Noah's Activity Report in U.S.!
Thank you for your support of our crowdfunding efforts in 2018.
Noah was able to start studying in the United States safely.
So, what is he learning in U.S. after he left from the CIL Muchu? Are you wondering about it so much, aren’t you?
Noah will tell his life and activity in U.S.（Sorry, but it's not his English. Japanese version is originally written by him!）
Noah's Activity Report！
This is Noah!
It's been a while!
It's been a year and a half in Chicago since I took off from Kansai International Airport on August 19, 2018!
I am currently a fourth year college student at Illinois State Chicago, majoring in Disability Studies.
What is Disability Studies? And what is "disability"? It is a rethinking of what it means from a social and cultural perspective.
Basically, how can we move away from the medical model of disability, which is the model of disability that has been thought of up until now (disability is an individual problem that needs to be treated medically and is only subject to doctors and rehabilitation), to the social model (disability is in the side of society and oppresses the individual by making it hard to live. That's what disability is!) What should we do to make society aware of this and make it "a society that is easy for everyone to live in"?
I'm learning that...
Through my studies, I am also learning about the most advanced disability studies model, the empowerment model (when people with disabilities are empowered, society is also empowered).
I've written a lot of hard stuff, but to put it simply....
I'm learning how to change negative "disability" ideas and free people with disabilities from oppression and discrimination!
And one more thing!
I'm studying as a tester at Access Living.
In accordance with the ADA (Disability Discrimination Act), I act as a hidden detective and pair up with an able-bodied person and write a report by calling the real estate agent and asking staff to show me a property with the same conditions (price, number of rooms, location).
Then, if there is a difference between the report and that of the able-bodied person, we send a different pair of people with disabilities and the able-bodied person to call and see what the difference is.
That's how we collect the data, and as a case of discrimination, we sue the the real estate agent in court, in the form of a class action lawsuit, saying "You are discriminating against people with disabilities and therefore you are in violation of your civil rights." If you and your girlfriend (an able-bodied person) ask for a wheelchair-accessible UBER and a regular UBER on the app at the same time from 200 meters away as a tester and compare the waiting time, the attitude of the driver, and the price, if the difference is obvious, you can sue them as a case of discrimination.
Through these tester’s experience, I am studying the laws that affect people with disabilities in detail. And at the same time, I am learning how to ensure that the laws are properly recognized by everyone in the community and that we can create a society where everyone can live without discrimination.
As a member of ADAPT, a disability movement group that is considered a bit radical, I'm doing my best to think of my friends, to think of my friends who are still in institutions through the national protests, and as a leader, I'm trying my best to give them the strength to fight, even if it's scary at times on the front lines!
And when you come back to Japan, what do you hope to achieve with what you brought back from U.S.?
What I discovered when I went to the U.S. was the power of the law. In addition to the ADA, there are other laws in the U.S., such as the Aircraft Act (anti-discrimination laws for airplanes), the Fair Housing Act (anti-discrimination laws for the real estate agent), the IEDA Act (anti-segregation of education and guarantee of free assistance and technology during compulsory schooling, and the Planning for Students with Disabilities and Education for Their Parents Act), and other laws, such as the Children to Adults, and a thorough law that prohibits discrimination in all sorts of situations, and because of that law, people with disabilities can get an open and inclusive education "as a matter of course", and they can fly alone on a plane even if they can't transfer alone, and I can rent a barrier-free room at the same price as everyone else.
All of these things are necessary to live in the community. That is why I would like to develop a campaign to create and pass legislation in the Diet that would protect the rights of disabled people in the Japanese way, which is suited to Japanese culture, even though it does not bring back all the laws from the United States.
One more thing I want to do.
It's to make a slanting connection.
It's not just people with disabilities who feel "hard to live with".... Sexual minorities, poor people, single parents, foreign nationals. In fact, there are many groups of people and groups who are made difficult to live with for various reasons in the world. I would like to make a connection with such groups and change the society together. This is what we want to challenge. In order to change the society, we need a lot of supporters and I think it is wonderful that we can be someone's supporter at the same time.
So now I'm training daily to power up for that! And when I get back home, I'm going to try really hard to repay you for all the support you've given me. Thank you!