Monique Stamps and Judith Brown are using their personal experiences to advocate for Charlotteans with disabilities.
Among Charlotte’s diverse population, those who are disabled rarely get the attention they deserve. Monique Stamps and Judith Brown want to use their personal experiences to help change that, especially for people of color with disabilities.
At 16, Stamps was involved in a car crash in Rock Hill resulting in injuries that left her reliant on a wheelchair. Following the accident, she found it difficult growing up with a disability. Doctors warned her against having children, friends and family suggested she collect disability insurance instead of going to college, and the agency that was supposed to be a resource wasn’t very helpful.
Under section 14(c) of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, companies can pay disabled workers below the federal minimum wage. When the local Vocational Rehabilitation office placed Stamps in a job sorting plastic spoons, she fought back.
“They told me I was being arrogant versus trying to get an education and live a full life,” she said. “If that made me arrogant, then so be it.”
In 2000, Stamps earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Winthrop University. Four years later, she relocated to Charlotte to work at an independent-living facility mentoring others with disabilities. That was her first meeting with Judith Brown, who had come to the center for assistance.
Motivation to change the system
Brown lived in New York City and Baltimore before moving to Charlotte in 2010. She suffered hearing, vision and spinal cord injuries in her late 30s that prevented her from working. Brown also discovered that her two sons were autistic. Doctors misdiagnosed her family, she said, because their symptoms weren’t common in African Americans.
The two women immediately bonded as Black women with disabilities who experienced unfair treatment by social services.
Read the full article here: https://qcitymetro.com/2019/12/20/these-women-are-making-charlotteans-with-disabilities-a-priority/