of a struggle for both disabled people and their families living with any disability is always difficult, especially in the age of Trump.
Natalie confessed she noticed a shift in certain people’s attitudes towards her daughter since the 45th POTUS came to office, she believed that people were following by Trump’s example:
“They seem to be a little more bold, people in their attacks towards people with disabilities. They’ve seen the President make fun of someone with a disability, so they say ‘I can do it’, publically attacking my child. I know that the attacks have been there all along before this, but I feel like it has emboldened people to just go after us a little bit more.
Also, there are these outward attacks on my child because she’s disabled. ‘Kill her, put her out of her misery, she’s a waste of life’, those types of things. So you’ve got these loud vile attacks, but these quiet attacks from our administration to those with disabilities and so it just seems like more of an outwardly open expression of what has been quietly going on behind closed doors with our administration.”
Regardless no matter who or where it is from, this unforgivable hate goes with a strong sense of irony.
Anyone could get a disability – which means Natalie is fighting for everyone, including her enemies who claim that her child shouldn’t be allowed to live.
“They’re attacking me and I try not to respond, but sometimes there are just days where you can’t take it anymore and I feel like ‘I’m fighting for you too’. And if something happens to you tomorrow, though you just told me to kill my child, I would fight for you too.
Anything could happen to any one of us and healthcare should be a human right.”
Imagine any of your family was struck down by a drunk driver and left disabled – maybe even paralyzed.
Is this reason to not to live? Does it prevent you from feeling love and compassion?
No. This is why these people need to be silenced, also why Natalie’s story should be heard.
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