Image: collage of Geordi, Melora of DS9, and 7 of 9. #CripTrek logo to the left, science insignia with a disability logo] ‪#‎StarTrekDiscovery‬ ‪#‎StarTrek‬. Below this image is a black background with white text that reads: #CripTrek chat Disability Representation & Star Trek, September 1, 2016, 7 pm Eastern, Follow @geekygimp & @DisVisibility #StarTrekDiscovery

9/1: #CripTrek Twitter Chat

Hey disabled Star Trek fans – let’s let CBS know we’re here and we want disability representation in their new series, Star Trek: Discovery! Using two hashtags, #StarTrekDiscovery and #CripTrek, share an idea, picture, video, audio recording, piece of writing, or other digital representation of YOU and your love of all things Trek. Maybe a pic of the Vulcan salute, a poem confessing your Spock and Bones ship, or a video acting out your favorite scene – be creative!

Tweet at @StarTrekCBS and tell them why you want a disabled character in the cast! Post your contribution with the hashtags on Twitter or Instagram to make sure everyone sees your creation. You can also just share overall thoughts about disability and Trek using #CripTrek – we will keep the conversation going.

On September 1st at 7pm EST, Erin Hawley of The Geeky Gimp is will be hosting a Star Trek and disability Twitter chat along with Alice Wong of the Disability Visibility Project. For more about The Geeky Gimp: http://geekygimp.com

To join that chat, log onto Twitter and follow @geekygimp. Starting at 7pm EST, Erin will start posting the questions below and you can answer using the #CripTrek and #StarTrekDiscovery hashtags.

Questions:

Q1 What is the appeal of Star Trek? Why does it resonate with you as a fan? #CripTrek

Q2 Have you seen the sneak peak for #StarTrekDiscovery? What do you think? http://www.cbs.com/shows/star-trek-discovery/news/1005509/star-trek-discovery-announced-as-name-of-new-series/

Q3 What would you like to see in future Trek storylines? What other diverse characters do you want to see? #CripTrek

Q4 Who are your favorite disabled characters (recurring or guest) in Star Trek and why? #CripTrek

Q5 How do you think Star Trek has portrayed disability so far? Any problematic aspects to representation of disability? #CripTrek

Q6 In sci-fi, disability is often used as a metaphor. What are your thoughts on ‘disability as metaphor’ & its usefulness? #CripTrek

Q7 Why is it important to include disability in Star Trek, or any sci-fi universe? #CripTrek

Q8 .@SFdirewolf created the hashtag #TheFutureIsDisabled for the @DisVisibility project. What does that phrase mean to you? #CripTrek

White woman standing and leaning against a stone wall lined against city street. She has short cropped brown hair and is wearing a short-sleeved black shirt and blue denim jeans. Next to her is a manual chair with black cushion and back.

Guest Blog Post: Leg Envy/Arm Prejudice

Leg Envy/Arm Prejudice

By Heidi Johnson-Wright

All body parts are not created equal. This is often the opinion of non-gimps, especially when they take a break from their normal lives to observe gimps. Like when they stand on fully functioning legs waiting for their macchiatos, then take a window seat at the ADA table to sip and watch gimps pass by outside.

Before you know, a gimp rolls by in a chair. That gimp might be a CEO dressed in a bespoke suit and handmade Italian leather shoes on his way to a meeting at his blue chip company. Or she might be wearing a vintage Comme des Garcons dress and carrying a Fendi baguette while headed to a show of her artworks at a gallery. Or perhaps it’s just a regular Joe or Jane gimp. Doesn’t really matter, because the non-gimp’s instant reaction is typically something like:

“That poor gimp, confined to a wheelchair because of his/her useless legs.”

Legs, legs, legs! Unless you’re a Rockette or an Olympic long-jumper, why is this pair of body parts so gosh darn important? Why do non-gimps insist that these below-the-waist appendages are the only credible, non-pitiable way to get around in the world?

I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. I’m overly sensitive because I use a wheelchair. I’m bitter because I’ll never get to stand three hours in line to ride 90 seconds on a rollercoaster. I’m angry because I’ll never get to feel the excruciating tearing away of my ACL while playing intramural basketball.

