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Advocacy begins with a Single Step:

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occured. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genious, power and magic in it.”

from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition by W. H. Murray, 1951




CLOSER LOOKAdvocate Shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: A Lake Blue Shirt with Dark Lavender Stamp on front like a USDA Stamp. Stamp says, "100% A D A Empowered, Trained and Tested." Around the stamp it reads: "Access, Accommodation and Acceptance through Advocacy and Activism." On the back in the same lavender color is a Martin Luther quote which reads, “I have the right to believe freely, to be a slave to no man's authority. If this be heresy so be it. It is still the truth. To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot...will not...recant. Here I stand. No man can command my conscience.”

Martin Luther, in defense of his beliefs at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

COMMENTS: I did this because for friends in Michigan. Looked so nice and the message is so powerful.


CLOSER LOOKBarrier Removal Team shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: White shirt with Red Circle with Red diagonal line signifying "NO" over a black profile of steps on front.

COMMENTS: I did this because we need to have a design to make us look official when we are playing "ADA Police". I have worn this into restraurants for no particular reason and had managers come up to me either nervous and fidgety or proud of what they have done and wanting me to see. Quite effective when two or more are wearing them.


CLOSER LOOK adapt or perish shirt. see text description belowORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: White artwork on a Hunter Green colored shirt. Picture on front of Darwinian evolution from small gibbous monkey to homo sapien with last character a person in a wheelchair pushing up a ramp. Words below read: "Adapt or Perish".

COMMENTS: This design comes from Anna Stonum and her company, Designs for All, out of the Chicago area. As we sadly lost Anna a few years back, a portion of the profits from this shirt go to the Anna Stonum Fund to continue her work in advocacy.


CLOSER LOOK Day Off Shirt See text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with artwork of cartoon man in wheelchair thumbing his nose and sticking his tongue out. He is wearing a shirt that says "Severely Euphemized". It also says next to him, "There comes a time when even the best advocates need a day off."

COMMENTS: I did this shirt all the folks that get tired of having to be "on" all the time. Sometimes you feel like you have to be a diplomat for the next guy coming along.


CLOSER LOOK Existence shirt. see text description below. ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with blue and green world on the front. White letters around the world say "Working toward a world of awareness and better understanding." Underneath the world it says "Existence without meaning is nothing. Make a difference."

COMMENTS: The quote at the bottom of this shirt is a collaboration between myself and a good friend, Jean Dobbs, from New Mobility Magazine. It s about manifesting the unique potential that exists within each of us.


CLOSER LOOKHugo Shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Navy shirt with white Victor Hugo quote on front saying "What matter is deafness of the ear when the mind hears."

COMMENTS: While trying to explain to a friend of mine who is deaf the subtle difference between the sound of wind whispering through the pines and that of a distant waterfall pounding stone I became a bit melancholy and asked her if it ever bothered her missing these beautiful nuances. Without a blink she enlightened me ten-fold by showing me the signs for both and sharing that, quite often, the signs are as beautiful to be


CLOSER LOOKLabels shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: White shirt with black and red four panel artwork on front of a person chained to a wheechair, flying through the air towards a chair, dragging a chair by the rope tied to his ankle all with a small caption reading "wheelchair bound". The last panel has the guy flying down a hill in a wheelie. It's caption reads "wheelchair user." The bigger theme around these images is the caption "It's the labels that are confining!"

COMMENTS: This message is directed primarily at the media for they are the worst offenders. Archaic terminology is degrading and perpetuates negative myths. It shows one's ignorance. Person-first language empowers and promotes awareness. It presumes equity.



DESCRIPTION: White shirt with a blue paint swash on front. The word "LIFE" appears in the swash. The back has this poignant saying


Who lives? Who dies? Whose life is given value? Whose life is measured by cost? Society in every generation seeks control of life and breath. We never learn. Again people speak of murders of people with disabilities not as evidence of brutal bigotry but as compassion. “She was set free of a life of disability.” “He is now whole in God’s arms.”

We are assured that there will be safeguards. Doctors and tribunals will oversee the decisions of death. It is an experiment that has been tried. A society, not long ago, decided that people with disabilities had ‘life not worthy of life.’ They set up a tribunal of doctors to review case histories. Each doctor would rate the life of a person with a disability. If they were deemed as having life not worthy of life a big red “X” would be marked on the file. If the person was deemed as having some redeeming value the doctors would mark the file with a big blue line.

XX = Death -- = Life.

