Teal green background with text that reads in white: "Did I Stutter?"

It’s time to take back our speech: Did I stutter? By Joshua St. Pierre

Joshua St. Pierre, Zach Richter and Erin Schick created the Did I Stutter Project, a disability activist project for stutterers by stutterers. Below are excerpts of a blog post by Joshua St. Pierre first published November, 6, 2014.

Put most simply, we are a group of stutterers who want to be heard on our own terms, with two main goals: 1) resisting speech assimilation and 2) advocating for dysfluency pride. We are not a self-help group per se. Rather, we consider ourselves as part of the disability rights movement.

Gaining their momentum in the 70s, disability rights activists and theorists have insisted that what we understand as “disability” is not primarily a medical but a political issue of inclusion and exclusion. Human traits are tremendously varied – eye and hair color, bone structure, height, physical and mental capabilities. So why, disability politics asks, are only particular forms of variation marked as “abnormal”?

The short answer to this question is that the very process of categorizing bodies and human traits in terms of normal/abnormal or abled/disabled is deeply informed by cultural, economic, social, and political values. For example, despite progressive legislation we still erect inaccessible buildings and transportation systems that “disable” wheelchair users and deaf or blind people. Architecture that excludes certain types of people is a reflection of what and who we value as a society. Disability activists and theorists thus argue that (to varying degrees depending on who you ask) disability is not an individual and biological condition, but is a complex interaction between bodies, cultural values, and social/economic structures. “Abnormal/normal” and “disabled/abled” are, therefore, first and foremost political categories used to construct our world in oppressive ways. Because of this, disability rights movements refuse to believe that disability is fundamentally a medical issue, and instead see it as a matter of civil rights and justice. We demand to be included in society as equal participants just as we are.

For the entire post: http://intandem.co.uk/blog/its-time-to-take-back-our-speech-did-i-stutter/

Joshua St. Pierre is a PhD student in philosophy at the University of Alberta and has published on stuttering and communication both academically and non-academically. Using his experience of stuttering, his work explores the normalization and exclusion of particular communicative bodies, practices, and subjects within political economies.

Did I Stutter?

Twitter: @i_stutter

Website: http://www.didistutter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/614806875282366/

Tumblr: http://didistutterproject.tumblr.com

Photo of a Latina with long brown hair and wearing glasses. She is holding a sign that reads: "My name is Dior Vargas and I have major depressive order."

People Of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project

Earlier the Disability Visibility Project re-blogged a post by Latina feminist Dior Vargas.

She is spearheading the People Of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project, a campaign collecting photos from people of color with mental illness. From her website:

This photo project stems from the lack of media representation of POC (people of color) and mental illness. There are tons of articles that list people with depression and other mental illnesses but you rarely see someone who looks like you. We need to change the way this is represented. This is not something to be ashamed about. We need to confront and end the stigma. This is a NOT a white person’s disease. This is a reality for so many people in our community.

Black woman with curly black hair with a caption bubble coming out of her mouth that says: "My name is Imade and I'm…" and she is wearing a black t-shirt that says, "Depressed while black"

For more information on how to submit a photo:

http://diorvargas.com/poc-mental-illness

Dior Vargas

Latina. Feminist. Mental Health Activist.

Dior wants to remove the stigma of mental illness in the Latin@ community. She challenges her community to speak out and unburden themselves of the shame and secrecy. She strongly believes in the importance of putting people’s faces and voices to this subject.

Website: http://diorvargas.com

Twitter: @DiorVargas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthdv

Tumblr: http://diorvargas.tumblr.com

Middle aged white woman with shoulder-length brown hair. She has sunglasses on with reflective lenses and a black blazer and purple t-shirt

Disability: The Power and the Pride by Susan Mazrui

Earlier last November the Disability Visibility Project posted a poem by one of our media partners, Susan Mazrui. With her permission, here is a re-post of another poem: Disability: The Power and the Pride.

 

Disability: The Power and the Pride

By Susan Mazrui

 

We are your parents and your children, your brothers and your sisters.

We are your employees and employers, your students and your teachers,

your neighbors and your friends.

We are your lovers and your leaders.

We are warriors and we are peacemakers.

We advocate. We vote.

We are not the problem. We are problem solvers.

We have strength in numbers – and as individuals, alone.

We are not victims. We will not be pushed aside.

We have changed attitudes.

We have changed laws.

We have changed the world.