Okay, perhaps you’re a little bit right. But only a little bit, because my main point is this: what in the Sam Hill is wrong with arms? Why do non-gimps never see a gimp pass by and think:

“That poor gimp, can’t wash her hair because of useless arms.”

Yes, dear reader, some of us wheelchair-using gimps also have arms that don’t measure up to non-gimp standards. In my case, the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that jolted my immune system into overdrive destroyed not only the joints in my legs, but also the joints in my arms. It’s been 40 years since I last touched the top of my own head.

I have to do a lot of things with aids for daily living, or ADLs for short. What’s an ADL, you ask? It’s a 50 cent piece of plastic that you order out of a catalog, pay $50 for and use to compensate for your gimped-up arms.

There are long-handled comb ADLs, long-handled toothbrush ADLs, long-handled shampoo applier ADLs, make-up brush ADLs, foot scrubber ADLs, dressing stick ADLs and of course, the ADL probably everyone has seen: reacher stick ADLs.

I have multiple cabinets, drawers and closets in my house filled with ADLs, because each is tailored to a specific task. I mean, forget about trying to use a spoon with an extended handle to put on your socks.

There are even some things that no ADL can compensate for. For instance, I could spend the gross national product of Guam on ADLs and still never be able to use a Q-tip for the task that the Q-tip company tells you – nudge, nudge; wink, wink – to never use it for.

So the next time you see me motoring by in my chair, don’t assume that non-functioning legs have put me in a wheeled, mechanical prison of despair.

Instead, assume that my closets are filled to bursting with 50 cent pieces of plastic.

 


Bio

Heidi Johnson-Wright

Outdoor photo of a white woman in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. She has short, cropped brown hair, gold earrings and is wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and blue denim jeans. She is sitting in a manual chair and there are historic buildings behind her.

 

I’m a lawyer but please don’t hold that against me. My day job is working as an ADA compliance professional for a large metropolitan area. I’ve had severe rheumatoid arthritis since childhood and am a full-time power wheelchair user. I’ve been a published free-lance writer for 24 years, writing mostly book and music reviews, as well as stories on accessible travel. I currently have a completed memoir manuscript that I am pitching to literary agents. I’m a native Clevelander who got smart and moved to Miami 16 years ago. My husband and I are two of the handful of gringos who live in Little Havana with our two kitties and a few renegade opossums.

CripLit Aug 29

8/29 #CripLit chat: Disabled Writers, Ableism & the Publishing Industry

#CripLit Twitter Chat

Disabled Writers, Ableism & the Publishing Industry

Co-hosts: Nicola Griffith @nicolaz

& Alice Wong @DisVisibility

Guest host: Denarii Monroe @writersdelite

Monday, August 29, 2016

4 pm Pacific/ 7 pm Eastern

The Disability Visibility Project is proud to partner with novelist Nicola Griffith in our second #CripLit Twitter chat for disabled writers. Nicola Griffith is the creator of the #CripLit series and the DVP is the co-host/supporting partner. For our second chat, we are both excited to have guest host Denarii Monroe, freelance writer, aspiring screenwriter, and activist.

All disabled writers are welcome to participate in the chat including reporters, essayists, poets, cartoonists, bloggers, freelancers, unpublished or published. We want to hear from all of you! Check the #CripLit hashtag on Twitter for announcements of future chats that will focus on different genres or topics.

How to Participate

Follow @nicolaz @DisVisibility @writersdelite on Twitter

Use the hashtag #CripLit when you tweet. If you only want to respond to the questions, check @DisVisibility’s timeline during the chat. The questions will be tweeted several minutes apart.  

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

If you don’t use Twitter and want to follow along in real-time, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripLit  

#CripLit Tweets for 8/29 chat

Welcome to #CripLit! Created by @nicolaz, we will discuss ableism & the publishing industry. Our guest host for this chat is @writersdelite

When we mention the publishing industry we include agents, editors, booksellers, publishers, media (print and online publications) #CripLit

…production and distribution companies (for screenwriters), etc. #CripLit

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripLit”

Q1 Please introduce yourself, describe your background in writing, and any links about you & your work #CripLit

Q2 What made you want to become a writer? How did you start & what are some of the major issues you face now in your writing? #CripLit

Q3 How is the publishing industry ableist/racist/sexist/cis-normative (among  others)? Share your thoughts and experiences. #CripLit

Q4 What barriers (physical, cultural, emotional) do you face as a disabled writer? #CripLit

Q5 Were you expecting the barriers you’ve encountered? What did you do? How did you feel? How did organisers respond? #CripLit

Q6 If you are a freelancer or are published, what is your advice to disabled writers who want to get their work out? #CripLit

Q7 In your interactions w/ the industry, how does ableism inform their ideas of what it takes to be a ‘professional’ writer? #CripLit

Q8 What’s your advice to other disabled writers on navigating and making connections w/ the publishing industry? #CripLit

Q9 In your opinion, how has ableism shaped the kinds of #CripLit published & authors that are promoted?

