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Disability Rights Activists React To Trump Presidency In Philadelphia

Kimberly Paynter
Disability rights advocates (from left) Matthew Clark, Laura Cohen and Dynah Haubert left the Pennsylvania Democrats watch party as Donald Trump began to claim most of the states in the race.

When North Carolina was called for Donald Trump, a crying Dynah Haubert left the Sheraton ballroom.

She and other activists were among the crowds of Pennsylvania Democrats watching election results come in — until they could take no more.

It was back in July that Haubert experienced her first purposeful involvement in politics on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. "It's always been up to us. I felt that finally it's not just us shouting into the wind," she said.

Haubert, an attorney for Disability Rights Pennsylvania, became a Hillary Clinton supporter when she saw the campaign included the voices of disabled people in the conversation.

Matthew Clark consoled Haubert, and said that if he could have a few moments to deliver a message to President-elect Donald Trump he'd say, "We're not asking for free stuff. We just want you to work with us." 

Clark hopes the new administration will say that they will make things more accessible, as an issue of rights, not pity.

The most pressing issue for Laura Cohen is accessible and affordable housing. She says it's that financial reality that keeps her and Clark from getting married.

"I grew up with a Republican family. If it were any other candidate, I could understand," she said in disbelief.

Haubert, Clark, and Cohen made calls for the Clinton campaign, and Clark was a poll watcher.

"We're 20 percent of the population. They need to listen," said Haubert.

"And we're the most all-encompassing minority," added Clark.

After a moment of quiet, they agreed it's on them to keep themselves included, like it's always been, but now to build on the connections and energy of the Clinton campaign.

It felt like Trump's message to the disabled community was, "Stop taking so much, you greedy f***s," Clark said.

Haubert wonders: "What's going to happen to us?"

Find this reportand others at the site of our partner, NewsWorks