There were few blue lines. With the full approval of the medical community, with the co-operation of doctors, the killing began. It is a chilling fact that the first mass death equipment was test run in a state medical facility. This fact must have made the man who would soon kill millions, smile. If you can imagine Hitler smiling.

Wearing this blue line I assert that NEVER AGAIN will others determine the value of the lives lived in the disability community. Wearing this blue line I assert that I will not be silent when the face of bigotry wears a little black mustache....Worthy of Life."

COMMENTS: Before Hitler came for the Jewish people he practiced on 600,000 people living with disabilities. The words of Dave Hingsburger remind us of our past and call us to vigilance.



DESCRIPTION: White shirt with a colorful design of the earth from space on front and a saying "Imagine a world of diversity and interdependence where people are respected simply for who they are; where our commonalities are recognized and bring us closer; and where differences are celebrated for what they provide: opportunities to bring something unique and individual to our community." It has a larger message above and below that says "Ours is a mission to enlighten."

COMMENTS: The genesis for this shirt was a campaign for DD month for Public Images Network in Ohio several years back. It has evolved over time into this and calls us to take ownership for change.


CLOSER LOOK Not Dead Yet - The Resistance Shirt Image ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with white letters on front saying "Not Dead Yet. The Resistance"

COMMENTS: I don’t know about you but, with three quarters of his victims being people with non-terminal disabilities, the constant acquittal of “Dr. Death” scared the bejesus out of me. Though he is in jail now, his disciples continue... Since 1983, many people with disabilities have opposed “right-to-die” proponents who have advocated that people with severe disabilities should receive suicide assistance, not suicide prevention. Our opposition was ignored, and many people with disabilities have already died as a result. When all the facts are considered, in these days of managed care, the threat to the many people with disabilities, new, old and yet to be, terminal and not terminal, who live in a society which devalues our lives, is monumental and pervasive. On April 27, 1996, Not Dead Yet was formed to oppose the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. January 8, 1997, in a Supreme Court rally, the outcry of people with disabilities chanting "Not Dead Yet" was heard around the world. The Resistance was born. Gotta voice? Gotta body? Join The Resistance. To do so, call Diane Coleman at 708-209-1500 (V); 209-1826 (TTY)

Worried about Sociopathologists eyeballing you for your organs? Feeling maybe a little too sick for managed care? Me too. There is safety in numbers.

Profits go to NDY to aid in the struggle against the really bad guys.


CLOSER LOOKNothing About Me shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Natural colored shirt with a teal handprint on the front. Across the hand are black letters saying, "Nothing about me without me."

COMMENTS: Speaking in Iceland a few years back, I met a fellow speaker from South Africa. There, the Disability Rights Movement had a credo, "Nothing about Us without Us". A perfect message of self-determination and choice, I altered it a bit to be more personal. Thanks to the gang at Mouth Magazine for the handprint motif.


CLOSER LOOKpiss on pity shirt. see text description below. ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with the saying "Piss on Pity" very large and hot pink on front.

COMMENTS: Not only is it eloquent, it can be seen from a mile away. You want a shirt that makes a statement. I'd say this shirt fills the bill. A goodly portion of the proceeds of this shirt goes directly to Johnny Creshendo and D.A.N. to support their fight. If you get a chance to catch Johnny's act, take it. He's raucous, irreverent, right-on and, to be quite honest, the closest thing to spiritual since the invention of K-Y


CLOSER LOOKPsychosclerosis shirt. see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with the saying "Help stamp out "Psychosclerosis" (Hardening of the Attitude)" in big letters and then in small letters below it says, "Open your mind. See through bigger eyes. Listen completely. Be human. Better yet, be humane. Embrace diversity."

COMMENTS: Here is the one disability, no, not disability, handicap (in no way synonymous) so sinister, so pervasive, it can be found at the very core of man’s inhumanity to man. It blinds eyes to bigotry and hatred and closes the mind and heart to thoughts of equity, respect and new ways of solving archaic problems. We must work to erradicate it from the planet.


CLOSER LOOKsame struggle shirt image see text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Black shirt with white handwritten message on front saying "Same struggle, Different Difference."

COMMENTS: When it comes down to it, the Disability Rights Movement is a child of the Civil Rights Movement and we are all children of the Human Rights Movement. There is power in this: the power of shared experience, our common struggle.


CLOSER LOOKYour Attitude Shirt. See text description below ORDER IT

DESCRIPTION: Burgundy shirt with white letters on front saying "Your Attitude just might be my biggest barrier."

COMMENTS: This shirt makes people think. Period. It is a great shirt for the kid going to his first IEP.