Reasons Why Standing for Justice and All the Other Things Doesn't Work for Me

I explain pretty frequently that standing for things isn't the best we can do. People often respond by asking me why.
  1. 1.
    "But, Theresa, it's just a figure of speech…" Right. And there are other words we can use that represent our commitments without focusing on the actions of able bodies.
  2. 2.
    When I go to protests or public actions, standing is actually what happens. If we shifted our language just a little bit, it would be more clear that other participants, including seated ones, are making contributions to the work of justice.
  3. 3.
    I don't do my best work standing, but I do work for justice. Making standing represent the work means that my work is largely invisible to movements in which I give it.
  4. 4.
    Talking about standing for things reminds me of how hard standing can be; how tired and painful my legs and feet get, how much I wish for a chair. At the same time, I really love my work for justice. I'm grateful to do it. I wish I could have a word that would give me more freedom.
  5. 5.
    I have some fierce ancestors in activism who didn't stand. They crawled up courthouse steps to fight for access. They sang outside the courthouse all night to people who had been arrested. Is their work not real enough for you to respect it with your words?
  6. 6.
    Bonus: All the ways that people with disabilities and autistics work for justice really matter. Centering able-bodiedness in the language we share in our common work for justice is another way that the work autistics and disabled people do is minimized, making it harder for people to see how that very work contributes to our collective liberation.