Celebrate Disability Pride: Support the SSI Restoration Act

"Nothing About Us Without Us" design. The design itself is prominently teal and lime green on a very dark teal that's almost black. Everything looks as though it could have been drawn with a thick marker. The central design is a teal speech bubble with an uneven white border. A carat points up and right from the upper left corner of the speech bubble, and another carat points down and left from the lower right corner. The lettering is drawn in such a way that the immediate message reads, "Nothing without us." Those words are huge, bold, and white with dark teal outlines that disappear in one-point perspective behind the smaller cursive "about us" that's written in lime green between the lines. There are accent marks (that I often call "jazz hands") on either side of "about us" that help draw attention to the phrase and give it an interesting shape. The handle "@fatgirlmedia" is written in lowercase letters beneath the design within the speech bubble. Surrounding the speech bubble are quite a few illustrated elements representing various disabilities. These elements include, starting from top left and going clockwise around: 2 hands symbolizing interpretation for folks who are hard of hearing, a brain with a lightning bolt as its stem to represent mental health struggles and disabilities, a prescription bottle, an insulin reader, a walker/rollator, a prosthetic arm, a syringe, a cane, a stethoscope, a strand of DNA, a person in a wheelchair, an ear with soundwaves crossed out, an infinity symbol signifying neurodivergence, a pair of sunglasses, a heart with heartbeat radiating from it, a scale, a prosthetic leg, an epipen, and a crutch. There are also capsules and tablets littered throughout the illustrations to add some visual balance. Finally, underneath the speech bubble are the same words, written in Braille. This print also comes with the Braille punched through, for those who request it.

July’s Design of the Month is “Nothing About Us Without Us.” I thought it was a fitting design in celebration of Disability Pride Month. The sale will last from 5am Thursday, July 22 through 11:59pm Saturday, July 24. Get 20% off all products with this design using a coupon code I’ll publish here and on Patreon, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. This design is on 5 products including:

This piece is a labor of love. Its final iteration is thanks in large part to others. I’ve talked and listened to disabled folks who have been involved in activism for far longer than I. Their emotional labor and education greatly shaped the final result. But that will be a separate post, down the road.

Disability awareness and justice is an important topic to me. It ought to be an important topic to us all. But it affects me specifically, because of my multiple disabilities. Participating in this sale is a great way to celebrate and support a disabled artist. I’m just trying to make a difference in my small corner of the world.

July is Disability Pride Month.

Disability pride. What does that mean? Especially in a capitalist society?

It means we defy the idea that our worth can be determined by our usefulness — by our productivity. We acknowledge that all bodies are good bodies. We declare and fight for the rights of all humans to have full access to housing, food, healthcare, and the ability to participate in society. We reject the narrative that disabled bodies and neurodivergent brains are worth less than able bodies and neurotypical brains. We take pride in who we are, as we are, and our inherent value as humans — to ourselves, our peers, our societies, and our governments.

Every single one of us will become disabled. It’s a fact of life, of entropy, of growing old. But disability can also come at any time with no warning. It can be temporary. Or it can last the rest of your life.

And if you live in the United States, where marriage equality isn’t guaranteed for disabled folks, it is absolutely in your best interest to pressure your state representatives to support the SSI Restoration Act.

The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2021.

Among other things, the SSI Restoration Act would remove the marriage penalty and increase income limitations without restrictions. This bill could singlehandedly revolutionize disability in the U.S., but no one’s talking about it, despite the fact that it stands to affect everyone.

Brianna Albers, SMA News Today

The SSI Restoration Act of 2021 would, among other things:

  • key SSI benefits to at least 100% of the federal poverty level and index it to inflation
  • raise the savings and asset limits from $2,000 to $10,000, indexed to inflation
  • raise income limits from both work and other sources
  • eliminate the 1/3 benefit reduction most recipients endure for the “in-kind help” of housing or food
  • eliminate the marriage penalty

These changes — the first update to the program since 1989! — would seriously increase the quality of life of every SSI recipient.

Get involved and get a free 5x7in print.

I’ve not seen this bill get a lot of mainstream attention. It’s possible (probable, even) that this is the first time you’re hearing of it.

As such, please — please take the time to contact your representatives about this bill. If you use Resistbot, you can text “sign PSLOAE“ to send an already drafted letter of support. Make sure you inform the folks in your life about the bill and the life-changing implications it has. Refer them here. Help them contact their representatives, as well.

For incentive and as thanks, I’d like to offer you something.

If you post publicly that you’ve contacted your representatives, include screenshots or other evidence and tag @FatGirlMedia. When you do that, I’ll send you a free 5x7in print of the Nothing About Us Without Us design. Just DM me on social media with the link to your post, or email me at dani@fatgirlmedia.com. Specify whether you’d like the Braille imprinting, as well.

This offer will last until the bill has been voted on.

We can make a difference, together. Disability isn’t a nebulous topic somewhere out there. Everyone is going to be disabled at some point in their lives. Let’s do our part to take care of ourselves and each other.

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