HomedyslexiaUsing the Internet to Facilitate Change

When it comes to my dyslexia, part of my self care routine is designating three light reading/writing days a week. I learned the hard way that I’ll burn out, otherwise.

A small sample of the amazing #womenslives hash
tag on twitter.

Today was going to be one of those days, until I saw the article, In Turkey, sometimes it takes a hashtag to be heard on PRI’s web page.

What harm can a few hundred extra words do? (Mm, coffee. Must have more coffee. Ew, that coffee’s gone cold. Maybe I can train the cat to warm it up in the microwave.)

The article talks about Özgecan Aslan’s horrifying murder by the driver of the bus she was taking home from work and the outrage it sparked.

Out of that anger came a twitter campaign in which women from all over Turkey shared their stories of gender based violence. Some were too afraid to share their stories without the shield of anonymity, which is understandable, given how violently certain parties react to women’s stories.

Even living in a country like the US, I still fear the reactions I may get when I write about my experiences with harassment, bullying and stalking. Granted, that doesn’t stop me from sharing, but the anxiety still lingers just under the surface.

A lot can be taken away from this article, but in the scope of this blog, my take away is just how important it is to tell our stories. The disability community at large is usually silenced, when it comes to political issues. Even in feminism, it’s usually erased, despite the fact disabled women are far more likely to suffer all kinds of abuse than their able-bodied counterparts.

We must raise our voices in constructive conversation with every chance we get, so why not use the internet to do so?

Of course, activism shouldn’t be restricted only to hash tag campaigns and the like, but there’s no reason why we can’t use those things to get the ball rolling. At its core, the web is an international tool for communication.

What’s at the heart of all change? You got it! Communication.

Social networking sites are an amazing way to converse. Since starting this blog, I’ve been fortunate to meet people all along the autism spectrum, fellow dyslexics at all parts of their personal journeys, a lot of parents, teachers and a huge number of individuals with different neurologies as well as ability levels.

A lot of these folks can’t get out on the streets, but they can express their stories eloquently with the aid of technology.

Speaking of which, the web is also an amazing resource for sharing ideas. This past Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to take part in a twitter chat under the hash tag #AXSChat, in which we talked about accessibility and how to better make the world more inclusive to more types of disability.

Technology professionals took part, as well as Sean from The Codpast and Áine from Dyslexia and Me. There were also a few parents, as well. I know there were other folks, but the conversation moved so quickly that I missed parts of it.

I know that sharing of ideas sparked thoughts in my head, and I hope the ongoing conversation will help movement toward a better, more inclusive world.

As evidenced by the progress the online reaction to Aslan’s brutal murder has prompted and the advances accommodative technology is making, internet conversation makes a huge difference.

That evolution is why it’s such a good idea to share stories and ideas. It’s especially true for anyone who are members of oppressed groups. There are people who will listen, and hopefully become better for it.

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