Speak Up! Advocacy at Work
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Speak Up! Advocacy at Work

I'm a strong proponent of standing up for the Rights of ALL Disabled Individuals, especially in cases when Popular Magazines are printing columns that deal with biased and intolerant view points regarding the Disabled Community and their rights awarded to them in 1990 with the American's with Disability Act when Congress passed this very important piece of legislation.


The above link will take you to the original column piece of December 2012 regarding the question "Should Parking Rules Favor the Handicapped?" This letter is not meant to be zealous, but rather poignant to the discrepancies Disabled individuals face on a day to day basis. 

As an advocate, we are always speaking for the voiceless, we are making our inaction's actionable through our words. Always be kind to one another, but never feel you must be quiet.

January 4, 2013
Dear Mr. Knight Kiplinger:

Hello, I am writing this communique to you in reference to your Column in the Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine, December 2012 issue. Your column reflects your answer of the question from a reader:

“For many years, motorists with a parking tag for the handicapped hanging from their mirror have been allowed to park free all day at any meter in my city. Do you think this is a justifiable freebie?”

Understandably, you have an opinion and you boldly enunciated your point of view, which I respect, because every individual is entitled to their opinion. However, where I am having issues with the circumspect column piece is the brevity of your response that lacks neutrality by saying,

“No, I don’t. I believe that legitimately handicapped drivers are owed a good supply of parking spaces convenient to the entrances of places where they work, shop and enjoy their leisure’s.”

As a Disabled Individual myself and an advocate for the disabled community, I have dealt with my fair share of people gawking at others with limitations, devices, gate issues, walking impediments, etc. Whereby, having articles like this only creates deeper barriers of intolerance for the Disabled Community bridged apart from bias answers and thoughts rather than looking at the deeper issues of why the Cities tend to promote free parking to those individuals. Individuals that are disabled are on some form of assistance, financially, and they do not have the readily available funds due them to pay for parking each and every day.  Their funds are monthly and limited. They have doctor appointments, they have court appointments, they have appointments like everyone else, but what separates a disabled individual from a “normal” individual is the ability of moving freely without pain and limitations, financial security, readily available funds to pay for parking daily, which requires deep pockets each week.

Therefore, cities have come together and given relief to individuals with a disability and a valid handicap placard with free parking. Mind you, DMV gives the driver their handicap placard, which comes with rights and responsibilities. With your placard comes a registration card, which designates that individual as the owner of the car. If that individual should be in another car or has a caregiver, then that placard can move from one car to the next with that registration on the disabled person. Furthermore, the registration from indicates that with the handicap placard that individual is ALLOWED WITH FULL AUTHORITY FROM DMV to park in timed spaces without a time limit. Why is that? Walking is the one issue that is the hardest and slowest for most disabled individuals within this community.Therefore, the NO-TIME LIMIT does help them get to and from their car with help without worrying about the time frame.

Free Parking is a privilege that I gladly take with care and respect from the City when it comes to parking. Individuals that I have come across and worked with through my Foundation have NEVER been abusive with their placards, nor have they given the inclination that their free parking is a bias pass. The help financially with parking is a big burden relieved by the city and much appreciated, as well.

Granted, in the city there is not MANY PARKING SPACES FOR THE DISABLED. For every 25 spaces only 1 disabled space is required under the ADAAG(Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines 4.1.2(5)(a) and (b)).

Therefore, if you have two disabled individuals wanting a parking space, that other individual is out of luck. So, he/she must park further away and endanger himself/herself with walking further and causing further pain. The ADA does cover those issues within the Parking Section, as does the DMV guidelines regarding timed parking zones for those with disabled parking placards.

Moreover, your article lacked any empathy for the disabled community and I began to resent your undertones that we enjoy our leisurely activities, shopping, etc while taking advantage of free parking. You do not show the other side of the argument that I presented above within your column, and I feel that is neither ETHICALLY sound nor good journalism.

Please, Mr. Kiplinger, your article should show two sides of the argument and your lack of empathy for the disabled is disheartening and only leads to more judgments and biases in an already chaotic world. Tolerance on your part with sharing both sides is ethically responsible.

Thank you.

Soul Fighter Foundation

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