Image of Two turquoise colored circles. Inside the circle is the text: PUSH Living.com

Media Partner #55: Deborah Davis and Push Living

Thank you to Deborah Davis and Push Living, great advocates for accessible travel.

From Push Living’s website:

Deborah Davis has achieved a successful career in sales and marketing, training, educating, advocacy, mentoring and public speaking. She has extensive experience in developing and conducting training programs on disability awareness and the seamless inclusion of accessible facilities.

As Co-Founder, Owner—and the inspiration for—PUSHLiving Enterprises and its divisions Travability.travelPhotoAbility.net, and its newest venture TravAbilityproperties.com. Deborah oversees the firm’s mandate to “push the boundaries of inclusive travel, design and living.” TravAbility.travel is dedicated to inclusive tourism through education, advocacy and accessibility information for the world’s best travel destinations, while PhotoAbility.net provides a specialized stock photo library aiming to increase imagery of people with disabilities in the tourism, leisure and lifestyle mediums.

Website: http://pushliving.com

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

Twitter: @pushliving

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pushliving/

A South Asian Indian man with glasses and a beard is signing in sign language with his two hands raised. The caption reads: "It was thrilling to learn this! I am so grateful to my mother!"

Deaf South Asian Americans: Shaji’s First Day

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: Shaji’s First Days in America 

August 10, 2013

Shaji Chacko is a Deaf Indian American who grew up in the Philadelphia area, after immigrating to the US from Hyderabad in the early 80s. I learned about Shaji through the grapevine of Deaf South Asian Americans in the east coast, after his brother and his mother contributed their experiences to SAADA as well. I look forward to interviewing Shaji, in-depth, this October during the Metro South Asian Deaf Association‘s 10th Anniversary mela!

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 interviews do not represent the entire community, they certainly offer some insight.

This story is part of SAADA’s project launch, “First Days” in which South Asian Americans describe their unforgettable experiences upon arriving and settling in the US.

In this video, Shaji describes learning about new weather and four strong seasons in America and the real reason (the poignant reason) he and his mother moved to the US first.

The entire post is here: http://sarikadmehta.com/2013/08/10/deaf-south-asian-americans-shajis-first-days-in-america/


 

Sarika D. Mehta

Website: http://sarikadmehta.com

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

Image of a circle filled with multicolored jigsaw pieces against a white background. On the lower right-hand side in bold black letters: EAPD

Media Partner #54: Employment Alliance for People with Disabilities

We’re fortunate to have the Employment Alliance for People with Disabilities as our 54th media partner!

From EAPD’s website:

The Employment Alliance for People with Disabilities (EAPD) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization working to ensure the highest success and independence of Americans with disabilities. We focus on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities and empowering business performance by leveraging best practices in diversity and disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain and marketplace.

Website: http://eapd.weebly.com

Twitter: @EAPDCB

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

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Employment-Alliance-People-Disabilities-4654671?gid=4654671

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/eapdcb/

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Disability Visibility Project: Mia Mingus, Part 3

The following are some excerpts from an interview conducted by Alice Wong, Project Coordinator of the DVP, with Mia Mingus on August 23, 2014 at StoryCorps San Francisco.

This is the last of three blog posts featuring Mia and Alice’s interview.

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On leaving evidence

Alice: I really want to read something about your blog Leaving Evidence and that’s how I came to know you through your writing and it was just really eye opening…when I first read your work, I’m like, this woman is mirroring what I’m thinking and feeling. “This passage really resonated with me. You write, “We must leave evidence, evidence that we were here, that we existed, that we survived and loved and ate. Evidence of the wholeness we never felt. An immense sense of fullness we gave to each other. Evidence of who we were, who we thought we were, who we never should have been. Evidence of each other, and there are other ways to live past survival, past isolation.” And, you know, I have to say that some of these ideas really, you know, must have given me the impetus to do this project because it is an extension of leaving evidence that people are coming together, having conversations like ours, and having this archive that we’re going to pass on to other people when we’re nothing… hopefully, when we are becoming dust particles, in the environment, then there will be lots of other clearly disabled women out there doing things. And then they can say… But what are your thoughts about leaving evidence and why you wrote that and how you came about that?