Q10 What messages do you want to send to those in the publishing industry (agents, book buyers, editors) about #CripLit & ableism?

This concludes our 2nd #CripLit chat! Please keep the convo going. Thank you very much to our guest host @writersdelite!!

Be sure to tweet co-hosts @nicolaz @DisVisibility questions, comments, and ideas for the next #CripLit chat

Additional Links

Disability Art, Scholarship and Activism

Nicola Griffith (5/18/16)

Writing Culture Has An Ableism Problem

Denarii Monroe (6/14/16)

Dear Able Friends: I Am Not Your Inspiration Porn

Karrie Higgins (10/5/15)

4 Ways the Publishing Industry Promotes Ableism

Katherine Lampe (10/9/15)

Fat Writers: On Privilege, Ableism, and Humanity

Kristian Wilson (5/19/16)

Writing program association continues to debate access for members with disabilities

Josh Logue (3/28/16)

About

Denarii Monroe

An Instagram image that is square shaped with a black border. Image of a Black woman with curly natural hair with a small red bow on the left side of her hair. She is wearing a black long-sleeved shirt with a print of red flowers. She is smiling at the camera and looking slighting off camera.

 

Denarii (rhymes with “canary”) is an aspiring screenwriter, freelance writer, and a weirdo born, raised, and based in New York. She’s a Rutgers University alum and a two-year Pace University dropout; she studied English and Adolescent Education, respectively. She’s written for BlogHer, Black Girl Dangerous, Everyday Feminism, Wear Your Voice Mag, Extra Crispy (a subsidiary of Time, Inc.), and is a regular contributor at Ravishly. You can follow her on Facebook and find her on Twitter and Instagram ([at]writersdelite). Selfies, pictures of her dog named Dog, the new addition to her family – a kitten named Cat, raving about Matthew Gray Gubler, and ranting (or retweeting) about the writing process and racist, ableist, classist, fat-antagonistic heteropatriachary. She loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as soul food, red wine, cooking and baking, and the blues. Hanson is her favorite band ever (yes, that Hanson).

Source: http://www.ravishly.com/contributors/9223

 

Nicola Griffith is a native of Yorkshire, England, where she earned her beer money teaching women’s self-defence, fronting a band, and arm-wrestling in bars, before discovering writing and moving to the US. Her immigration case was a fight and ended up making new law: the State Department declared it to be “in the National Interest” for her to live and work in this country. This didn’t thrill the more conservative powerbrokers, and she ended up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, where her case was used as an example of the country’s declining moral standards.

Photo against a black background of a white woman with short sandy blonde hair. She is smiling and looking slightly toward the left-hand side of the image. She has a metallic necklace on and a dark-colored top. A microphone is in front of her.

In 1993 a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis slowed her down a bit, and she concentrated on writing. Her novels are Ammonite (1993), Slow River (1995), The Blue Place (1998), Stay (2002), Always (2007) and Hild (2013). She is the co-editor of the BENDING THE LANDSCAPE series of original short fiction. Her multi-media memoir, And Now We Are Going to Have a Party: Liner Notes to a Writer’s Early Life, is a limited collector’s edition. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in an assortment of academic texts and a variety of journals, including Nature, New Scientist, Los Angeles Review of Books and Out. She’s won, among others, the Washington State Book Award, the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, the Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Awards.

Source: https://nicolagriffith.com/2014/02/24/about/

Image of an Asian American woman wearing glasses sitting in a wheelchair wearing a blouse with a flower print.

Alice Wong is a San Francisco-based disability advocate, freelance journalist, television watcher, cat lover, and coffee drinker. Alice is the Founder and Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. Currently she is a co-partner with Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan for #CripTheVote, a non-partisan online campaign encouraging the political participation of people with disabilities. She is also a Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF.

