Marc I. Fiedler ’78 (first row, far right) with his classmates at Quincy House. He paved the way for many disabled students after him. Fiedler and the group he founded, ABLE, worked with University administration to get the basic needs of disabled students met in the late '70s, during a national surge in disability advoacy.
Brooke M. Ellison ’00 was the first quadriplegic person to attend Harvard. During her commencement speech, she reflected on her time at the College, saying: “There were times when I thought for sure that the statue of John Harvard was looking right at us and saying, ‘What in Heaven’s name are you doing here?’”
Thanks to decades of activism that reframed disability as an identity rather than an impediment, many students today embrace their disabilities. Now, they’re pushing the University and their peers to affirm their experiences and uplift their voices.
Dear Reader, As the leaves turn, FM turns a new page – or rather, a new issue. It’s funny to think how cyclical things are. Yes, obviously, the seasons cycle through, but so too do our seasonal fashions. The very people who mocked Uggs, messy buns, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, and all things good about autumn are now donning those same Uggs and drinking those BOGO Starbucks fall drinks (myself included). In this week’s issue, DRZ and JL make their scrutiny debuts with a deep dive into the efforts for disability justice at the College. It almost goes without saying that Harvard — and most other institutions, at that — was not built to accommodate people with disabilities. It was thanks to the efforts of disabled advocates and allies, both on a national scale and on our very own campus, that Harvard and other academic institutions have become more accessible. But demands for justice do not stop at receiving basic accommodations; disabled students at Harvard are asking for inclusion in all spaces, both academic and social. DRZ and JL interview students central to those efforts and explore the history of disability rights at Harvard. Thank you so much, you two, for your dutiful reporting and unwavering dedication. SND writes about Spartacus — no, not the Thracian gladiator or the hit Stanley Kubrick film — the Spartacus Youth League, a communist group active on campus from the ’70s through the ’90s. YAK writes a levity about Harvard’s most (in)famous alumni and the impressive LinkedIn achievements they have accrued. CJK and MTB write about the digitization of prison-run newspapers from the archives of the Harvard Law School Library. GW newspaper archives himself (and interviews a Nobel prize winner) to find out how recombinant DNA became so controversial in Cambridge when it was introduced in the ’70s. This issue comes with not just one, but TWO fabulous photo essays; beloved former chair SSL and current multimedia chair JJG trek to Plymouth to see the effects of Eel River Preserve’s transformation from an old cranberry bog to a native Atlantic white cedar swamp, documenting the Eel River Headwaters Restoration Project’s efforts to return nature to nature. On the slightly more unsettling side, photographer-extraordinaire BYC accompanies (a different) SSL to a workshop on how to embalm rats… In our 15Q of the week, MG interviews Jocelyn Viterna and discusses abortion policies in El Salvador and how gender politics affect social movements. For this issue’s endpaper, GBW writes about how destabilizing his loss of faith has been and his search for a softer place to land. Thank you SS, SET, SCS, MHS, MQ, JH and JJG for the beautiful photographs and illustrations, always. Thank you to BLK and MX for your support, careful proofing and editing, and good cheer. Thank you to the FM execs who helped make it all happen. And last but not least, IYG, thank you for being the warrior you are — together, we can take on the challenges of proofing and editing in the dead of night, emailing and coordinating a million different things at once, and Chinese 140XA. FM Love, AHL and IYG