I spoke with human rights activist Cal Montgomery, a survivor of residential institutions and, after institutionalization. Cal describes how the institutional model is replicated in group home settings, even when they have a veneer of independent living. As he observes: “It’s really not that hard to take a program that looks like it supports self-determination and make it all about control. And we see it done every day.”
We talked about the Judge Rotenberg Centre (JRC), a residential institution that has been using shock torture on autistic and IDD residents. Despite some of the difficult subject matter of this podcast, I walked away with a feeling of hope, the kind of hope that is given by shedding a light on truth–one of the many gifts that Cal brings to the movement.
Read the transcript, below the audio file.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: Cal_Montgomery_Noncompliant_transcript
Cal Montgomery is a trans, queer, autistic, physically disabled activist and writer in the United States and a survivor of long-term institutionalization. He is a Director of the Board at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, engages in direct actions and civil disobedience around disability rights issues and is a former member of ADAPT, the US direct-action organization.
Cal is at the forefront of action against the electric shock aversives used at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts, which we talk about in the podcast. Cal is probably best known in the neurodiversity community for his essay “Critic of the Dawn”. In it, he writes: “Disability is injustice, not tragedy; unequal treatment, not inherent inequality.” I highly recommend you check out that essay as well as following Cal’s blog, Watch Well: A Blog about Disability.