 

Graphic with a white background. In text in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple), it reads: #CripTheVote. On the right side is the graphic of a voting box with a marked ballot and the box has 4 quadrants with pictures of a wheelchair, 2 hands signing, a person using a cane and image of a person's brain

#CripTheVote Events Sept-Nov 2016

It’s hard to believe there are approximately 80 days until Election Day 2016! The co-partners of #CripTheVote, Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong have been busy organizing and planning some activities from now until Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Here is a list of our upcoming events for September – November 2016. Some details may be subject to change. For updates, check the #CripTheVote hashtag on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook group.

Sep 19, 7 pm EST: Twitter chat

Political participation and first-time voters with Guest Hosts Rock The Vote and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)  

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1778702719080783/

Sep 26, 9 pm EST: Live-tweet

First Presidential Debate

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1159979410712393/

Sep 27, 5 pm EST: Twitter chat

Storytelling and Voting with Guest Host Rooted in Rights

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1740235639565213/

Oct 4, 9 pm EST: Live-Tweet

Vice Presidential Debate

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/266153630436350/

Oct 9, 9 pm EST: Live-Tweet

Second Presidential Debate

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/325830454425654/

Oct 13, 8 pm EST:  Twitter chat

Poverty, Public Programs, and Economic Self-Sufficiency

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/895236630611218/

Oct 19, 9 pm EST: Live-Tweet

Third Presidential Debate

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1048281138620856/

Oct 22, 8 pm EST: Twitter chat

Congressional, State, & Local Elections

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1754853308135390/

November 8, 8 pm EST: Live-Tweet

Election Day!!!

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/583511798495943/

 

We heard loud and clear from the disability community that there is a need for thoughtful conversations about disability policies and issues. We are grateful for the way the community has taken ownership and responsibility for this campaign. #CripTheVote will continue well after Election Day with a broader scope outside of Presidential elections. We will announce our next steps sometime this November!!

 

Thank You!!

In Solidarity, Gregg, Andrew & Alice

#CripTheVote

Black woman taking a selfie from her hospital bed. She has a blanket wrapped around her up to her neck and behind her are various medical devices and equipment on the wall. She is puckering her lips and looking right at the camera.

Guest Blog Post: Being Black Looking Good While Chronically Ill

#DisabilityTooWhite

Being Black Looking Good While Chronically Ill

By Rachel Lovejoy

Quit my job in Chicago, my hometown and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was a single, African American woman pushing 30 and I came north in 1997 ‘husband-hunting’. Snared my (first) husband in 1998 and he married a migraineur. “Honey, I’ve a headache,” was said on the regular. Poor guy. On Easter Sunday, April 4, 1999 as I headed to our basement, my right side went numb and I fell down the stairs. My right cheek, arm and leg were weak. I was held for a day and released. I miscarried that summer. My headaches never stopped. It exhausted me. My General Practitioner and neurologist sent me to a mental health pill pusher. They ALL wanted me to take ‘em and, ‘buck-up girlie, you’re still fertile.’ Wink.

Yeah, my GP and shrink winked, as if to say, ‘we all know that you’re going to get pregnant in like 6 minutes so, shut up already and take a happy pill.’ Our suburban neighborhood was swimming in mothers on happy pills. Deal me in! Unfortunately the ones I took made me unhappy and weak but I took them long enough to prove that a) I wasn’t suicidal and b) I was really allergic to ‘em.

My 1st child was born in 2000. And immediately after, I lost sensation in my hands and was beyond tired. I slumped and schlepped into parenthood with fingers that didn’t work. My hands didn’t feel heat. I burned my baby’s bottom! I freaked out but my GP and OB said, “You’re just scared of your kid. And you’re overweight. Take some happy pills!” How in the holy-rosary will psychiatric pills help my exhaustion, my weak arms and numb hands?

I was an at-home-mom with a biracial child. Door to door salesmen addressed me as the nanny or housekeeper. Other moms at home assumed I was lost when I went to our local park. I’ll never forget the Chico’s-wearing, Scandi-Minnesotan who slowly, over articulated to me that, “This paaark is.for. reeezeedents.” I lived within walking distance. I was perceived as a social-racial anomaly or other and I felt pretty isolated in our community. I remember packing to leave the maternity ward that first time and an elderly volunteer helped me. She said, “Be sure to use protection, your people are known to get pregnant fast. Ufda!” Really?!

