25Years_Logo7For the next several months, NEW MOBILITY will be celebrating 25 years of journalism by and for active wheelchair users. Join us for a look back at each period of the magazine’s history, starting with our first issues circa the passage of the ADA. Each month we’ll move down the timeline, sharing key moments in disability rights and lifestyle from almost 250 issues of NM.

1993-1996: Identity & Inclusion

In the early post-ADA years, we faced a dilemma: how to advocate for inclusion when the mainstream viewpoint missed the truth about who we were. To us, we were individuals, each unique, who wanted equal opportunity, like everyone else. But to the general public we all looked alike and wanted “special” consideration. We were stamped, labeled, segregated and stereotyped.

Barry Corbet, truly one of a kind, wrote eloquently about our group identity by breaking us down into a diverse collection of characters: “We yearn for our most visible players to act and speak for us all. They will not. All they can do is be themselves.” Luckily for us, Barry remained true to himself and to his vision that there is power in lifestyle, in images and activities that show all of us in our imperfect glory. Without that vision, NEW MOBILITY might have gone the way of People, showcasing only the glamorous, the wealthy, the airbrushed aristocrats of popular culture. But of course, that was not our story, not our identity.

New Mobility, August 1996