Dear society,

Speech written by Jeanette Chedda for women’s march Netherlands 2020 (Netherlands) /// Published: 7 January 2021

Asalaamalaikum beautiful people!

I am going to stand for a little bit because I want to start off to tell you that they made me walk upon this stage because there is no ramp.

It’s a great honour to be here. And I am going to read this piece because my nerves are almost wrecking me.

So here goes.

Dear society,

I am sitting here before you today to prove my humanity to you. Because that is what you have driven me to. I don’t know what else to do.

My name is Chedda, I am a disabled woman of color.

My parents are from Surinam, in the south of America.

I have a mother from Saramacca and I had a father from Paramaribo who died three years ago, may he rest in power.

I have two brothers and one sister. I am the oldest.

I am a daughter and I am a proud sister.

I have two cats, I am a proud cat mother

I have a grandmother, I am a proud granddaughter.

I have cousins, a lot of cousins actually. I am one of the oldest. I am a proud cousin

I have nieces, nephews, a lot of nieces and nephews actually.

I AM a proud phoea, a proud mousi, and a proud aunt.

I have friends, I am a friend

I have a lover, I am a lover

I have one night stands, I am a one night stand

I have sex, I love having sex

I have a job, two paying jobs actually

I am an employee, I earn money and I pay taxes.

I volunteer, I am a volunteer,

I speak on behalf, I am an ambassador

I play wheelchair hockey, I am a wheelchair hockey player and also referee

I am human

Dear society,

 I am sitting here before you today to prove my humanity to you. Because that is what you have driven me to.

I am a proud disabled woman of color,

And still, you dare to diminish me to the way I look different from the “norm”?

I am a proud disabled woman of color,

And so many other things and still you dare to diminish me to the brown color of my skin?

I am a proud disabled woman of color,

And I do so many things. Still, you dare to diminish me to something worthless?

I am a proud disabled woman of color,

And I bring so many things. Still, you dare to diminish me to the “inferior” way I move?

Dear society,

 I am sitting here before you today to prove my humanity to you. Because that is what you have driven me to.

You deny us the right to education

You deny us the right to fitting housing

You deny us the right to a career and accessible workspaces

You deny us the right to an adequate income

You deny us the right to proper medical and mental health care

You deny us the right of independent living

You deny us the right to marry

You deny us the right to love and have babies

You deny us the right to safe transportation

You deny us the right to representation

You deny us the right to safety

You deny us access to public spaces

And you deny us the right to feel human… to be human

What’s next? Denying me the right to be a part of this society?

NO DISABLEDS ALLOWED?!

 Dear society,

 I am sitting here before you today to tell you that I am done with your bullshit ableist, saneist, audiest, toxic behavior against ME, and all people like me.

Whether our disability is visible, invisible, whether we are ill, have mental health issues, mental disabilities and disorders, are deaf or hard of hearing, are blind or with low vision, are neurodiverse, have a bipolar disorder, whether we have limbs or no limbs, we are fat, skinny, black, white, brown and everything in between. We come in all body shapes and sizes, we come with all disabilities, mental health issues, and or chronic illnesses.

Still, we are mothers, daughters, we are granddaughters, we are cousins, nieces, we are aunts, friends, lovers, we are one night stands, we are sexual beings, we are artists, doctors, writers, chefs, we are sex workers, cleaners, waiters, accountants, lawyers, singers,

We are everything you ask for but still not a part of YOU, dear society?

And you are not even questioning why?

Dear society, dear audience, dear women in this crowd, dear people at home,

I am sitting here before you today to prove my humanity to you. Because that is where you have driven me too.

But I am also sitting here before you today to tell you WE are done.

We have the right to education

We have the right to fitting housing

We have the right to a career and accessible workspaces

We have the right to an adequate income

We have the right to proper medical and mental health care

We have the right to independent living

We have the right to marry

We have the right to love and have babies

We have the right to safe transportation

We have the right to be in public spaces

We have the right to safety

We have the right to feel fucking human… to be human

Dear feminists,

Modern feminism doesn’t always include disabled people.

We are excluded most of the time.

That means people like me, are still LEFT out.

Are still excluded from feminist and activist spaces.

Despite our own activism we still have to educate you to not exclude us.

By excluding US you are NOT an intersectional feminist.

If your feminism doesn’t include disability,

It is bullshit.

Disability IS an intersection.

You need to realize that we are represented nowhere.

Not in politics, not in the media, not in advertisement, not in fashion

We are nowhere to be found.

Unless it is something highly inspirational or very very sad to be pitied.

We will no longer be your inspiration, your scapegoat, victim, or token.

That is not human.

In the Netherlands alone we are with more than two million strong.

You cannot ignore us any longer.

For the people in the back. You Cannot Ignore Us Any Longer.

 

Dear disability community in the Netherlands and everywhere else in the world,

I am sitting here before you today to prove our humanity to society. Because that is what it has come to.

For the person struggling to keep their head up, I want you to know that you’re part of something way bigger.

Disability rights are human rights

We are entitled to our disability rights

We are human

We are proud

We are worthy of love

We are rulers

We are fierce

We are passionate

We are strong

We are resilient

We are worthy

We are bright

We beautiful

We are sexual

We are vulnerable

We are enough

We belong

We are here

And we will NOT disappear

Thank you.

One thought on “

  1. Dear Jeanette

    I am proud of you

    I respect you

    I love you

    You are visible

    You belong

    You are here

    And we are human…

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