Meet Chris Haulmark, Deaf candidate for Congress and Kansas

Disability Action is shining the spotlight on candidates with disabilities running for public office at any level. Recently we interviewed Chris Haulmark, a Deaf candidate running for the US House of Representatives 3rd congressional district seat in Kansas.


Disability Action: Why is it important people with disabilities run for office?

Chris Haulmark: Simple answer: Politicians with non-disabled privilege are hurting rather than empowering disabled Americans.

Long answer: We, the Deaf and disabled people, are intensely aware of our own struggles as underprivileged Americans.  The current status quo is that America has become a society where nearly each Deaf and disabled American is struggling for basic survival in a land of opportunity.  When we Deaf and disabled Americans must continually fight against privilege and artificial obstacles imposed upon us by the privileged elite, how can we be equal?  That’s not to say there are non-disabled Americans whom also lack privileges and face obstacles imposed by the privileged. These people of color, people in poverty, and the uninsured or underinsured are also experiencing the vast inequitable inequalities.  Our inclusive intersectionality in face of institutional oppression is what unifies us against the institutional socioeconomic suffering. Together, we can overcome those obstacles and address this unacceptable status quo.

I believe that when we have more Deaf and disabled leaders speaking together along with other oppressed people, then America will continue to evolve into the much more thriving and more inclusive society it is meant to be.  There always can be policies and practices being re-written and newly-written addressing the equalizing of these privileges as a major component.  America will continue on being one of the greatest progressive countries in the world!

Disability Action: When did you decide to run for Congress?

Chris Haulmark: The decision to run is quite a personal story.  As a matter of fact, friends have always encouraged me to run for a political office because they kept seeing my fighter’s passion to break through obstacles that limit other folks.  When I started with the 2015 Deaf Grassroots Movement, I steered the leadership in a new direction after their successful September 9th rally in Washington, DC.

The national 50-state strategy of tearing down artificial barriers involved motivating the many Deaf grassroots communities across the country to simultaneously hold rallies nine months later in May 2016.  The momentum swept the Deaf community onwards towards bigger ideas. Conversations with many fellow leaders led me to heed their encouragement and advice and throw my hat into the ring for Kansas’s Third Congressional District electoral race.

It is well known that there is a widespread voter discontent with Representative Yoder and his policies and actions, particularly regarding voter suppression obstacles. My team and I researched and developed strategies to maximize my electability and deemed it very positive for Kansas’s Third District.  We formally made the announcement on June 1, 2017, running on our progressive inclusive voter’s rights platform.  The voices of WE, THE PEOPLE, must be heard in Congress.  In a world of alt-facts, and upside-down chaos to create better government, so it takes the irony of a Deaf person to force Congress to listen.  YES! It can be done.  YES! it WILL be done. YES! Together We Can Believe!


Disability Action: What makes you a good candidate?

Chris Haulmark: I am the most underprivileged candidate of Kansas’s entire Third Congressional District electoral race, as I currently seek the Democratic primary nomination.  Due to my lack of privilege, I have fought my entire life against seemingly insurmountable obstacles imposed upon myself and onto others. With this strength, I will be the most fierce fighter leading America to blow apart the unequal inequitable barriers holding us back on its progressive journey. Furthermore, I strongly believe in the use and benefits of an intersectional team.  With identity politics threatening to divide us, my team as well as my own intersectional identities will unify us.  This is why I have a multiculturally inclusive campaign team sharing awareness and their needs: GLBTQ people, persons of color, women, mothers, millennials, and other disenfranchised society members, as well as the Deaf and disabled. I truly do believe that my voice will lead the fight for thousands if not millions to carry my message of tearing down those artificial barriers holding back our great and beautiful country!


Disability Action: Tell us about someone who inspired your run for public office?

Chris Haulmark: Thomas Gallaudet is a revered pioneer for today’s Deaf communities.  I am just one of the millions of Deaf and disabled people whom have benefitted from Dr. Gallaudet’s legacy.  His ultimate goal was to provide the Deaf population the opportunity for better educated and more equal lives.  By founding Gallaudet University, the only university in the world specifically designed for the education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, he opened the door for every single Deaf and Hard of Hearing American to pursue a better life through using our rich visual language- American Sign Language.

Gallaudet University is simply one of the many links in a long chain of America’s accomplishments and progress for the Deaf and disabled.  There were other many accomplished Deaf and disabled leaders in the succeeding generations up to today whose efforts progressively inched towards equality, equity, and social justice for all.  Dr. Gallaudet’s accomplishment does not only inspire me to run for office, I also feel I am responsibility to carry forward his legacy.  Specifically, we must ensure that everyone, including us Deaf and disabled persons, has the fully accessible equitable opportunities to achieve their dreams in America’s constitutional republic.


Disability Action: What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

Chris Haulmark:: When Chris Haulmark is declared as representative of Kansas’s Third Congressional District in November 2018, every single Deaf and disabled person, who have historically been dismissed, ignored, trivialized, or talked over in disempowerment, will instantly be elevated to the table.  Our voices can and will be heard on an equally empowered playing field within Congress.  Congress itself will have another fighter’s voice (pun intended) being expressed and listened to in a new manner for the first time.

