by Staff Writer
1)From James Tracy The reaction to Leroy's criticism (of the Democratic Convention) illustrates why the Democratic Party
is in the trouble it is in. Let's face it, the Dems have had a choice for
a longtime. They could have re-alinged themselves awhile ago to speak to
the issues of the mass yet they have chosen to rely on our fear of
Republicans to keep the folks docile and on the receiving end of the Donkey's ass.
But guess what? It will take a long time, but eventually people will
move beyond fear and build real political alternatives. During this time,
voices like Leroy's will be valued and considered, instead of marginalized.
2) From Keith Jones
I received your forward and I must say that as a disability rights
advocate and a progressive, i am surprised at the response you
received. The Democratic National Convention here in Boston had very
few specific disability related events other than the caucus and an ADA
celebration across town virtually at the same time as its caucus. As an
African American with a disability, I was not overly impressed with the
lack of minority representation within the disability leadership of the
DNC, nor the lack of disability representation at any of the other
I have worked as an activist related to disability and civil rights
issues both locally and nationally and there is a clear disconnect
between the Independent Living Movement and communities of color. For
anyone to assume that people of color with disabilities have been fully
engaged in issues such as: Olmstead, MiCASA, HAVA or any other topic;
that is simply not the case. I can assure you that in working to
ensure access to basic rights for people with disabilities, neither
party has disability issues as a high priority. REMBER it was a
republican who signed the ADA into law and it is a current republican
president who has offered close to $300 million in grants for community
access via "The Freedom Initiative"
So, regardless of party affiliation we need to keep focused on the real
issues. Unemployment for people with disabilities - roughly 65 - 85%
add a gender, ethnicity, or low level of education add an additional 7
to 10 percentage points. Keep yelling in the hurricane, there are
those of us who hear you.
Keith P. Jones
3) From Marvin Wasserman
I'm sorry, but this listserv is for those who support the Democratic
Party. It is not a platform for those who oppose it.
We are also a forum for disability activists. Although you are
disabled, you don't speak about the oppression of persons with
disabilities. You don't even relate the oppression of persons with
disabilities to the other struggles you espouse. It is significant
that in your listing of the convention speakers who most spoke to
you, you didn't list Marca Bristo, who gave the strongest disability
rights message among the speakers.
There are many other African-American disabled activists who would
have had far greater appreciation for the opportunity you were given
to attend the Democratic National Convention as delegates.
Unfortunately, you aren't relating to them!
4) From Joe
I certainly understand why people are upset. As I said folks really need to pay their dues in an organization. And if some get an opportunity short of that than they have a responsibility to at very least report accurately what happens and to lobby and be knowledgable of the wants and needs of those who have been active over the years.
I am a bit conflicted though not at you or others on this list...
I am concerned that elements of the Party overall take those with
disabilities for granted.
And I can honestly say that many Party members here in Michigan still
discriminate against PWD.
That goes to Democratic clerks who select inaccessible polling places and do
not have accessible voting systems. Thus they violate the ADA and 504.
This may sound like a digression but I have filed ADA complaints against
My Republican Secretary of State and my local Democratic Township Clerk.
Our civil rights in this society begin with the franchise.
When I see entire state's that don't have one single fully ADA compliant
polling place like New Hampshire (re: state survey) or one accessible voting
device like here in Michigan I am outraged.
Now getting back to the topic...Smile...I'm wondering if delegates like
Leroy even brought this sort of "Jim Crowetization" of PWD up at convention?
He talked about the plight of the homeless and indeed much if not most if
not all of our nation's chronically homeless people are disabled.
But did he bring up the fact that many if not most of our homeless shelters
in America are not accessible in whole or part to PWD with severe physical
Did he even mention the gross attack upon all of our civil rights under the
sovereign immunity banner?
Did he even mention the hundred of thousands of our brothers and sisters who are incarcarated against there wishes and often without due process in
institutions and nursing homes around America?
Did he encourage people of color to see how our civil rights struggle
coincides with theirs in so many ways that an alliance would be surely
productive and that sensitivity is in order?
For example Al Sharpton rightfully mentioned several times the assault upon
civil rights by Bush....
The civil rights of African-Americans, gays, women, Hispanics, etc.
But I never heard a mention of the 53 million Americans with disibilities.
Now even when election reforms come into play our rights are second if
included at all in reform schemas like HAVA; And many of us had to fight
like hell for the provisions in HAVA for PWD.