Mia: I wrote that because I couldn’t find any other things and it has been a cornerstone of like my work is that like the reason why I do it is because I want to leave evidence for other people. And I want us to be recognizable to each other. I want them to know that I was searching for them even long before they were born. And that I’m, I don’t know how they have survived, but I’m happy that they’re here. And whether they’re queer disabled people of color, whether they’re queer API, whoever they are like I. All of the, whether they’re adoptees like, I, I am happy that they have made it this far in their life or what have you. And I hope that they leave evidence too because I know had other people left more evidence. I, I was like, so hungry to find it and it was so hard for me to find. I also think that like, our lives are so much more complex than anyone gives us credit for and so I don’t wanna be in this like horrible like disability pride like machine where I have to be like wearing my I heart disability sandwich board and like ringing my bell everyday, and like disability is great.

I wanna talk about the hard parts of it. The days where it’s not great, and the days where I have so much pain that it’s like hard to get out of bed. And I wanna be able to talk about that without people saying like oh. You must, you must wish you were dead instead of being disabled.

I want to be able to have complex conversations around what it means to be a disabled queer woman of color and be trying to have loving relationships where access intimacy exists and where I don’t have to hide parts of myself in order to receive access. And that I can have the kind of like fullness and, and loving relationship and kind of, like, queer liberatory love that we talk about in queer political theory but that doesn’t seem to incorporate, like, understanding of ableism, and, and how ableism functions and how it, like, impacts our lives so deeply. As a queer person, like, I wanna be able to talk about that as a disabled person. So, it’s, that has been such a piece of my own work, and I think also, like, I don’t, you know, the work that I do is almost, most of it has been things that, like, people don’t wanna talk about. I do a lot of work around ending child abuse and ending sexual violence, and like, in the disability community especially, we don’t talk about those things, and yet, it’s happening all the time within about that. And yet it is happening all the time. So I see it as part of everything.


Photo of an Asian American woman standing from her wheelchair overlooking a railing. The background is a blue sky with green hills.

Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She identifies as a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living on the west coast.  She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love.  As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence.

Mia is a core-member of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BATJC), a local collective working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse that do not rely on the state (i.e. police, prisons, the criminal legal system).  She believes in prison abolition and urges all activists to critically and creatively think beyond the non-profit industrial complex.  Her work on disability justice has been cited and used in numerous texts and events around the world.

Mia was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change, an honor bestowed on Americans doing exemplary things to uplift their communities. Along with 14 other women, Mia was recognized as an Asian and Pacific Islander women’s Champion of Change in observance of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  Mia was a 2005 New Voices Fellow,  was named one of the Advocate’s 40 Under 40 in 2010, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 in 2009 by Angry Asian Man, one of Campus Pride’s Top 25 LGBT Favorite speakers for their 2009, 2010 and 2011 HOT LISTs, and was listed in Go Magazine’s 2013 100 Women We Love.  Mia was honored with the 2008 Creating Change Award (below) by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a community activist award for her “dedication and steadfast activism” in 2007 by ZAMI in Atlanta, GA.

Blog: http://leavingevidence.wordpress.com

Twitter: @miamingus

 


Asian-American woman with long black hair and glasses. She is wearing a floral print shirt.

 

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

Two Asian American women in wheelchairs sitting in front of a StoryCorps recording booth

Disability Visibility Project: Mia Mingus, Part 2

The following are some excerpts from an interview conducted by Alice Wong, Project Coordinator of the DVP, with Mia Mingus on August 23, 2014 at StoryCorps San Francisco.

This is the second of three blog posts featuring Mia and Alice’s interview.

Two Asian American women sitting next to each other both smiling. Both are wearing glasses.