We, as the over 30 million Deaf and hard of hearing people of America’s 48.9 million disabled, have suffered for almost 140 years since the 1880 Milan conference.  The resolution of oppression from that darkest time the world Deaf community’s history: the refusal and destruction of sign language in educational settings all across the world.  It was only through America’s centuries rich history of rebellion and resistance that we, the Deaf and disabled people, continue have recognition of our civil rights and identities.  Even today, we still face this major obstacle: to elevate the mandatory state-level LEAD-K sign language education taught to Deaf and disabled children to the national platform.  This issue is especially important for me as a Deaf and disabled American who uses American Sign Language on a daily basis.  The spotlight of a Congressional office will elevate our American Sign Language at the national leadership level.  Winning the Congressional seat, introducing, and generating proactive Deaf and disability accessible legislation will make progress in addressing our institutional oppression through earning the recognition and respect we so deserve.

Chris Haulmark for Kansas and for Congress! www.haulmarkforcongress.com

Disability Action for America’s Statement Condemning the Violence and White Supremacy in Charlottesville

The Disability Action for America team is horrified by the events that have played out in Charlottesville this weekend. We strongly condemn the act of domestic terrorism carried out by white nationalists and white supremacists.

The Neo-Nazis, white nationalist groups, the KKK and white supremacists attempted to instill fear into the lives of marginalized communities and failed. Racism and white supremacy has no place in our world, nor does it have a home within the disability community. We must do better to keep the disability rights movement intersectional and inclusive for ALL – race, gender, sexuality, creed, ability, religion.#BlackLivesMatter

Defend Independence

Senators are going home for Independence Day, and Disability Action for America is getting to work stopping them from taking our independence away.

For hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities nationwide, Medicaid is the only insurer who will provide the medical equipment and Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) that they need to work, live independently, and participate in the community. If the Senate healthcare repeal passes, medicaid funds would be slashed by up to 25%, and these vital services would likely be first on the chopping block. People who today are thriving, contributing members of their communities would be forced into institutions against their will, and some might not survive at all.

That’s why we’ve created a social media campaign highlighting the ways Medicaid preserves and promotes independence, innovation, and service to others. Entitled Defend Independence, our campaign showcases people with disabilities who are creating innovative technologies, promoting independent living, and helping young people with disabilities find employment–all because Medicaid has their backs. It will also highlight the vital importance of Personal Care Attendants, who thanks to Medicaid, can provide for themselves and their families while helping people with disabilities achieve independence.  

Kellyanne Conway says people who lose medicaid coverage should just go out and get jobs, but we know the truth: Medicaid protects and creates employment, and we intend to make sure it continues to. This bill would do more than take away the healthcare of millions of Americans–it would tear innovators and advocates and teachers away from their communities, and hurt everyone who depends on them.

People with disabilities will not allow that to happen. We will call, we will show up, we will protest, and we will demand our Senators #DefendIndependence.

On July 4th, we celebrate our Independence. This year, let’s fight to keep it.

When The Fight for Disability Rights Won The Internet

Last week disability rights advocates took action with ADAPT, a grassroots disability rights advocacy group that uses civil disobidence in the fight for disbility rights. Our co-founder, Colleen Flanagan was there and captured the action on Twitter. She tweeted this:

The internet responded and the image went viral. We were thrilled. But we want to be make sure the use of this picture is appropiate and legal. Please contact us if you want to learn more about the story behind the picture. Also subscribe and stay tuned for a blog post from Colleen that shares more about the story behind the picture.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

To Millions #MyMedicaidMatters

TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES MEDICAID MATTERS!

Medicaid makes it possible for many people with disabilities to live in the community.

Today there is an urgent need to protect Medicaid from total destruction.

Without it many people with disabilities could no longer contribute to the community, maintain employment, or living with independence and dignity.  Do not allow the GOP to destroy  disability rights as well know it with Medicaid block grants and per capita caps. 

Below are stories about why Medicaid matters. Read them. After that take action and amplify these stories on social media to make known why Medicaid matters to disabled Americans and families.

Share these stories on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media you use.

If you have a story about why Medicaid matters to you or your family please email us your story.

Massachusetts

Illinois

Rhode Island

Arizona

Connecticut

Oklahoma

Florida

The Resistance Rolls On

Image of Justin Dart wearing his signature hat. On the image text reads, "Get involved in politics as if your life depends on it because it does." - Justin Dart Disability Rights Movement Icon

Since the first day of Trump’s America, we proved the resistance is accessible. 

Disability Action has rejected Trump’s vicious attack on our constitutional rights, by boldly taking action on social media and in communities across the country. We take action against Trump’s tidal wave of hate because we refuse to allow our freedoms to be washed away.

Let’s look back on disability history to remind ourselves that we have turned our resistance into justice before.  When the disability rights movement was only getting started, disability rights activists resisted against ableism by protesting for accessible transportation, accessible housing, equal access to education, for reasonable accommodations in the workplace, and for access to public buildings. The foundation of the disability rights movement was built on resistance toward institutional bias. Our resistance forced the passage of the Americans with Disabilties Act, the most far-reaching civil rights legislation in our nation’s history before. In the terrifying times of Trump’s America we must be the resistance that produces results, once again, for America’s sake.

We must prove our power add you name to this list to demonstrate our power to resist.

Add your name to join Disability Action in resisting Trump's America


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Welcome to our blog

What is Disability Action for America?

We are a political action committee dedicated to supporting candidates who value disability rights. Enforcement, protection, and expansion of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is very important to our committee, and the candidates we support. Together we fight for disability rights on Capitol Hill as well as communities across the country. 

Disabled Americans experience outrageous discrimination. We can change this by taking action to make America understand disability is something to embrace not hate.  Help Disability Action for America elect politicians who understand the urgency needed in the fight for disability rights .

Together with leaders from across the country, Disability Action for America is destroying the fear and bias that surrounds disability. Join us in achieving economic and social justice for people with disabilities.