These are things that the Party needs to be attentive to. And the role of
disabled Democrats was to bring attention to these issues and more.
So regardless as to the inequities in the nomination of these two the real
question here is: "Did they do their job?"
By the looks of things they did not.
Regards and Solidarity,
5) From Francie to Joe (and Leroy)
What bothers most of us from California is that Disability Caucus
members were deliberately ignored and passed up. We were told to tell our
people to learn how to run for delegates positions by August Longo. When the ones who had, were ignored only to have the ones who had not (August and Leroy) were picked as delegates and sent to the convention. Then August does not do reports and the reports Leroy does do talks about the need for a third party, and puts down the democratic party. Does not speaks about disability issues, and speaks about someone who attended for the purpose to speak about the needs of minority issue more. Had Leroy ever worked with the Disabilities committee members and community within the party he would have found that many of the issues he is concerned about are being talked about, are being worked on, and many many more issues. It is to bad that people are sent to meeting who do not really know what is going on in their own state, never mind their own back yard.
And for some one to complain so much, they should do their homework first.
Take a look at some of Leroy's reports
6) From Mr. Toy
I actually thought it was a fairly reasonable response, considering some of
Leroy's reports from Boston, but I got this from a friend of his, which I
haven't replied to. I'm not sure I want to get into a pissing match, but I
think this is worth sharing. I like this person's anger and I certainly
appreciate his defense of his friend. He also writes very well. Some of his
(and Leroy's) points about the need for change in the Democratic Party are
absolutely on point. I think we can all agree with that, and many of us
have worked to achieve some of those needed reforms.
But my irritation with both of their approaches is that Leroy went as a
Democratic delegate from California. There were many in this state who
tried very hard to be representatives of the Democratic disability
community, who had a lot of serious and specific platform points regarding
disability that they wanted to advocate for in the DEMOCRATIC party. (Have I said Democratic - as opposed to "independent" as Leroy refers to himself - enough times?) They weren't invited. I don't know why and at this point, it is moot. But the process needs to be revisited before the next
convention, for sure.
And Leroy asked us all for our financial and other support of his trip to
represent us. I think he may have squandered that opportunity and so many
of us felt let down, by the system that denied hardworking party members a
chance to represent us in general and by Leroy's caustic missives in
Maybe some of you out there would like to join this discussion. I feel as
though I've made my point to Leroy. I applaud his friend for his vigorous
response, but I don't really feel like putting more energy into this aspect
of the election. I still recommend Leroy's poetry to those of you who don't
know his other writing. But I still don't think he served us very well, or
even fully realized his role as our community's only representative to the
Democratic convention from California.
Here is his friend Ali's letter to me:
Dear Mr. Toy,
I am a disabled activist and a long time friend of Leroy Moore. I, too, read
all his reports from the Democratic Convention. He allowed me to read the
e-mail you sent him, and it angered me, so I am writing in his defense.
How dare you be so patronizing to my friend?!
For example, what makes you think Leroy has not read the Constitution? What makes you think he is not going to vote for Kerry? You ask him to take some time to understand why Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich are Democrats. I think he gets it, and as I recall, he spoke highly of them. All Leroy is trying to do is take U.S. politics and the Democratic Convention to an even higher, more progressive level, one that takes more direction from the grassroots, one that has more transparency and integrity and one that
doesn't pander to the center to try to get votes. You may not agree with his
politics or his confrontational style, but give the man some credit for
having done his research and arrived at his views in a balanced and
I have been friends with Leroy for the past eight years, and I know he has
read books that you probably never dreamed existed. He has done incredible
research on people of color with disabilities world-wide and enlightened me
and many others on various disability issues. He is not an "embittered
side-liner," but a very energetic and dedicated grassroots activist who is
quite involved locally.
Every time I talk to Leroy, he is going or coming from some meeting or
other; he sits on several boards and committees, and I cannot walk a block
with Leroy on the Berkeley streets without him running into a fellow
activist. Leroy is very skilled at examining the connections between racial
oppression and able-ism and their combined effect on disabled people of
color. He has researched and spoken up about many instances of police
brutality against disabled people of color, and he has advocated for housing
rights and social services reforms. His work always exposes society's lack
of understanding and prejudice against all disabled people. He is also
involved nationally and internationally with activists doing similar work in
their own localities.
In the context of main-stream American politics such as the Democratic
Convention, he may seem like an outsider, but that is only because he is
much more radical than most people who attended. Just like you, Leroy has
been fighting for disability rights - his own rights - all his life. His
views stem from his direct life experience and his extensive research, and
they are not arrived at casually. Leroy is in no way a political novice.