 

On being visible and the expectations and obligations of advocacy

Alice: Talking about disability was very narrow in terms of what’s allowed. So that to me is like what’s really suffocating. People with disabilities who really want to extend the conversation. So it is infuriating and I think you and I both. Commonly we are ask again, and again to share our knowledge all the time to various groups like, “Oh we never knew this and we really would value your input and sometimes some of that is just expected free labor.

Mia: I mean I, I think it’s really complicated. So in my mind there are parts of it that are like free labor and I get exhausted. And at the same time I also think that like, I also feel really clear that like, this is my commitment at least, and so, I, and I get to have a choice in that, like, I choose to do that, but I also feel like, at least for me, like in this historical moment, I feel like we’re still, when we look back at this historical moment, we will see that we are still such a hairline from disabled people only, never being in the public sphere, right, only being institutionalized, only being kind of like kept in the back rooms of our houses or what have you. Or sometimes literally chained to the beds, in our houses, like, or being forcibly institutionalized in group homes, forcibly incarcerated in prisons, what have you. Like, I, I also feel like we’re at this particular moment in time where those of us who are here. I think in a lot of ways are obligated to do that work. Now obviously there are days where I’m exhausted and I’m like, I’m not. No, like I’m not gonna educate any body else for free and I feel like I’ve… gotten to at least where I am able to get paid for a lot of that education work. And it’s like, a delicate balance because you know? I think about the people that came before me.

 

On interdependency

Mia: I think one of the core pieces of my work around disability justice and like all disability justice work is interdependency in this kind of like rebuilding and reframing of what a liberatory way of understanding interdependency is. And I, I see that in everything and so I think part of that interdependency is I am both obliged and choose to show up for my, my folks and myself…I think there’s a way of understanding, like, a liberatory side of obligation that is not about, just kind of, like, reluctancy or, like, being resentful, but that is actually about like I, this is my duty and I, and I choose it willingly and I choose obligation

On aging and disability

Alice: I’d like to talk a little bit about the elder in you because I think, and aging, because I think you and I talked about this earlier and I think it’s definitely a part of the experience of disability. You and I are in, pretty young, I mean, by most standards and, 40 and 33, and yet I think because with our bodies and our disability, I think we are pretty amazing survivors… I feel 75, you know, just the energy, the wear and tear, and I think also just the, psychic or, you know, psychological, the micro aggressions, that really can erode, sometimes, a person’s feeling of self, and. A person is a person not, it really ages you, and I’d like to talk to you about what you think about, in terms of aging, and the process, and kind of your body changing over time…. we both know so many amazing people with disabilities, and yet they often die way too early. And part of why I’m doing this project is that when we really need to capture as many people’s stories. I really do feel like we’re like an endangered species sometimes.

You know, it’s like we’re really precious, our DNA and our contribution to the gene pool society is really unique, and we are dying out often. And I think dying out for a lot of reasons, you know a lot of societal reasons. We’re not getting enough supports, poverty, you know, oppression and our own bodies wearing out. So, tell me a little bit about your thoughts about changes in your body and how you feel on the inside, the elder in you.

Mia: I mean I do, we talk about this all the, we talk about this all the time that, that it, it’s like disability ages you faster. And, and you have to think about things differently than you know, like we might be young in like. Kind of traditional, ablest, able-bodied, supremacist understanding of age but in terms of disability were actually, [LAUGH]

Alice: We’re pretty old!

Mia: We’re pretty old. Like, I mean, I er, you know, I feel like my body, you know, the chronic pain is definitely getting more and more intense with every year… You know, and sometimes I don’t even know how to measure that any more. My baseline of, like, what regular, my ground level kind of zero, you know, of pain is just.

Alice: Sometimes it happens so gradually that it’s really hard to have a baseline.

