CRPL Logo on a navy background. Logo is gold rings intertwining, reminiscent of a wheel. Next to it are the letters CRPL in white

Issue #0

Why I'm Starting a Newsletter

John Loeppky

September 30, 2022

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Because Disabled Journalists Should Be Trusted with More than Our Own Sob Stories

I’ve been connected to journalism in one way or another for about a decade, first as a student media contributor, then an editor, then editor-in-chief, then freelancer. I’ve worked at a disability arts non-profit, I’ve been a para-sport athlete (got to go to a bunch of cool shit, but not anything particularly important), a tackle football coach, a hockey game timekeeper, and a university residence assistant. In other words, I’ve been around the block. Been there, broke the axel, crawled home.

But in all of those roles I’ve noticed something, something that many of my disabled kin know intimately as well: we’re rarely trusted with anything other than our sad stories. Now, I could go on a long rant about inspiration porn and the power of Stella Young, the importance of phrases like “Nothing About Us Without Us”, the intersectional approach that led to a rise in American disability rights, Canada’s independent living movement, the words and phrases used in certain parts of various disability communities. I could prioritize me over and over and over by  pretending that I’m the first person to think or write about these things, I could announce myself as revolutionary. 

 Or, I could do my best to platform others, keep my mouth (mostly) shut, and tell you about it from a perspective that isn’t just mine. It’s not that I haven’t written opinion pieces, and it’s not that I won’t again, it’s that I want a space to dive freely. If you’ve read this far, I hope you will too. In naming this project CRPL (creatively responding to problematic labels if you are an advertiser who is particularly averse to reclaimed words), I am announcing my politics and I am also engaging with a rich history of disabled creatives. 

Each week, I’ll be publishing a story that centres disabled voices and stories. Some will be happy, some will be frustrating, some will be bone-chillingly sad, but the goal here is to build a media outlet slowly and steadily. I’ve been extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to report on issues outside of the disability community as a journalist for a variety of outlets and this newsletter is the culmination of that confidence. There will be grammatical errors, there will be access issues, there will be things that get in the way of this newsletter. My commitment to you is that I’ll be transparent about what that looks, and feels, and sounds like.

The newsletter will include a weekly story, an ableist headline for us to critique, a selection of pieces that I’m reading/watching/listening to, and an opportunity for you to connect with the contents of the story. Next week’s first issue will include a story about disabled musicians and music that makes them feel a sense of crip euphoria, a feeling that they are more at home when they listen to particular songs.

If you’d like to subscribe all you have to do is click the button at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions (don’t forget to confirm your subscription from your email). There is also a link where you can support this project financially. Eventually we will grow to a subscription model that prioritizes access and allows me to bring on other disabled writers, but I refuse to hire people on before having the money to pay them. Conventional wisdom is that I shouldn’t ask for financial support. However, I think disabled folks are asked for free labour far too often. Any money sent my way will go towards the expenses of running this newsletter and then to fund myself and others in writing.

Thank you, in advance, for your trust.

John

Want to Support More Disability-led Media?

Put simply, media projects are hard to grow and harder to fund. If you click the first button below you'll be subscribing to my free weekly newsletter.  It includes a weekly story as well as some extra material, If you click the second button then you will be taken to a tip jar for this project. Any funds go towards expanding CRPL, supporting me financially in doing that and (eventually) bringing on other writers to grow this thing.

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