A young Black woman with hair tied in pig tails wearing a blue t-shirt. She is sitting at booth with two of her young biracial daughters, both are wearing tank tops with their hair tied back.

I was weak as f***, until I got pregnant 5 months later, even though I breastfed full time. I felt great pregnant, all the way up to the difficult, 2nd delivery. An anesthesiologist said I was too fat for an epidural. Who says that to a pregnant woman? Oh wait, I’m black. I hemorrhaged. I spent 4.5 hours in pain, blacking out and being harassed by a night nurse who said my behavior was exaggerated. I begged her to tell me how much blood I’d lost. At shift change my new nurse checked my blood count and it was dangerously low. The night nurse blanched. I got two transfusions and the night nurse voluntarily stayed to keep me company as I received them. I got hives, a crushing migraine post-transfusion but my guilt-ridden nurse had left by then. Again, I had to petition for medical care. My hands were more numb than before and then my feet followed suit. Even though my list of symptoms seemed to be mounting, I left the hospital to care for my newborn and 15-month-old.

A Black woman on a hospital bed and she is receiving a blood transfusion. There is a tube with blood connected to a large machine with hanging bags of blood.

My GP thought I was bored. “If you just got a job, you’d feel better.” Riiiiight. No. I had an attack with one-sided weakness again over Memorial weekend, 2002. An on-call resident ordered an MRI and saw something but said, not to worry. When my neurologist returns from safari, I’ll hear more. No joke.

Life got busy with me fighting insurance companies to cover my medical exams. I avoided going in to be seen as long as I could, until I lost sight in my right eye. I was passed around my health system then. No, I wasn’t diabetic. I didn’t have lupus but since I’d taught myself how to read blood work by then, I knew it was something like it. I was shuttled from discipline to discipline with doctors routinely stating, “Well, you look good and seem to be moving fine.” I struggled to be seen by vague, patronizing specialists with toddlers in tow. While in pain. Y’all said I had the eyes of a 70 year old and I was only 33.

After 2 spinal taps, my bow-tied neurologist sat me down and told me about a disease called Multiple Sclerosis. Like we were eating cucumber sandwiches and he had a saucy secret. He was annoyed to be talking to me, well, us. My toddler was touching drawers as we talked and he freaked out and grabbed her. Startled, I put her in my lap. He pushed bags with CDs, VHS tapes from MS drug companies into my hands, and there was a scrawled note with ‘National MS Society’ on it – all of that had to fall to the floor because, BABY! He said, “Your tests show markers of this disease. I’m not diagnosing you with it. (Scoffing sigh,) I only know white patients with this disease. And YOU’RE BLACK!”

Sooooo fired. I’d been that dandy of a doctor’s patient for half a decade and he threw his hands up at the sight of a black woman with a problem that he’d never seen on a Person of Color. Yet, wouldn’t I like to try one of these drugs made for an illness you prolly have, but girl, who do you think you is?

I found another neuro who did his own battery of tests without torturing me (spinal taps are horrendous.) I was officially diagnosed with MS in 2004. From 2004-2007, my doctors would not acknowledge my pain unless I convinced them it wasn’t blood-sugar related. I had rigorous glucose labs done, unnecessarily. Pain was then treated but labeled as ‘unusual or uncommon’ by my neurologist. I tried to return to work part-time in ‘07 but I couldn’t stay healthy. I swore the kids were bringing home plagues. My 2nd husband and I lived in a crumbly, 100 year old Minneapolis home that we used as an ATM, to pay for my MS drugs until we met the annual out-of-pocket. We were losing equity fast. I applied for Social Security Administration disability benefits but was denied. Then I reapplied. My hearing was held in 2011. I received a disability status from the SSA after 3 years of waiting. And by then my heart murmurs, leukemia, endometriosis (and MORE) had been discovered. We needed the money and I needed Medicare.

I became an advocate and activist for persons with disabilities in 2005. I’ve served on several community boards since with the aim to be helpful and to give my disabled person of color, motherly perspective. I’ve served on national initiatives too. These blessed experiences have made me ever so mindful of being the only.freaking.person-of-color at the muther-luvin’ table. Like, always.