He could have expressed the reasons for his views more clearly, but I can
assure you that his views are well-researched and well-considered.
Please understand, I am not criticizing you for simply disagreeing with
Leroy; you have the right to your opinion. I AM criticizing you for your
patronizing assumption that Leroy doesn't know what he is talking about.
Leroy is now working on a news article on his experience at the Democratic
Convention, and I hope you will ask him for a copy and consider what he
If you do choose to write him again, I hope you will write him from the
point of view of an equal and sincerely ask him how he arrived at his
opinions and what he suggests disability rights activists should do from
here. Have a REAL debate with him instead of assuming his point of view
comes from ignorance. He might be able to teach you a thing or two, and if
nothing else, debating with him will help you back your ideas up with facts
and logical assertions instead of assuming that you automatically
win the argument because you know more.
Personally, I plan to vote for Kerry because I understand that Bush is a
threat to the civil rights of everyone in this country and to people's basic
human rights world-wide.
However, I agree with Leroy that we must constantly question our leaders,
call them accountable, and expect more of them. I would actually like to see
Kucinich in office because he has a lot more integrity and responsiveness to
his constituency than Kerry, but I'm willing to vote for Kerry to get Bush
out. I don't think Kerry is all bad, he's infinitely better than Bush on
many counts, but I do think he'll need to be closely monitored and pressured
by activists to institue truly equitable economic policies (domestically and
internationally) and truly sound and fair international policies. I believe
Leroy feels similarly. I don't think he is saying "don't vote for Kerry."
I think he is expressing frustration and lament that there is not as much
difference between Democrats and Republicans as there should be and that
there is not more of a choice of Democratic candidates who stand a chance of defeating Bush in this conservative political climate. I agree with him
completely. I think all disabled activists - regardless of race or class -
have more to gain by working with Leroy Moore than denouncing him or feeling threatened by him.
Again, I hope you will consider these points and some day enter in to a
conversation of equals with Leroy. To my mind he has a unique and refreshing point of view, and through his research, he constantly forces me to question my assumptions.
I hope this letter finds you well, and I hope you enjoy your semester. I
also whole-heartedly hope that Kerry wins the election because I do agree
with you that we cannot take another for years of Bush or his cronies.
7) From Alan
Well, I'd like to give Leroy the benefit of the doubt and not dis him for being idealistic. This was a learning experience for him too and he's made a lot of new friends who will help him understand a practical approach to politics is often far more effective in the long run than a purely dogmatic one.
The really sad people are the ones who still, after all we've seen as a
nation, will vote for George junior no matter what.
8)Francie Moeller wrote:
Alan, Leroy and All,
As I read Leroy's reports my first response was to write to the party and
say this is what happens when we do not send Caucus members. I was still
angry about the Caucus being ignored and dismissed in the process.
However, As it turned out for me at least I had a ring side seat with
c-span, and my doctor grounded me anyway. And Maybe having Leroy write the articles he did write, helped me to understand that no matter what, we must fight on, as hard as we can. We must change those who are in control of Washington D.C.
We can not for any reason allow Bush and his regime to stay in control or we all will lose more than anyone of us can imagine. We have only seen the
beginning of the damage this man and his friends can inflict. And the sad
part is that there are far to many people like Leroy out there who still can not see the difference.
So as Al says we ride the Donkey and we fight on...........Yes we did see
disabled spoken about, no it was not in prime time, and no we did not see
disabled all through the audience. Infact the only time I saw disable was
when Stem Cell Research Finished CNN spanned the audience and found 3 people in wheel chairs and when Max spoke. Other then that I did not see one person with a walker, crutches, a Signer nothing. I know Marva spoke,
however I missed the speech. And I wish At least one of the speakers would have mentioned disabled but I guess we did better than we have done in the past.
We are going ahead with the formation of the national Disabilities Caucus,
and yes I still need help and a new membership chair, and yes I am still
going to have surgery for my nerve damage and they have also found out that I have two herniated disc's that they will try and take care of at the same
time. The next Caucus meeting will be in Oakland Sept. 10 and 11th
Disabilities Caucus will meet Friday the 10th at 6p.m. Hilton Oakland
Airport. The call will be sent out in two weeks.
More to come. Francie
9) From Marvin Wasserman July 30, 2004
I just returned from the convention and had what amounted to the experience of a lifetime. I also had the chance to meet and talk to Leroy.
