Friday, January 22, 2016

To Good Boys in Blue

Note:  I know this post will cause controversy, Some people I respect may accuse  me of  exscusing polic brutality. Not at all and not ever. I am just praising good officers. They need it, as does anybody with a difficult or dangerous. They also must remember that the people expect them to put duty above the uniform and report those who misuse the  badge.

To Whom This Should Concern:

I am not addressing this letter to 'Officer Yahoo'. The one who is always gettingt reported/written up for excessive force. The one who makes derogatory comments and tells the kind of jokes that stopped being appropriate workplace humor back in the '70's.

I am addressing it to the many fine people who put on blues everyday. The ones who catch rapists. The ones who keep drugs out of schools. The ones who came from marginalized neighborhoods and fought to make them safer. The ones who get my pudgy butt off the ground after a mobility misstep.

Don't judge people by their color. Assume competence. Be a friendly face at the grocery store, the soup kitchen, and the little league game. Report those officers who cross the line and advise those who don't quite measure up, but have potential. Help them be they people you see when you look at them.

Your attitude and example matter to your fellow officers and the community you serve. Be the amazing person dedicated to protecting and serving that you trained to be during your academy days. You are so necessary and I appreciate you.

Monday, January 21, 2013

In rememberance of Dr. King on his Holiday

Every year I have lived here, I've gone to the Martin Luther King celebration in Northampton. I was supposed to go to my 13th one today, but as you know, I've been sick with a broken leg and other health issues. Yesterday, my bladder and bowels started misbehaving. I hoped  to be better enough to go anyway, but when I woke up I was still sick,: so rather than go and further endanger my own health or risk ruining the celebration by having an unfortunate medical emergency. I spent the day at home.

This doesn't mean I forgot Dr. King  or his message of service. Indeed, I spent my convalescence playing free rice, a learning game where you can buy people who are starving grains of rice through the World Food Programme for every question you get right. I earned over 2,000 grains today alone!  I also learned some new words which I think Dr. King would've approved of and plan to use them in future poems. Additionally, I am recording a few Dr. King related programs, which will hopefully spawn yet more poetry. I may even make more found poems, if this activist has enough nerve to reformat the great man's words.

So, it wasn't the MLK Day I planned to have, but it was the one I had. I don't think Dr. King would have minded. All things considered, life handed me a few lemons and I managed to make a pretty good glass of lemonade.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ADAPT arrestees (including me) must appear in court 5/22!

I was just on a conference call with National Adapt, as most of you who read this blog regularly know, that's the group that gets arrested for committing civil disobedience in opposition to the institutional bias. That's the federal miscue that guarantees nursing home placement if you can’t handle your bodily needs but not home care.

There were 76 arrestees. I've been with ADAPT for 16 years now. They never have requested us to show up in person for our arraignment. I guess this is intimidation tactic #1. Well, it's not going to work on this woman and I don't think it'll work on any of the other women and men I'm so proud to call my sisters and brothers. In case the Capitol police missed it we’re not a bunch that scares easy.

Too many of us have lost people we care about to facilities and are more like jails than the homes they are supposed to represent. As far I'm concerned, they can make me go to court every day and even put me away, but as long as there is breath in my body I will keep fighting to make sure that no person who doesn't want to be there has to go to a nursing home to get services to survive.

But I do have one problem. My court date is in six days and I have no money to get there. It will cost approximately $367 to get there on a train with my assistant. It will cost approximately $200 to stay in a hotel room with other activists. That's almost $600 I don't have.

If you would like to help me out, please message me for my address or you can PayPal me at Any extra money I receive will go directly to National AD APT. Thanks for your support and please share this blog post with others. In answer to the obvious question, yes I am planning on doing this again and again and again, for as long as it takes to Free Our People!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fight the DOL's misguided attempts to help

Note: The following is a letter I wrote to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. They had a hearing at 10 AM. You can still comment to the Department of Labor direct about the regulation until tomorrow. Click here!

I am deeply concerned about the effect, however unintended, that the new Department of Labor (DOL) rules will have in my life, that of my PCA's, and the lives of my many other friends with significant disabilities. I’m so glad that the subcommittee had this hearing.

Let me tell you what I face as person with Cerebral Palsy. The amendment against hiring friends is ludicrous. Am I to spend several hours per day with someone I don’t care for or about? Why would I or anyone choose to do that? I am very active and tend to pick PCA’s who enjoy the activities I enjoy. Most of my best assistants are already my friends when they are hired, if not they quickly become so. I go to their kid’s birthday parties, we go out to eat when they are not working, and/or we chat on the phone or Facebook. I am still friends with a good number of my former PCA’s. Now the DOL is trying to tell me that I can’t hire those people anymore, simply because we’re friends? Where then do I find new help?

