Freedom RIDErs

By SEAN FLYNN  |  August 14, 2008

Changing that, however, has so far been a difficult process. Part of the problem, of course, has been the lack of solid leadership to direct an attack on the system. Compounding that, observers say, is that those most able to force changes — those in the disabled community who regularly advise the MBTA on access issues — may be unwilling to lash out against the T too viciously. But, again, the RIDE disaster may be changing that, too. “Certainly, it [the RIDE fiasco] has been a mobilizing factor,” says the OHA’s Gleich, “and how it shakes out depends on how the disability community plays it. But it’s forcing people to come together and do something.” And the coalition that emerged as the leadership group August 8 is now in a position to carry that role to the broader movement. “I expect it can do that,” says Brooks, “if the leadership in the movement can keep working together in a cohesive and coalitional way and not let differences fracture us. If we can do that, we can keep growing and moving.”

“When you begin to believe things are your right and not just gifts being given to you, then you become willing to fight for them,” adds Winske. “And when you become willing to fight for them, the whole ball game changes.”

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