Tomorrow, we fight the inequity that remains.

Tonight, we celebrate.

Disability.

The Power and the Pride.

© 2009 Susan Mazrui. All Rights Reserved.

 

Susan Mazrui is a public policy professional with expertise in disability and technology.

Twitter: @SPMazrui

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/susanmazrui

 

Black and white image of a woman reclining on a large tricycle that she uses due to her paralysis. She's surrounded by police officers.

Rosa May Billinghurst: Suffragette on Three Wheels by Sheila Hanlon

Historian Dr. Sheila Hanlon’s research interests include Victorian and Edwardian cycling history and the WWI and WWII Women’s Land Army, both in Canada and Britain. She is also curator of Cycling to Suffrage at The Women’s Library, London.

Her blog recently posted an awesome photo of suffragette Rosa May Billinghurst at a protest sitting on a large tricycle surrounded by police. From Dr. Hanlon’s blog post:

Rosa May Billinghurst (1873-1953) was born and raised in Lewisham, London. As a child, she contracted an illness which left her paralyzed from the waist down. Her condition did not, however, deter her from joining the WSPU in 1907 or becoming one of its best known militants.

Billinghurst was a regular participant in the WSPU’s public processions. She attracted public attention by appearing dressed in white and wheeling along with her machine decked out in coloured WSPU ribbons and “Votes for Women” banners. Billinghurst rose to prominence as a recognizable public figure and became known as “the cripple suffragette.”

For the entire post:

http://www.sheilahanlon.com/?page_id=1314

Photo credit: Photographed by Sheila Hanlon from original held at The Women’s Library, London School of Economics.

Sheila Hanlon

Twitter: @DrSheilaHanlon

Website: http://www.sheilahanlon.com

A South Asian woman using sign language. Below is a caption: "And luckily, it's strange, I always find someone willing to help out.'

Deaf South Asian Americans: Shazia’s First Days

The Disability Visibility Project loves it when people reach out to us and share their projects on disability history. Sarika D. Metha is a Producer for APA Compass on KBOO 90.7 FM, specializing in issues concerning race, ethnicity, and culture. She has a Bilingual/ELL Education, Deaf Studies, Early Intervention, etc. Sarika spent a decade serving linguistic minority communities, internationally in Costa Rica and India and domestically in Chicago, Champaign, SF Bay Area, Washington, DC and now, Portland.

Sarika has been documenting the stories of Deaf South Asian Americans. How cool is that?!?

Here is one story: Shazia’s First Days in America 

July 16, 2013

Shazia Siddiqi is a Deaf Pakistani American doctor, born in Texas area and raised in California. Meeting a deaf doctor is not a common experience, so I asked her to share her medical school tales with me, along with other fun stories from her college years at UC Berkeley.

This is another video in a series of stories I’m collecting, documenting the experiences of the Deaf South Asian American community in Washington, DC. These stories are a part of the permanent collection with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). While these experiences do not represent the entire community, they certainly offer some insight. We chatted last November, at Gallaudet University’s Linguistics Department.

In this video, Shazia talks about how she became interested in medicine in the first place, but the struggles she faced as a deaf medical student in an international school. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act couldn’t guarantee providing interpreters or real time captioning for her studies, she had to find other creative ways to make it through medical school. Upon beginning her rotations, her father fell sick and was wait-listed for a heart transplant, at which point Shazia put a hold on her own studies to help take care of her family.

The entire post is here:

http://sarikadmehta.com/2013/07/16/deaf-south-asian-americans-shazias-story/


 

Sarika D. Mehta

Website: http://sarikadmehta.com

Check out all the videos of Deaf South Asian Americans: http://sarikadmehta.com/category/video/

Photo of an Asian woman in a wheelchair w/ glasses wearing a red hoodie. She is on the left-hand side and on the right is a white woman with long brown hair and a magenta short-sleeve top. Both are smiling.

DVP Interview: Nina G and Alice Wong, Part 2

Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project interviewed Nina G on October 2, 2014 at StoryCorps San Francisco.

This is the last of two blog posts about their interview. Below are approximate excerpts from their conversation.

On being women with disabilities and white male privilege

Alice: …stutterers must encounter people mocking them all the time. For some reason, that’s hilarious to non-disabled people. I don’t really get it. Tell me about that.