A Black woman wearing glasses wearing a multicolored dress holding a white cardboard sign that reads "Silent No More."

Right now? Psshhh, listen. I’m tired. I’ve no filter. I’m done tokenizing myself this way. I’m traumatized by the passive-aggressive, clueless (racist) nature of non-profit organizations pulling in money to address POC’s needs and who aren’t prepared to seek out POC professionals and pay them to work on it. Tack on driving while black and gun-violence here and across the nation. Then, have encounters with assumptive, dismissive pediatric specialists who belittled, minimized one of my daughter’s health complaints for years. And the result is a combative, chronically ill teen that doesn’t trust her doctors.

A Black woman with long braids wearing a blue jacket with a hoodie. She has a drum around her body and is holding two drumsticks.

When I use my handicap parking decal, since I look so good (werk!), I’m watched, evaluated and judged every time I use a handicap-accessible stall. Sometimes there’s a slow-talking, over-annunciating person ready, white-splaining to me why I, a disabled, college educated, licensed driver who’s blackity-black and isn’t in a wheelchair, can’t park there.

Two women of color at an outdoor protest. One is holding a sign that says, "No Peace. Justice Now! BLM" The other woman is holding the leash with a dog

I’m a professional sick person averaging 2 surgeries a year and y’all need to leave me alone, ‘cuz I need to be well for my teens. I’m here, I’m here, I am here! My illnesses exist even if you can’t see them. From 1995 to 2015, I learned that I’m allergic to most SSRIs, neuroleptic AND pain meds. I’ve lost hair. Tongue has swelled several times. The last 2 new drugs I tried put me in cardiac arrest and produced seizures, respectively.

I’ve had to prove that I’m sick for so long. It’s time to just, be… a patient, a mom, a WOMAN.

Me.

About

A Black woman with her left fist in the air in a sign of solidarity and Black power. She is wearing a teal colored t-shirt.

Rachel Lovejoy is a disability advocate and community activist living in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). She likes to laugh in the face of illness. Her struggle to get diagnosed with MS and to keep her insurance inspired her to be an upstart with NGOs and local law makers; Lovejoy’s aim: to initiate positive conversations and inclusive actions on behalf of persons with disabilities, for women, for kids and People of Color. Hell yeah, she served on the PTA, sucka! Admittedly, a chronic tweeter, Lovejoy ignores living life actual to live tweet hashtag trends. It.is.glorious. Born, raised and a practicing Catholic, Lovejoy sings too loudly at her rock-star-social-justice-y church and is permitted to read to the congregation from time to time. It is the most awesome church. Seriously. Her teenage daughters are still talking to her.

A Black woman with curly hair wearing a striped turtleneck. The the left of her are her two teenage biracial daughters, both with curly hair.

8/4: Online Vigil for the Murdered Disabled People of Sagamihara

Black image with white text that reads: Online Vigil and Chat Disabled People of Tsukui Yamayuri En Sagamihara, Japan Thursday, August 4, 2016 8 pm Eastern 9 am Japan (Aug. 5) Hosts @DisVisibility @dominickevans Guest host: @peckitt #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

August 2016 post-script: A Storify of the online vigil can found here: https://storify.com/SFdirewolf/sagamiharadvp-mourning-the-disabled-people-murdere#publicize

Online Vigil and Chat

Disabled People of Tsukui Yamayuri En

Sagamihara, Japan

Thursday, August 4, 2016

8 pm Eastern

9 am Japan (Aug. 5)

 

The Disability Visibility Project will be partnering with disabled filmmaker and activist Dominick Evans in an online vigil and chat remembering the 19 disabled people of the Tsukui Yamayuri En residential care facility in Sagamihara, Japan who were murdered and the 26 people that survived on July 26, 2016.

Joining us as a guest host is Dr. Michael Gillan Peckitt, an academic who lives in Nada-Ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He runs a disability related website ‘The Limping Philosopher’ and you can find him on Twitter: @Peckitt.

  • We do not presume to speak for or represent disabled people living in Japan (and in Tsukui Yamayuri En specifically). We cannot possibly imagine what they are going through right now.