Mia: It is and, and you have to, you have to try prepare for the gradual. Like, and you don’t know when it’s gonna happen. You know like, I. I feel like for me you know, I can read all the stuff about post polio that I want to but it doesn’t who knows how it’s gonna happen in my own body and what, when it’s gonna decide to come and be more intense or you know, what, what ever that process is gonna look like and yeah and I, I definitely feel a difference. A huge difference from even just, like, five years ago of, like, things that my body used to be able to do and things it can do now. And, you know, a part of that is also, like, I was, I had so much internalized ableism growing up that I think that I definitely pushed myself way too far. I was not even cognizant of things that I, that I shouldn’t have done, right? And things that I could have been doing to make myself more. Sus, sustainable but because I was living in this kind of able, in, living in this ableist world, but this like ableist understanding of my disabled body and because I didn’t have any type of like, disability framework to understand.

On work and retirement

Mia: You know, I’m thinking about retirement, or not even retirement, but like, what gets coded as retirement. Like, like, I’m thinking about, A K A, when I’m not able to work anymore… when my body is not able to work anymore.

Alice: Yeah.

Mia: And what I’m gonna have to do, and think about when that happens. Whereas, I feel like the woman of color trope, is like, you just work and work and work and work, and you know, like, that’s part of like, such a huge part of our identity I think as women of color. So what does it mean then to be a disabled woman of color and to really be like, putting forth questions around work? And what does work mean? What does it mean to be a woman of color who can’t work? Or who is not able to work as much, right? And like, in some ways I feel like it’s totally oppression that like makes us work harder and makes us look forced to carry the brunt of a lot of. Women’s work as just well as work in general, as women of color but then at the same time it’s also like we have this like attachment to that too that we do to ourselves and each other and its a catch 22 often times so. I think about that a lot. Around like, yeah, disability and aging.

Alice: Yeah and I think sometimes for me there’s this huge pressure to fit in, to do well and you know? Fit in within this ableist framework. And like you said, you have friends you know, mostly non-disabled. You know, it’s really I think, sometimes that learning experience coincided with growing up. I was pushing myself so hard and by my mid-twenties, and it was really until then, when I hit a wall, that I realized, oh my gosh, I need to make changes in my life, for myself.
And that I shouldn’t have to worry about the consequences of those changes.

Mia: Yeah, well and I also think just adding on to what you’re saying before that like, you know, I talk about this all the time but like the allure of ableism and the kind of like sexiness of ableism is so intense, you know, like that, that. I feel like it’s just, you, I push myself past it because it was also what I was told I was supposed to desire. Like, I was supposed to want to …work until I collapse. And it was like, Look how hard I’m working. I’m not only only a good capitalist in terms of working, but also so ableist. Look how able-bodied I can be. I’m about to push myself until I die. Go the next day for another 24 hour day or what have you. Like, like the allure is so intense, and not that’s, I like I often think about this. Like how, like what you said in the beginning, like how ableism is so a part of everything with you and so it’s entrenched in like our world that we don’t even see it you know?


Photo of an Asian American woman standing from her wheelchair overlooking a railing. The background is a blue sky with green hills.

Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She identifies as a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living on the west coast.  She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love.  As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence.

Mia is a core-member of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BATJC), a local collective working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse that do not rely on the state (i.e. police, prisons, the criminal legal system).  She believes in prison abolition and urges all activists to critically and creatively think beyond the non-profit industrial complex.  Her work on disability justice has been cited and used in numerous texts and events around the world.

Mia was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change, an honor bestowed on Americans doing exemplary things to uplift their communities. Along with 14 other women, Mia was recognized as an Asian and Pacific Islander women’s Champion of Change in observance of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  Mia was a 2005 New Voices Fellow,  was named one of the Advocate’s 40 Under 40 in 2010, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 in 2009 by Angry Asian Man, one of Campus Pride’s Top 25 LGBT Favorite speakers for their 2009, 2010 and 2011 HOT LISTs, and was listed in Go Magazine’s 2013 100 Women We Love.  Mia was honored with the 2008 Creating Change Award (below) by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a community activist award for her “dedication and steadfast activism” in 2007 by ZAMI in Atlanta, GA.

Blog: http://leavingevidence.wordpress.com

Twitter: @miamingus

 


Asian-American woman with long black hair and glasses. She is wearing a floral print shirt.

