Cheryl Marie Wade died in 2013 at age 65 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis.
“She embodied and modeled disability pride before it was a thing,” Judith Smith, who worked with her in two Bay Area performance groups, Wry Crips and Axis Dance Company, said by email. “Cheryl was unapologetic, proud, complex and loud.”
“Instead of trying to fade into the nooks and crannies as good Cripples of the past were taught to do,” [Wade] wrote, “we blast down the main streets in full view, we sit slobbering at the table of your favorite restaurant, we insist on sharing your classroom, your workplace, your theater, your everything. The comfort of keeping us out of sight and out of mind behind institutional walls is being taken away. And because there is no way for good people to admit just how bloody uncomfortable they are with us, they distance themselves from their fears by devising new ways to erase us from the human landscape.”
(Neil Genzlinger, “Overlooked No More: Cheryl Marie Wade, a Performer Who Refused to Hide,” NYTimes, 7-23-20)
(c) 2020 JMN