Nina: This is something we don’t always talk about in the disability world but what I find, at least around my stuttering, is that men will tease you in a way that’s making fun of your disability but kind of flirting with you at the same time but kind of trying to take a place of power at the same time. It’s this really weird, rape-y, kind of interaction. You know what I’m talking about?

Alice: Yes.

Nina: Yeah, what the fuck is that?

Alice: It’s like male domination, again, within this public space. They’re mocking you, but it’s a sense of entitlement. I think race, like white supremacy, plays in that, but also there’s a very overtly misogynistic strain.

Nina: Yeah.

Alice: Right? I can do whatever I want, I can say whatever I want to your face because I am a white male, or a male.

Nina: What I’ve found is that comedians, they make fun. Like my friend Dave, when he introduced me he says, “What can I say about Nina that wouldn’t take a really long time for her to say about herself?” Very cute, and comes from a loving place. Comedians can do that stuff and I’m OK with it. Some of them, no, but if I love you, you can make fun. It’s these people who do it in this creepy-ish way.

Alice: It’s just the people who have really never met you or know you and then they just think this is a charming way to interact or banter with you when it’s really an invasion. Right? It’s an invasion on your personhood.

Nina: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

Alice: I’ve had guys come up and make these really weird comments about my wheelchair.

Nina: Mm. Like what?

Alice: Like, can I play with your buttons? I know what you’re talking about. I don’t think that’s really cool. That’s really creepy. And they think they’re being funny or whatever and it’s so eww.

Nina: Yeah. A lot of it is that in our culture, you can think they’re attractive but you can’t really do anything with them. Don’t be out in public with them.

Alice: Yeah.

Nina: And don’t do this. So it’s in this weird, creepy space. I’m sure women get this who don’t have a disability, but when you add disability into it there’s a creep factor there.

Alice: Right. Also I think we are this oddity where it’s almost a fetish. Where it’s like, oh let me just, quote unquote “flirt” with this disabled girl, she’ll get a kick out of it. Or she’ll enjoy it because she never gets enough attention.

Nina: It’s like…

Alice: I’m doing you a favor. You’re going to love it. You’re going to remember me. What a treat. I’m just a male treat.

Nina: Yeah, isn’t it weird?

Alice: It is weird. I think the female disabled experience is so much in terms of experience, which is really different from, let’s face it, the male [disabled] experience.

Nina: I talk about this all the time. I talk about it in the stuttering community a lot especially because you tend to be outnumbered in certain disabilities, so people talk about it. It’s the whitewashed male experience and it doesn’t always include the other aspects of it and you bring up those aspects and they’re all, no, this is stuttering and that’s it. But there are these subtle things that our communities don’t always talk about. It’s so interesting to me that you have a physical disability and it’s an apparent one. I say that I have a semi-apparent disability because you only see it when I talk. People make assumptions and then they make other assumptions. It’s a similar experience. It’s really interesting.

Alice: Yeah, once people within those first few seconds, once they identify you as a disabled woman…that gives them permission to say whatever they want, right?

Nina: Then also being a comedian, then they extra think they can say whatever they want.

Interactions with non-disabled people in the public sphere

Alice:  A lot of this verbal jousting, verbal defense, verbal offense….I think every disabled person probably has these skills because they’re so used to these, I don’t want to over-dramatize it, but verbal assaults in the public. Like staring, really inappropriate commenting, asking invasive questions that you would never ask any non-disabled person, questions like “How do you do this? How do you that, were you born with this?” It’s none of your fucking business unless you know me, unless you’re my friend, that’s a different story. But when total strangers on the street see you, think you’re either an inspiration, “So special, oh she’s on stage, doing comedy, oh that’s so amazing.”

Nina: What I always say is that when you meet someone who doesn’t have a disability, suddenly they have a PH.D. In the thing you have. I talk, and people will offer me advice like, “Just slow down and breathe.” Gee, I never thought of that in the 30 years- plus I’ve been stuttering. It’s those kinds of things that you encounter all time. Also, I don’t want to lay this all on men, because women do a lot too. I did a comedy club in San Francisco once and I did my act and afterwards I went up to the woman and asked her if there was a show she might want to put me on and she said, “You just keep doing open mics and one day, I’m sure that you’ll have enough self-confidence that you’ll stop stuttering.”

Alice: OMG.

Nina: I know, right?

Alice: Seriously?

Nina: Yes.