 

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

Image of a man with his head looking up, arms extended. the text next to him reads: I'm the Evidence. Celebrating Hope, Encouragement, Recovery

Media Partner #53: I’m the Evidence

I’m the Evidence/Mental Health Campaign (ITE/MH) is a campaign to raise awareness about how each of us can positively impact the lives of people in mental health recovery, by honoring human potential, creating opportunities, and offering encouragement.

ITE/MH celebrates people who are the living Evidence of mental health recovery, as well as those individuals, organizations, and communities that offer support and hope along the journey.

Check out some of their stories of recovery: http://www.itecampaign.org/stories-of-the-evidence/

Website: http://www.itecampaign.org/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Im-the-EvidenceMental-Health-Campaign/115615771860501

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Disability Visibility Project: Mia Mingus, Part 1

The following are some excerpts from an interview conducted by Alice Wong, Project Coordinator of the DVP, with Mia Mingus on August 23, 2014 at StoryCorps San Francisco.

This is the first of three blog posts featuring Mia and Alice’s interview.

Two Asian American women sitting next to each other both smiling. Both are wearing glasses.

On having a politicized queer and disability identity

Mia: I was just like, well, people are going to stare at me for the rest of my life, or things are just going to be inaccessible and that’s just the way the world is. You have to work around it. And being politicized for a disability has really helped me. And I think also, like, I mean, at least for me, like, being queer has, it’s totally. Such a gateway and like a an influence on even how I was able to come into understanding myself as disabled and coming to loving myself as disabled. My queer identity and my identity as a person of color…are all part of that. And so I really, like, give thanks to those movements, and those frameworks, because without them I don’t know that, I don’t know that I would have been politically disabled, in terms of like, you know, I often talk about the difference between descriptively disabled and politically disabled. And descriptively disabled people are just anybody who is disabled, but they may not understand themselves in a political way. And being politically disabled is really about folks who have an analysis about ableism, who feel a solidarity with other disabled people who understand their disabled experience as having political meaning and value and weight. And I don’t know that I would have come into that because I meet so many disabled people who are descriptively disabled and living disabled lives, but who are not politically disabled. Even though, they’re descriptively, you know, queer and politically.

On the intersections of multiple movements and communities

Mia: I think, well first off, I think being somebody who lives with multiple oppressed identities, it has always been just kind of ground level for me like it was something that was instinctual. And so coming into political movements and people being like we’ll talk about that, that’s a new thing. What do you mean by that, what do you mean your ways of connecting to your queerness and your sexuality’s connected to being disabled? But, an explicit example I feel like is, or a really concrete one, is Iike I think about the ways through my upbringing in a really close-knit feminist community, I learned about like. You know? Just the value of what it means to love yourself, and, in a world that doesn’t love you, right? In a world that, especially for women of color, not just women and girls, but women and girls of color, is trying to erase us. And then, what it means to love ourselves is profound. And that that is something that gets pathologized all the time. That gets demonized all the time. And that, we get told that it. It’s wrong and that it’s not okay to do that. You should be all of the regular stereotypes. I feel like that helped me so much, and was so aligned with what like, a queer narrative and a queer politicized understanding of what it means to love who you love.

On desire, sexuality and love

Mia: Whether that’s other queer people, like that who you love is a beautiful thing, and that love is a beautiful thing, and, and with that sexuality and who you desire, those are, those are magnificent things as well. And that those are as well politicized things that are important. And I feel like that type of, those two really close paths and, like, frameworks of, like, loving things and desiring things that, like, as women that we would desire other women, right? Whether they’re, whether, whether it’s a romantic relationship with other women, whether it’s friendships with other women, whether it’s supporting other women, whatever it is that we would desire each other is so powerful, and…those things… that path really lined up with disability because disability is something that, I mean, at least in my life, I was consistently told and received all of the regular messages that everybody else receives. That disability is wrong, that it’s something sad, it’s something… And I think also, just radically transforming these concepts, right? Like, who do you love? Love where people are really transforming the way, these rules, right? And I think people with disabilities often. Transforming the idea of what is a disability?