 

  • We can collectively share our pain and show solidarity and support to  disability communities in Japan. We can talk about the lack of media coverage and overall attention paid to this mass killing rooted in hate.

 

  • While everyone is welcome, this online vigil will be centered on the voices and lives of disabled people, especially disabled people of color who have been so impacted.

 

  • There will be discussions of violence, ableism, murder, and death. Please practice self-care. You can find our questions for our chat below if you want to prepare.

Also note: the conversation on 8/4 will NOT cover the following:

-The murderer and his background

-Cultural attitudes toward disability, specifically Japan

-Debates about institutionalization vs. community living

-Policies, legislation, or ideas on ‘improving’ security and preventing violence

-Demands or petitions of any kind. This is a time and space for reflection.

How to Participate

Follow @dominickevans @DisVisibility @Peckitt on Twitter.

Look for the hashtag #SagamiharaDVP or tweets from @DisVisibility to start the facilitation of the chat on 8/4 at 8 pm Eastern.

When tweeting, use 2 hashtags: #SagamiharaDVP and #Sagamihara.

#SagamiharaDVP will be used so folks can find this specific conversation easily.

#Sagamihara to make our conversation visible to people who need to know more about the disability experience.

If you don’t use Twitter and want to see the tweets about the online vigil as it happens, you can go to this link and follow the conversation: http://twubs.com/SagamiharaDVP

If you’re new to Twitter chats, check out this explanation of what happens during a chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

#SagamiharaDVP Tweets 8/4 online vigil and chat

Welcome to our online vigil for the 19 disabled people murdered at Tsukui Yamayuri En #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

We plan to talk openly about ableism, murder, eugenics & death. Please practice self-care if triggered. #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

We will NOT talk about the murderer, mental health, politics, causes or prevention of violence, or security #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Please avoid any speculation or making generalizations or comparisons of cultures Not useful or helpful. #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

More importantly, this is a time to mourn collectively & show solidarity and support #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP”  

At this time, please tweet and share your grief and thoughts for the dead. Questions coming next. #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Q1 What was your response when you heard about the mass murder at #Sagamihara? How did you feel? What did you think? #SagamiharaDVP

Q2 Currently, how are you processing what happened #Sagamihara? How do you practice self-care when such events happen? #SagamiharaDVP

Q3 We may never know their names/anything about their lives. How can we honor them & their memory going forward? #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Q4 What messages of support and solidarity do you want to share with surviving disabled people from #Sagamihara? #SagamiharaDVP

Q5 Do you think the world took enough notice of what happened in #Sagamihara? What’s your assessment of the media coverage? #SagamiharaDVP

Hate, ableism, eugenics & euthanasia are intertwined in the murders of disabled people in #Sagamihara. #SagamiharaDVP

Q6 Do you think these murders are a form of ableist terrorism and genocide? If so, why? Something else? #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Q7 As a disabled person, what final thoughts do you want to share, specifically with non-disabled people, about #Sagamihara? #SagamiharaDVP

This concludes our online vigil & chat. Thank you to @Peckitt @dominickevans & everyone who participated #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Feel free to continue the conversation and remember to take care of yourself and those you love! #Sagamihara #SagamiharaDVP

Additional Links

Actions, Articles and Statements on Sagamihara, Japan

Kit Mead, August 3, 2016

About

Michael Gillan Peckitt

A white man sitting on a bench with a cane. He is wearing dark sunglasses and has a black cap on his head. Behind him is an urban landscape of a city in Japan

Born in Sheffield in 1978, Michael studied Philosophy at the University of Hull, obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in 2001 and his PhD in 2010.  He has had left-sided spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy  and epilepsy since birth. He was a tutor at Hull University from 2003-2006 and is since May 2012 is an Honorary Research Associate attached to the Philosophy Department.  Until October 2013 he was an Honorary Visiting Researcher at the University of Tokyo. Michael is currently a part time lecturer at Osaka University.

Michael married Minae Inahara in 2007, herself a writer on disability and Philosophy PhD. whom he lives with in Japan.

Dominick Evans

Photo of a man with short dark hair and glasses. He has stubble around his chin and neck. He is in a wheelchair with a black headrest behind him. He is wearing an argyle-print sweater in different shades of blue.