Nina’s comedic process

Alice: Tell me about your process, where you have this feeling or thought, for how you’re going to refine it down to a succinct and a targeted joke where it really has the most impact. How does that evolve?

Nina: I think with my stuttering too, I have to formulate a joke so that the punchline hits. A lot of comics, they talk and they talk and they build it up and they build it up. I cut the fat. As a person who stutters, I’ve learned to cut the fat. If I didn’t stutterer, I’d probably have an hour of material, whereas now I have a half hour. I’ve kind of learned to do that in my life. Which in comedy, that’s what you want.

Alice: Right, it’s more economical.

Nina: Yes, exactly. I’ll write it down, I might put it on Facebook, I might see if there’s a response, then I might try it at an open mic. If it doesn’t hit, and I really like it then I’ll try it again and again and again. Sometimes jokes are just for me, and sometime they’re for others. Sometimes I just need to do it for my own sake.

Alice: Are there certain words where you know you will stutter a little more, so word choice is very particular? Let’s say if you want to emphasize a certain word but you know you’ll stutter, will you reshape the structure of what you say?

Nina: I try not to.

Alice: So you know you’re own patterns.

Nina: I try not to but there is one sentence that I do say that I know I stutter more on this sequencing. It works well comedically. So it’s the only time I stutter for comedic emphasis which is say, “Orgasms and stuttering have a lot in common because they both take hell of the the the the the the fuckin’ long,” and I stutter on that all the time. Like that was a natural stutter but it works good because it also mirrors a woman’s orgasm.

Alice: Right. You’re using what you’ve got for full comedic effect. In a way, we always joke about being disabled and especially as children we’re always told to do these therapies. I’d like to think that kids who stutter should do stand up. The way you’re using your stuttering to your best advantage is really fun.

Nina: Well, yeah and everybody should have it as a tool to use and it’s one of the highest defenses, one of the highest functioning defense that you can have.


 

Photo of a woman with long brown hair holding a microphone with pinball machines in the background.

Nina G, comedian

Nina G is America’s favorite female stuttering stand up comedian (granted she is the only one). She is also a disability activist, storyteller, children’s book author and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand social justice issues such as disability, diversity, and equity.

An image of a projector screen showing an image of a woman holding a microphone doing stand-up with the text: "Laughing at Disability Awareness with Nina G ninagcomedian.com

When she isn’t performing at comedy clubs like the San Francisco Punchline or the Laugh Factory, she is playing colleges and presenting as a keynote speaker to children with disabilities and training professionals.

Check out her newest project, Once Upon an Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities! Nina writes from her own experience as a person with a Learning Disability and how to navigate the world of disability related accommodations in school.

Facebook Fan Page: Facebook.com/ninagcomedian

Twitter: @ninagcomedian (occassional adult content)

Youtube: NinaGcomic (some adult content)

Blog: ninagcomedian.wordpress.com/

Email: NinaGbooking@gmail.com

Image of two women smiling at the camera standing close to each other. On the left is a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes and on the right is a woman, her mother, with long brown hair and brown eyes

DVP on NPR!

The Disability Visibility Project is thrilled to have one of our stories recorded for StoryCorps featured on NPR’s Morning Edition on January 16, 2015. Thank you to the good folks at StoryCorps and NPR!

Remembering A ‘Giant': ‘Everything We Did, We Did Together’

Colleen Kelly Starkloff was working at a nursing home when she met her future husband. He was a quadriplegic. His disability was one of the obstacles they overcame to having a family.

http://www.npr.org/2015/01/16/377450795/remembering-a-giant-everything-we-did-we-did-together

 

For more about Colleen Kelly Starkloff: http://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2014/09/16/media-partner-60-starkloff-disability-institute-st-louis-mo/

 

Photo of an Asian woman in a wheelchair w/ glasses wearing a red hoodie. She is on the left-hand side and on the right is a white woman with long brown hair and a magenta short-sleeve top. Both are smiling.

DVP Interview: Nina G and Alice Wong

Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project interviewed Nina G on October 2, 2014 at StoryCorps San Francisco.

This is the first of two blog posts about their interview. Below are approximate excerpts from their conversation.

On being a stuttering comedian

Alice: I notice that you bill yourself as, “America’s favorite female stuttering stand-up comedian.” Tell me how did you come about branding yourself this way?