 

On building community for queer POC disabled people

Mia: And like the ways that Korean community hasn’t been accessible and the ways that the adoptee Korean community is totally inaccessible and the ways that thePOC community is totally inaccessible also and like the hard complications around that, that so it’s even hard to build your POC community, because you’re like building it underground, and you don’t have a lot of resources either. And then, but then it’s also like right, but there’s so many queer disabled of color who need access to queer POC community too, and like, how do we build access, when under capitalist system, access is always about money now. and is always about like exploiting more resources. And so, I mean, it’s, I’m just saying…I think it’s complicated….It’s something that I think about really differently, I feel like, than a lot of able-bodied friends.

 


Photo of an Asian American woman standing from her wheelchair overlooking a railing. The background is a blue sky with green hills.

Mia Mingus is a writer, community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. She identifies as a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the U.S. South, and now living on the west coast.  She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love.  As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence.

Mia is a core-member of the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (BATJC), a local collective working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse that do not rely on the state (i.e. police, prisons, the criminal legal system).  She believes in prison abolition and urges all activists to critically and creatively think beyond the non-profit industrial complex.  Her work on disability justice has been cited and used in numerous texts and events around the world.

Mia was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change, an honor bestowed on Americans doing exemplary things to uplift their communities. Along with 14 other women, Mia was recognized as an Asian and Pacific Islander women’s Champion of Change in observance of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  Mia was a 2005 New Voices Fellow,  was named one of the Advocate’s 40 Under 40 in 2010, one of the 30 Most Influential Asian Americans Under 30 in 2009 by Angry Asian Man, one of Campus Pride’s Top 25 LGBT Favorite speakers for their 2009, 2010 and 2011 HOT LISTs, and was listed in Go Magazine’s 2013 100 Women We Love.  Mia was honored with the 2008 Creating Change Award (below) by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and a community activist award for her “dedication and steadfast activism” in 2007 by ZAMI in Atlanta, GA.

Blog: http://leavingevidence.wordpress.com

Twitter: @miamingus

 


Asian-American woman with long black hair and glasses. She is wearing a floral print shirt.

 

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

A white woman with long brown hair in a pony tail. She is wearing sunglasses and smiling at the camera.

Guest Blog Post: Problematizing the Down Syndrome & Selective Abortion Debate

Jihan Abbas

Originally posted August 29, 2014 from:

http://communityresearcher.blogspot.com/2014/08/problematizing-down-syndrome-selective.html

Richard Dawkins caused controversy last week for an offensive tweet about Down syndrome, prenatal screening and selective abortion. In what is becoming somewhat of a predictable pattern, Dawkins said something offensive, tried to argue his opinion was based on logic, then after facing significant backlash offered a sort of sorry-not-sorry ‘apology.’

In this ‘apology’ he framed his position as one of science and ‘ours’ as one of ‘emotion.’ While he suggested his position defended women’s rights, subtle reminders throughout his ‘apology’ that linked disability, a mother’s choices and actions, and notions of morality contradicted this. His ‘apology’ was problematic in too many ways to count.

In this ‘apology’ he argued his position on selective abortion follows the logic of being pro-choice, as if the rights of women and persons with disabilities are necessarily separate. To follow this logic being a feminist, having a disability, and being a mother are all separate and distinct identities. This is of course not true.

He also argued he likely holds the moral high ground, as his position would reduce the suffering of others. At the same time he suggested knowingly bringing a child with Down syndrome into this world naturally perpetuates ‘suffering.’ This is also untrue and upholds ableist notions that link disability and suffering.

Furthermore, ‘proof’ of his logic rested on stereotypes of adults with Down syndrome as perpetual children, and the false assumption that having a child with Down syndrome means a lifetime of care for parents. This ignores a growing body of research that that rejects notions of care based on the separation of independent and dependent bodies. This also ignores the reality that persons with Down syndrome are contributing in real and meaningful ways that don’t fit this limited understanding.