Also the 40 hour a week limit without mandating overtime pay without increasing Medicare or Medicaid’s budget for PCA care is another big problem. If you were simply going to pay my PCA’s extra for the hours they worked over 40, I would be rejoicing, because this would mean that the people I took on trips, who work very hard with no breaks until I return would be especially rewarded, but because you don’t control the budget of Medicare or Medicaid, these same people would be forced to work just as hard for over $900 less in pay when they travel with me. This is not fair and will result in me missing events much more than usual. This will then affect my bottom line economically as a reporter, because I’ll be able to cover fewer things. I worked really hard to get where I am and don’t feel the DOL should interfere in my employability. Isn’t that the opposite of their intended effect?

If I must reduce my assistance hours to 40 weekly per person, one person who works for me would need to move. My emergency PCA would need to fill in, for probably no pay unless she wanted me to run out of hours- creating yet another problem in the long run, until I found a new person. This process sometimes takes weeks, especially if I’m not permitted to use my regular channels. How is that fair to her?

Passing this proposal would hurt me, hurt my PCA’s, and help no one. Please consider this in your decision making.

Martina Robinson

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Disability essay I wrote for AARP

Note: I wrote this essay for AARP hoping to win $25,000 for ADAPT. Today, I found out I didn't win! Thought I'd share it anyway!

Being a woman in a wheelchair, I was always expected to be the helped rather than the helper. My cerebral palsy makes it impossible for me to use the bathroom on my own or get dressed or undressed myself, as well as about 1,000 other tasks most people do independently. However, I was born with a servant’s heart.

I am happiest when I am being of service to a fellow human being, especially if that person also has a disability. In pursuit of my ultimate goal of the complete and total liberation and acceptance of people with disabilities (PWD), I have spoken to numerous media outlets, lobbied politicians, and used my literary talents to inform individuals about the situations PWD confront. This past week, I marched on Washington with hundreds of other activists in defense of Medicaid and the right to receive long-term supportive services in the community setting of your choice.
I believe people of all ages have the right to determine their own lives and receive services where they choose; not just be forced into an institution when they require assistance, the more costly and less life-affirming alternative.

When I say, "I'd rather go to jail than die in a nursing home." I mean it. I've gone to jail for what I believe in. I will not hesitate to go back until the powers that be realize that PWD and elders have something valuable to offer and don't need to be locked away and forgotten about in institutions.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Big Girl

My friend,disability rights activist colleague, and personal assistance services user Carly, just recently underwent one of the rituals of parenthood, having her oldest daughter move out. The daughter in question is 21. Her name is Lena.

What makes Lena different from other 21-year-olds is that she has multiple disabilities. In addition to having Cri du chat syndrome- a rare syndrome that results in feeding problems because of difficulty swallowing and sucking, low birth weight and poor growth, severe cognitive, speech, and motor delays ,behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, tantrums, and repetitive movements , and unusual facial features. Additionally, she's nonverbal and has a feeding tube.

Most people don't think anyone like Lena can live independently. But Carly did and earlier this month she moved her daughter into the guest house. There, Lena has her own staff and pretty much runs her own schedule.

Likes every other adolescent, however, Lena was none too pleased when mom showed up to check on her unannounced one morning. According to Carly's Facebook status, Lena signed the following: "no no no", "stop stop", "go go go".

As a friend on Facebook said, "Hello, Ms. Independent!" As bittersweet as that moment must have been for Carly when I dream about parenthood I can only hope that, especially if my child is deemed as unlikely live independently at Lena was, I someday share the same moment. If I do, it will be the greatest triumph in my life as one who works for justice.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Response to Can't Even Go to the Park by Stacy Trasancos

Dear Mrs. Trasancos,

I read your blog. The post Can't Even go to the Park alarmed me in ways I can't express, although I will try to. I, like you, must deal with people I don't agree with from time to time. One of my very best friend's in the world is a rather outspoken atheist. As she lives in my house and works for me, I have asked her not to discuss the subject with me.

You see, I am not an atheist, but a proud member of the United Church of Christ. As she lives in my house I think it is only fair that I can lay down rules like this. After all, no one is requiring her to live in my house or to be in my employ.

If I was to come to your house, I wouldn't wear any openly bisexual apparel or bring up the subject unless you started telling me I was evil or something along those lines. It's your house. I go by your rules. If, however, we are out in a public venue, I have as much right to express my identity and opinions as you do yours. This doesn't give me the right to come bother you or you to come bother me.

If one of your children decided to come talk to me, which little children often do because they find my power wheelchair fascinating. I would smile, answer any questions they had, and probably ask where mommy was.

If they happened to ask why I was holding hands with a woman or why I had a rainbow sticker on my wheelchair I would tell them that it's because I think its okay to love whomever you love. This does not make me a horrible person nor am I trying to infect your children with what you call, "the secular agenda." In reality, I'm pretty far from secular myself.

If you're truly paranoid about the idea of running into a person who you assume, rightly or wrongly, might be engaging in same-sex sexuality in some public area, I suggest you move. You're right about one thing, you are outnumbered here.