Today was Black Lives Matter Vigil in YYC.
I felt that it was important that I spoke as a Black Deaf woman living here in Calgary.
It was even more important for me to acknowledge that there are so many Black people with disabilities who may feel isolated without accessibility during the marches. There are also those who may wish they could come but cannot risk their health because of COVID-19. I asked people who attended Black Lives Matter Vigil to raise their hand to sign, “I love you” to show their support and love. It truly was a beautiful sight to see. I wish I had captured that moment.
That moment was supposed to be for them but it was a moment for me too. To me… they were saying, “We are with you and you are not alone.”
I spoke about the importance of accessibility during Black Lives Matter because I, too, have anger, hurt and fear.
“I’m scared because I was in the march last Wednesday. Many of you here were in that march but I was the only black deaf woman there. I’m the only black deaf woman in Calgary. When we were chanting, I was standing there not knowing the words. I didn’t know what was happening. I could feel my anger. I could feel my grief. I could feel my fear and then an interpreter showed up. Just showed up. That changed everything for me. Then I could feel like my anger was part of the entire room’s anger, the entire group’s anger. I felt like we were all one. If I was feeling scared, I could feel scared with them. That’s accessibility and that matters.”– Ebony R. Gooden (read more on Calgaryherlad)