Anchor Staff Writer
Last week, I wrote about my experience at Rhode Island Comic Con and how it was less than stellar. Now, it’s time for an update on that situation.
Upon sharing my experience on my personal social media, I was contacted by a few others that ended up seeing my story. To my honest horror, I learned I wasn’t alone in my experience; and I say to my horror because I absolutely loathe that anyone else had to experience any kind of mistreatment anywhere.
The stories I heard from different people made this experience even more gut wrenching. As I mentioned last week, some staff members didn’t even have basic knowledge on what the Americans with Disabilities Act even was, let alone that such an organization existed.
Let’s put things into perspective: I have been going to this convention since it began ten years ago. I went for the first time with my best friend and was astonished. This was my first ever convention, so naturally it holds a near and dear place in my heart. To have this convention and slightly tarnished now feels beyond frustrating.
To make the story short, I, along with multiple other disabled individuals, had decided to take a rest while waiting for a line to form in the celebrity signing area of the AMP, formerly the Dunkin Donuts Center. A number of us had canes, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters, obviously all tired after a weekend of going around the convention and were struggling. Security was called on us, being told that while we were waiting against the wall of seats that we were a “fire hazard.” Now, I had seen this the day before and multiple people were resting in the same spot the day prior when it was much more crowded, and nothing was said. That was the “first offense” that we were told. Next, we were told that we had to move so we weren’t “in the way of photo opportunities” with the “Pink Heals,” a pink cop car that had numerous signatures to remember loved ones who had fought and suffered breast cancer. No one at that time was taking photos of the cop car. Anyone who was not disabled had vacated the area, as security asked.
The comment that really got me was when one woman had pointed out that she had a cane and had to sit down and mentioned she had her family with her and how she could not be there without her family. None of us could, it’s the point of us all still being there. As it were, I was there with two friends that were keeping an eye on me as I was struggling to still walk. The guard that was there at the time looked at all of us, and said to us, word for word, “This is not a good look, guys.”
What an absolutely eviscerating thing to say to a group of people who already feel lower than low.
We already feel tired and weak. Why throw us into a category of “bad looks” because we feel the need to rest while we wait to meet people we have looked up to and waited to meet all weekend? My immediate response: How dare you.
I had sent Rhode Island Comic Con a general email about this treatment the day after the con had ended and heard nothing since. I have since gathered other stories and reached out to another email address that was provided to me from a direct line and unfortunately found out that my email was blocked from going to the mailbox of said person. Whether that was due to a spam filter or not I’m not sure yet, but I’m in the middle of figuring that out at this moment.
Time and time again the disabled community has struggled to be treated just as normal people. Sure, we have extra accommodations we need, but that doesn’t make us any less; we’re like a Lego set that comes with a few extra steps and needs a little extra tender loving care.