Nina: I say that I’m America’s only female stuttering stand-up comedian and I’m America’s favorite because I really am the only one. Like I’m the only stuttering stand-up comedian in the U.S. And in fact when I first started doing comedy, I said I was the world’s only, but there was a woman who popped up in England who I haven’t met yet, whether social media or in person, but she has a couple of videos out and I know she’s kind of active but I don’t know a ton about here. So I cannot use that “world’s only” any more.

Alice: You’re now only domestically the only one.

Nina: Domestically, yes.

Alice: Well.

Nina: Or this hemisphere, I suppose I could say that. But you know that’s a lot.

Alice: Hopefully yeah there’s no Canadians, or Mexicans yet, but you never know.

Nina: Not that I’m aware of, yes.

Alice: You never know and I think one day eventually this is going to lead to an international battle of the stuttering female comedians.

Nina: I can only hope.

Alice: I think we’ve got to see some sort of cage match.

Nina: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

On comedians with disabilities

Alice: And there are actually… more and more comedians with disabilities out there just really doing it. It seems like in the last decade there’s been far more visibility of some really prominent comedians. What’s your take on this great rise of more visibility of comedians with disabilities?

Nina: I think that it’s awesome because I think that it teaches people. The one issue I have is that oftentimes they’re white men. When you look at Josh Blue, who’s really great, but my theory is that TV executives, if you’re more than one thing, their heads explode. So if you are an ethnic minority with a disability who’s a woman, they just don’t what to do with you.

Alice: And if you’re gay…

Nina: Oh yeah, and if you’re gay ….

Alice: Throw in that.

Nina: Choose one. You can only be one.

Alice: Yeah.

Nina: So that is one of my issues with the entertainment world. You’ve seen this, if there’s a character on TV, it’s usually a white man who uses a wheelchair or something.

Alice: Yeah it’s always kind of this weird trickle-down effect, or trickle up. But first you get the most approachable in terms of the mainstream, non-disabled world. Then hopefully over time there’s more diversity. It always seems to be this case in a lot fields, with entertainment, television, obviously comedy, which has been so male-dominated and so white for a really long time that …

Nina: And so white for what’s on TV.

Alice: Right. But in terms of the actual stand-up world, it’s rather diverse. What’s your take on that?

Nina: Yes, but it can be kind of segregated too.

Alice: Tell me more about that.

Nina: It’s diverse but yet segregated. There are white clubs and there are black clubs. Sometimes the easement between the two isn’t very good or isn’t very accessible. I think in the Bay Area it’s not as extreme as some areas. In Chicago there are very much two kinds of comedy streams, which was Second City …Improv, but then also very white. Then I think it was the South side of Chicago had a comedy that was mostly black and just very separate. I don’t really know anything about this, I just saw a documentary on it.

Alice: Yeah. I wonder what the response toward disabled comedians is compared to both?

Mina: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

Alice: Have you ever played mostly let’s say black-dominated clubs? What was the vibe you got from that compared to let’s say you have a regular act and you play it in this club but then in a more white-dominated club. What are the differences?

Mina: OK yeah. Oh yeah. There’s so many differences. First of all, if I’m playing Berkeley. Berkeley, California. Those audiences tend to be mostly white. They’re afraid to laugh at me because they think that then they’re making fun of me and they’ve been so drilled, “Don’t make fun of the disabled person.” I’m a frickin’ comedian. I’m here to make jokes. The fact that you are not laughing at me shows that you’re biased. They don’t get that and it drives me crazy. Whereas there’s a couple of predominantly African-American comedy venues and open mics. At first they’re like, “Huh? What are you doing? What?” Because everyone thinks that I’m faking. So I have to prove that I’m not.

Alice: They love this white girl.

Nina: Yeah exactly.

Alice: You’re one of us!

On Nina’s comedy influences

Nina: Plus a lot of my influences have been African-American comedians.

Alice: Yeah. Tell me about some of your influences.

Nina: God. I think as a kid I really loved Gilda Radner.

Alice: Oh my God, I loved Gilda.

Nina: She was such a big part of my life. I look back, when I look at some of her stuff now, I can see where I am the woman that I am because she was such an influence in my life. So, I go back there. Lenny Bruce who, just being able to say the things that you want to say from a political point of view, that to me is an amazing thing. Chris Rock and Paul Mooney are too, because they can say things and they can teach people things but they’re doing it through comedy.

Alice: They’re not overtly political, right?

Nina: Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

Alice: You know it’s pure comedy and yet it really makes you think without being preachy at all.

