- Radar van locations, traffic incidents & today's gas prices
- Just 4 kids remain in Nogales migrant shelter
- Some Downtown streets to close for Sun Link celebrations
- Report: Driving drops in Az as more ride public transportation
- Homeland Security: Fewer Central American kids crossing border
- Daily Star paywall to charge online readers19
- Babeu tip prompts some to plan blockade of Oracle migrant kids' shelter5
- Feds delay busing migrant kids to Oracle; rival groups demonstrate4
- Math is hard: U.S. still likely to get to next stage of World Cup3
- Obamacare-driven competition lowering rates in some states2
Posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:15 am
TEMPE – Juliet Martinez has been using a wheelchair since age 8, after she received an overdose of chemotherapy drugs. But she doesn’t consider herself handicapped or disabled.
As Ms. Wheelchair Arizona 2014, Martinez wants to correct misperceptions among those who are able-bodied about what people with disabilities can do. That includes changing the use of “handicapped” and “disabled,” terms that she and others consider limiting.
“Those small words are a huge impact,” she said.
That’s why Martinez supports a state lawmaker’s push to replace those terms in state law with “persons with disabilities” and other conventions using “with disabilities.”
HB 2667, authored by Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson, also would apply to materials produced by the state such as parking signs and pamphlets.
“It’s antiquated language that we haven’t used in the past several years – I would say decades – as an appropriate way that we refer to people with disabilities,” she said.
Mach, who lost an arm in an accident as a teenager, said changing the terminology in state law would encourage people to see those with disabilities in a different light.
“Just because I do not have an arm doesn’t mean that I don’t see myself as someone who is capable of performing a lot of tasks,” she said.
TucsonSentinel.com relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to TucsonSentinel.com today!
If you're already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues and customers to help support quality local independent journalism.
Mach’s bill received a unanimous endorsement Feb. 19 from the House Health Committee and was headed to the House floor by way of the Rules Committee.
Ann Monahan, chairwoman of the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, said that HB 2667 would be a step in the right direction.
“It is important to recognize that any individual with any disability is a person first and foremost,” she said.
Phil Pangrazio, president and CEO of the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, said that “handicapped” is an outdated and negative term.
“Once in awhile we still hear the ’H’ word and we cringe,” he said.
As for Mach’s bill, Pangrazio said, “It goes a long way to change attitudes about disabilities.”
Martinez, a graduate student at Arizona State University, said that the title of Ms. Wheelchair Arizona is about advocacy and empowerment for those with disabilities. Changing the wording of state laws advances those goals, she said.
“Taking those words out does make it better,” Martinez said.