Shattered Lives: Activist for the Disabled, Melissa Marshall

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice,Shattered Lives,Disabilities
Boy in Wheelchair on a Beach — Image by © Russ Schleipman/CORBIS

“We are the only protected class that anyone can join… with or without our consent.” 

We’re not special, we’re not different, we’re not better, we’re not worse…” 

Quotes above from Melissa Marshall and that’s only the beginning….

Melissa Marshall is the antithesis of all of those tired disability stereotypes…as is Ladyjustice…. Perhaps she may be a bit intimidating at first glance…   She is an academic, an intellectually curious person. She’s a wife and mother… She holds a law degree….However, her degree of knowledge, wit and articulateness always wins over her audiences.  She has overcome much …but always with a sense of reality, perspective, good humor and provocativeness…  She is lively and fun too! What a combination!

Join us on the journey to “shatter the stereotypes and myths” surrounding disability issues…

To Listen to the Podcast: CLICK HERE 

  • Why I wrote “Getting It,” understanding disabilities… a story developing disability awareness training, stories on the road in many venues…   Moral – the audiences were the same –some get it, some do not…
  • Melissa and her disability on a personal level….  Her  trek through the education process “back when;”
  • Delilah:  Where did they go? (the disabled going to school in the past);
  • The American with Disabilities Act – a perspective…radical, the most progressive disability piece of legislation ever… then the work began….
  • Proving your disability and discrimination… “Jumping through hoops”
  • ADA Amendment Act – Clarifying regulations….  Employers –  We only want to protect the disabled against discrimination ; We don’t care about the rest;
  • Corporations – They want to hire… productivity is their focus;
  • Learn about the ADA…. a civil rights law – creating a level playing field;
  • Protection for drug addiction??  Inherent, choice or genetics?
  • The United Nations Resolution-Treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities- What was the outcome and why?  What is the value of persons with disabilities???
  • Disability Rights – We’re not rightfully perceived as a civil rights faction… fear, villanized and pitied;
  • Delilah: Has the internet made the life of those with disabilities better?
  • Treatment and living in both worlds…  “you can just work from home;”
  • The Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities…   Study from UMass-Amherst

Found on Office of Disability Employment- ODEP – Untapped Market – Disability Positive 80%, 120 Billion Disposable Income, One Trillion Dollars- Read About it…;


  • Work Disincentives…. and the unemployment rate for those with Disabilities…Why is it still so high?
  • The “tyranny of low expectations” What is it?
  • The changing face of discrimination in schools and expectation;
  • The Disability Rights Movement is still relatively young….
  • The Governor’s Prevention Partnership –  Anti-drug, mentoring anti-underage drinking, safe schools, bullying, harassment based on race, sexual orientation and the disabled;
  • *** Those with Disabilities have additional protection under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the ADA via their IEP re bullying;
  • Bullying…  How does it apply to the disabled?
  • Melissa – She’s a consultant, BUT also looking for a job….
  • Bullying stats… and the blame game re disability;
  • The Fortin Case – An abomination….
  • Bullying as a precursor to abuse… for those with disabilities.
  • Advocacy Unlimited , Inc.;  860-667-0460; Legal Rights for those with psychiatric disabilities;
  • ***Research indicates that mental illness does not correlate with those to act violently; Those with a psychiatric disability are more likely to be a victim of violence versus being  a perpetrator;
  • The insanity defense….  Not guilty by reason of insanity defense….  ‘Not a good ideas on many levels according to Melissa…   We need more services  but not about violence prevention;
  • Some people have breaks; who are legally insane and who are not committing murders…
  • Sandy Hook – So sad, so tragic, but it’s human nature…. to want to know the why… and desire to predict;
  • Assigning causality – Blaming and psychiatric disabilities;
  • Understanding and awareness about psychiatric disabilities – stigma versus discrimination;  A resource- Connecticut Business Leadership Network (CTBLN);
  • Blaming and autism …. Arbitrary characteristics;
  • Employment and “the specialness…. or not” of those with disabilities…
  • Disclosure of disabilities…   When to do it….the ADA and state statutes…
  • Contact information:  Melissa encourages others to be in touch at:; or 860-561- 1089

Order Melissa Marshall’s book:

 Getting It: Persuading Organizations and Individuals to Be More Comfortable with People with Disabilities





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s