Finally, he suggested that while he is sympathetic those of us that oppose his position, our arguments are based on ‘emotions’, and his are based on logic. In stating this he makes the assumption that what he knows of Down syndrome is based on ‘logical’ unbiased scientific evidence. Yet John Langdon Down, often uncritically referred to as the ‘father’ of Down syndrome, grounded his understanding of Down syndrome on racist ideas that argued Down syndrome was a genetic throwback to less evolved races. It’s a conveniently ignored fact that the ‘father’ of Down syndrome based his opinion of Down syndrome on notions of white supremacy.

The reality is that the ‘logic’ of science Dawkins is so keen to draw from has consistently been wrong where Down syndrome is concerned. It was wrong when people with Down syndrome were euthanized, it was wrong when it called for and achieved their mass incarceration, and it was wrong when it forcibly sterilized young adults. While a discussion about the ethics of prenatal screening and selective abortion needs to take place, to assume this discussion can take place without serious and critical reflection around the ‘logic’ shaping these discourses is illogical.

 


Jihan Abbas is a researcher with both personal and professional experience in the area of disability and equality rights and the former Director of Policy and Research for Independent Living Canada. Her research interests include disability and the labour market, social policy, and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. She is also one of the inaugural winners of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and am currently completing my PhD at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Blog: http://communityresearcher.blogspot.com

Twitter: 

Black and white illustration of a person in a wheelchair being squeezed by a caricature of Jerry Lewis who is speaking from a microphone as tears are pouring out of him, forming a puddle on the floor

Media Partner #52: Mike Ervin, aka Smart Ass Cripple

The Disability Visibility Project loves all types of cripples and Mike Ervin is one of the best bloggers that gives an unvarnished, most un-inspiring look at the disability experience.

From Smart Ass Cripple’s website:

Expressing Pain Through Sarcasm. Everybody Loves a Cripple but Everybody Hates a Smart Ass 

Got a question? Want a smart ass answer? Send your question to Ask Smart Ass Cripple at asksmartasscripple@gmail.com. Smart Ass Cripple is quick to spout an opinion on any topic, whether he knows anything about it or not.

Check out two books he has for sale, “Smart Ass Cripple’s Little Yellow Book” and “Smart Ass Cripple’s Little Red Book:” http://www.lulu.com/shop/view-cart.ep

Blog: http://smartasscripple.blogspot.com

A multiracial group of protesters, many of them using guide canes, holding large and colorful printed posters as they march outside beside a bed of red flowers in the sunlight. The messages say,  - Do you support equality or exploitation?  - Minimum wage should protect everyone.  - Same jobs deserve same pay.  - SourceAmerica exploits people with disabilities.  - CEO Salary: $500,000. Worker Pay: 20 cents.

Disability History: Protesting Sub-Minimum Wages for People with Disabilities

Message by John G. Paré Jr., Executive Director for Advocacy and Policy, National Federation of the Blind on their Facebook page on August 29, 2014:

Yesterday ADAPT, APSE, LPA, NCIL, NFB, and TASH conducted a very successful protest regarding SourceAmerica’s (formerly NISH) practice of paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage. Photo attached.

Special thanks to NCIL and APSE for there terrific participation and inspiring remarks.

On this Labor Day weekend, let’s pledge to redouble our effort to phase out and repeal section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This provision was wrong in 1938 and it is even more egregious today!

With over 400,000 of our disabled brothers and sisters toiling away in sheltered subminimum wage employment, on this Labor Day, let’s remember that it is sadly no time to celebrate.

SourceAmerica will undoubtedly launch a new wave of publicity to promote its programs, but no matter how much money it spends, subminimum wages will still be wrong.

Yesterday, at our protest, the passion for high expectations, the demand for equality, and the call for fair wages were palpable.

There is no place for subminimum wages in the lives of disabled Americans. We will live the lives we want. We will not stop our advocacy until all disabled Americans have the same wage protection as their non-disabled peers.

National Federation of the Blind

Website: https://nfb.org

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

Twitter: @NFB_voice