Yes, there is some degree of partying that went on at the convention. Yet I
am tired, but not from the partying. We fought hard for the past four years
so that people with disables like Leroy would have the opportunity to be
representing greater diversity in the party. I was pleased that so many people with disabilities cared enough to attend, both as delegates and visitors. It was empowering to meet and talk with them. I met the county Democratic Chair from Nebraska, a former Congresswoman from Florida, and Councilmember from New York City, all wheelchair users, who proudly put on our Kerry disability pin. I met my old friend from college, whom I haven't seen in 35 years, who, as a result of my contact with him at the convention, will do outreach for Kerry to other parents of children with disabilities (his son has a spinal cord injury). I had the rare opportunity to talk with many of my local elected officials about the 504 Democratic Club and disability issues.
It was thrilling to see Marca Bristo deliver her address on the anniversary
of the signing of A.D.A. It was thrilling that the highest ranking disabled
elected official in New York State, David Paterson, Senate Democratic Leader (who is also African-American), had the opportunity to address the convention. It was thrilling to hear and see former Senator Max Cleland introduce John Kerry on the final evening. It was thrilling to be at the convention with the four Executive Committee members of the 504 Democratic Club, all wheelchair users, who were part of the New York Delegation.
People with disabilities have far to much at stake in this year's election.
Read Senator Kerry's disability platform. As President, he will not appoint
judges to lifetime appointments who will destroy the A.D.A. He will
substantially increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities on the federal payroll. With a Democratic Congress, he would strengthen the A.D.A. and I.D.E.A.
We still have a long way to go to increase our representation within the
Party. We need to get pollsters to no only include persons with disabilities in their polling, but to measure their attitudes as they do African-Americans, Hispanics, women and other significant groups. They need to target people with disabilities for voter registration and GO-TV. The candidates need to reach out to people with disabilities as they do other groups, particularly in the targeted states.
I agree with Alan Toy that Leroy is far too young to be so cynical. I, too,
have been involved in disability issues over Leroy's entire lifetime. There
is far greater diversity in the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. We
can make a difference in this year's election and we will!
10) from Alan Toy
July 30, 2004 Leroy,
I'm glad you had a chance to attend the convention. I know who you are and
have your poetry book, which I enjoyed and have shared with others. I
believe there is and should always be a place for your voice at the table
of discourse over politics and other issues facing us all.
But I am not sure you did us or yourself justice in your reports back from
Boston. Perhaps you misunderstood that you went representing us all as a
Democrat to a Democratic convention. If you are and were attending as an
"Independent" then you essentially denied someone who identifies as a
Democrat the chance of a lifetime.
As for John Kerry's plan, I hope you were in attendance last evening when he accepted the nomination. He laid out some of his vision to us all. I
wish I too could have been in the Fleet Center to experience the moment. Is
he the answer to all of our historical issues of discrimination and
neglect? No, of course not. No candidate for president could be that and
have any chance of getting elected. But there is a HUGE difference in the
Democratic party's plan for America and the Republicans'. And we MUST
reelect a Democrat this year. The Supreme Court and our very Constitution
with its Bill of Rights hangs in the balance.
You ask, "Do we need a President?" You should be asking, can we survive
under a regime that is looking more and more like a dictatorship intent
upon becoming the bully of the world?
Please take some time to read our Constitution. It is the only thing that
keeps us from a chaotic spiral towards totalitarianism. The desire to
protect and preserve that precious document in letter and in spirit is what
united the diversity of "African American, Latinos, Gays & Lesbians, movie
stars, the disabled and others" that you mentioned. Let me include Jews,
Arab Americans, Catholics, Sikhs, Latinos, Native Americans, families of
men and women in the armed services, and a slew of others to your mix. We ALL fear the consequences of another Bush administration.
We have a lot of work to do ahead of us. And you are far too young to be
so cynical. It is the easy way out, to be a critic. I challenge you to be
better than that. I have been struggling for disability rights for
probably your whole lifetime, but I'm still hopeful, and still very
committed . And as tarnished as it has been, like Reverend Sharpton, I'm
still riding that old Democratic mule. Why? Because it is our last best
chance to save our nation from its baser tendencies. And because, as Al
said, it is under Democrats that we have accomplished many of those
revolutionary reforms that have made our nation better and stronger.