Nina: Yeah, exactly.


 

Photo of a woman with long brown hair holding a microphone with pinball machines in the background.

Nina G, comedian

Nina G is America’s favorite female stuttering stand up comedian (granted she is the only one). She is also a disability activist, storyteller, children’s book author and educator. She brings her humor to help people confront and understand social justice issues such as disability, diversity, and equity.

An image of a projector screen showing an image of a woman holding a microphone doing stand-up with the text: "Laughing at Disability Awareness with Nina G ninagcomedian.com

When she isn’t performing at comedy clubs like the San Francisco Punchline or the Laugh Factory, she is playing colleges and presenting as a keynote speaker to children with disabilities and training professionals.

Check out her newest project, Once Upon an Accommodation: A Book About Learning Disabilities! Nina writes from her own experience as a person with a Learning Disability and how to navigate the world of disability related accommodations in school.

Facebook Fan Page: Facebook.com/ninagcomedian

Twitter: @ninagcomedian (occassional adult content)

Youtube: NinaGcomic (some adult content)

Blog: ninagcomedian.wordpress.com/

Email: NinaGbooking@gmail.com

Image for It's Our Story project. You see an American flag with the picture of the United States that's inside the upper right side of the flag instead of white starts. On the right side it says: Power. Passion. Pride.

Disability History: Jack Catlin, Chicago, IL

It’s Our Story is a national initiative to make disability history public and accessible. Scott Cooper recorded and collected over 1,300 video interviews from disability leaders across the country since 2005. Check out a video uploaded on August 7, 2010:

Jack Catlin of Chicago, Illinois, speaks about the concept of universal design, why it’s important, and how it has been implemented in Chicago.
Jack has developed accessibility codes for city, state, and federal agencies. He is a licensed architect and member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and is the first practicing architect to serve as chair of the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board).

Click on the CC button in the YouTube window for captions.

 


It’s Our Story

Website: https://sites.google.com/a/pinedafoundation.org/ios/home

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/itsourstoryproject

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PowerPassionPride?ref=ts

Email: ItsOurStory@gmail.com

A black-and-white image of an African-American man speaking at a lectern. He is facing a crowd and standing in front of a large American flag.

Disability Justice and Social Justice: Entwined Histories and Futures

This is a blog post originally published on January 16, 2014 for BK Nation, “Disability Justice and Social Justice: Entwined Histories and Futures” by Alice Wong, Project Coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project.

As Americans take time to reflect on the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year, some will spend their day serving the community, some will tweet or post something on Facebook as a sign of solidarity…and some will sleep in, enjoying their day off.

Just as Dr. King and the many activists involved in the civil rights movement were influenced by Gandhi and Thoreau’s use of civil obedience, leaders of the disability- rights movement witnessed first-hand the power of non-violence in the 1950s and 1960s.

Similarities exist among the Montgomery bus boycott, the Birmingham campaign in 1963, and actions taken by disabled activists in the 1970s. Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities from participating in any program or activity receiving federal funds based on incapacity.

Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph Califano refused to sign regulations related to Section 504. On April 5, 1977, non-violent protests and demonstrations began nationwide. A group of disabled activists began a sit-in at the San Francisco offices of HEW, the longest such demonstration ever undertaken. Kitty Cone, one of the demonstrators at the 504 sit-in, recalls:

“At every moment, we felt ourselves the descendants of the civil rights movement of the ’60s. We learned about sit-ins from the civil rights movement, we sang freedom songs to keep up morale, and consciously show the connection between the two movements. We always drew the parallels. About public transportation we said we can’t even get on the back of the bus.”

On April 28, 1977, Caifano signed the regulations and the historic protest ended. Section 504 codified civil rights for people with disabilities and the notion that people with disabilities are a distinct minority group and protected those individuals from discrimination.

For the entire post: http://bknation.org/2014/01/disability-justice-social-justice-entwined-histories-futures/


 

Alice Wong is a Staff Research Associate, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF. Alice works on various research projects for the Community Living Policy Center, a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Administration for Community Living. She is an author of online curricula for home care providers and caregivers for Elsevier’s College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving. Currently, she is the Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project: A Community Partnership with StoryCorps and an advisory board member of APIDC, Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California. Alice is also a Presidential appointee to the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, Congress, and other federal agencies on disability policy.

Twitter: @SFdirewolf

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/alice-wong/65/7b4/441