Yes, even Democrats succumb to those base tendencies. Last night, for
example, was far too jingoistic and militaristic for my liking. But if we
don't grab that tendency from the Republicans, they'll do it their way,
which scares the hell out of me. There are very deep reasons why the folks
you admire, like Obama, like Al, like Maxine and like Dennis are
Democrats. Please take some time to understand why for yourself.
Leroy, I look forward to meeting you someday. I hope it is as an active
and engaged social change agent, not as an embittered sideliner, taking
cheap shots at your friends, which by the way DOES help our enemies..
And don't forget to vote.
11) From Bird
July 30, 2004 Yo, Leroy!
While I agree entirely that from the standpoint of popular opinion the political scene looks like a cultural wasteland, when we dig a little deeper though, we find the compelling Human Drama. In truth, it isn't that choices do not exist. A more compelling and difficult question remains: How are choices made? What are the underlying axiomatic assumptions?
Many world leaders are now engaged in a Dialogue of Civilations.
We should take heart in this!
In these challenging times, we find the culmination of a number of socialogical phenomena.
The paradigms are comin' home to roost! Upon examination of the very criteria by which choices are made, we immediately transcend popular opinion. We walk in the footsteps of great thinkers throughout history. Upon adoption and practice of this method, born to Socrates with Egypt as midwife, we can say that we are on the road to making original discoveries of universal principles
The Schiller Institute, named for great poet and philosopher Freidrich Schiller, is dedicated to the creation of true political freedom.
Economist Lyndon LaRouche has run in every Presidential race since 1976, yet many have never heard of him. The Blacklist lives! In this day and age! Who'da think it!!
Nary a day goes by without some intervention from Lyn LaRouche on behalf of what FDR called "the forgotten man".
I am honored to have Lyn and Helga LaRouche as teachers and coleauges. They have dedicated their lives to creating a Global Rennaisance the likes of which has never been seen. We should take moments of reflection. We may have lost the body of the great Willaim Warfield: and we may no more experience in person the virtuosity of Sylvia Olden Lee, but they indeed live on. The Euphoric "Eureka!" to which they treated us over and over again, etches them in the firmament of history.
So, choices do indeed exist, my friend. We must be brave enough to take the"road less travelled", to coin a kinda corny phrase. The media has not been our friend in this quest for broader horizons. I find my senses bombarded.
Thank goodness for you, Leroy, and others like you: ready to shake things up a bit! Let us begin the adulthood of the Human race.
Let's have some fun!
(12) From unknown:
July 28 , 2004 Hello,
I live in Boston and am a member of my neighborhood civic engagement
committee. I decided that I would like to see what goes on at a Caucus
meeting. As a result, I took two hours off work and went to the DNC
Disability Caucus meeting. I had a chance to introduce myself to Leroy
Moore and asked him if I could follow his lead and send you a brief message.
Even before this meeting began, I had a curious experience. I arrived early
and was told that the Asian-Pacific islander Caucus was meeting. I asked if
I could go in to the room and sit and listen. I do not know if this is
policy or just the response of one person, however, I was strongly
encouraged to find a seat outside and to wait for the disability Caucus
meeting. Surprised and a little disappointed, I pulled out some reading
material and waited.
I love politics and was looking forward to being at the Disability Caucus.
I have never attended another convention and perhaps my expectations were
out of line. I thought the Caucus was a forum in which delegates and others
would have the opportunity to voice their concerns and issues and to ensure
that these are heard by the Party. I also thought it was the forum in which
the Party would share its position. I thought the Caucus was the forum in
which the Party would inspire its supporters by giving us information, which
we can use to motivate others.
Today I learned that a Caucus meeting does not necessarily do any of these
things. We had a chance to hear from politicians and movie stars who all
encouraged us to get out the vote. They all talked about the importance and
need to elect Kerry and Edwards.
Because I am not a delegate, I may have missed some materials, which were
distributed earlier during the week. However, I wish this time had been
spent telling me specifically what Kerry and Edwards will do for people with disabilities. The good thing is I am now even more committed to reading the entire Platform Document. Watching the Convention, I am energized and inspired by the speeches. but, I still want to know that all this talk of inclusion really does extend to me a Black woman with a disability.
13) From Kim July 25, 2004
I'm on the BlackDisabled mailing list, but I haven't figured how to add information. Just want you to know that we (that can't reply) are listening to you and look forward to your reports. I'll also look out for you on the floor when they show the California Delegation on CSPAN and all the other channels as well, to be honest :-)
Thanks for the representation.
Kim from Richmond, VA. Black, female, disabled wheelchair user since 1