Dominick Evans is a director/filmmaker, activist, writer, advocate, Polish American, and trans man from the Midwest who lives in New York. He currently works for the Center for Disability Rights as a Media & Entertainment Advocate. Dominick is a passionate human rights activist who has extensive experience fighting for the rights of the disability and LGBTQ communities. Follow his film career and join his weekly Twitter chat on film and disability by following #FilmDis. He currently has a BFA in Film and is close to completing a BA in Political Science. You can check him out at his website, dominickevans.com.

Alice Wong
Image of an Asian American woman in her bedroom. She's in a wheelchair and wearing a mask around her nose with a tube. She has a multi-colored plaid scarf around her neck.

Alice Wong is a San Francisco-based disability advocate, freelance journalist, television watcher, cat lover, and coffee drinker. Currently, she is the Founder and Project Coordinator for the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. Currently she is a co-partner with Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan for #CripTheVote, a non-partisan online campaign encouraging the political participation of people with disabilities. She is also a Staff Research Associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.

 

Image with a black background composed of 3 photos and text in white. On the lower left-hand corner is a photo of an African American woman with short black hair. She's inside an office and sitting nearby a table with a computer. She's wearing a beige pullover and smiling at the camera. In the upper-left-hand side is a photo of a young man with one above-the-knee amputation on his left leg. He is balancing two crutches with his left arm. He is wearing denim shorts, that, glasses and a beard. Behind him is a neighborhood by the beach with a row of palm trees. On the lower-right hand side of the image is a photo of a young white woman with long reddish-blond hair. Her left arm is raised and her hand bent against her face. She is smiling and wearing a white and magenta-striped t-shirt. On the upper right-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges"

Celebrating Disability Culture: Interview with #Superfest2016 Judges

As someone who loves film, it’s dismaying to find such an uneven range of films about disabled people. There are the treacly, Oscar-bait films that follow every inspirational trope and played by non-disabled people. Some of those films in the inspirational category are patently ableist and send dangerous messages about disability *cough, Me Before You, cough.*  There are the mediocre ones that may be ‘about’ disability’ and created by disabled people that are just *meh.* And then every once in a while there are awesome films that “get” disability culture with nuance and complexity like this year’s Finding Dory by Pixar.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Superfest is the world’s longest running disability film festival, celebrates disability as a creative force in cinema and culture. Presented by the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the festival will take place on October 22nd in Berkeley and October 23rd in San Francisco.

Graphic that says: Superfest International Disability Film Festival. A small circle in blue has text that reads "Join us for our 30th anniversary!" The image is an illustration of a wheelchair with the back seat with the chair with the label, 'Director'. Below in small text reads: "Illustration by Tatyana Boyko, The ARC San Francisco"

I had the pleasure of interviewing three judges for Superfest 2016: Elizabeth Grigsby, Alex Locust, and Katie Murphy. Below are condensed excerpts from my interviews with them. Thank you to Elizabeth, Alex, and Katie for participating and thank you to Emily Smith Beitkis, Associate Director of the Longmore Institute for connecting us!

For more on Superfest: http://www.superfestfilm.com

Tell me a little about yourself and how you became involved with Superfest

Elizabeth: I’ve been an advocate pretty much for myself for a very long time. I don’t believe in taking no for an answer. I believe just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean  you can’t have the life the way you want it. Your disability shouldn’t define you because we are not our disability. I became involved in Superfest because of Emily Smith [Beitiks]. I believe in the mission of people with disabilities telling their stories of letting people know how fabulous we are and how we need to be listened to and heard.

Katie: I recently graduated from San Francisco State University with an MA in Women and Gender Studies. During my time as a student, I worked an on-campus non-profit, the Longmore Institute on Disability which co-organizes Superfest with the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. One of my first assignments for that position was to vet a list of possible community supporters for that year’s festival. I went on to do a lot of work to prepare for the 2014 festival and the 2015 judging. In addition to bringing me into the Superfest fold, my position at the Longmore Institute really enhance my academic work as a disability studies scholar and activism as autistic self-advocate.

Alex: I am a graduate student at San Francisco State University earning my master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. I moved to San Francisco to pursue this degree and have been in awe of the breadth of opportunities available in the Bay Area to immerse myself in the disability community. On campus I am the president of the Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association, a student organization dedicated to infusing disability awareness into campus culture and our local community…I had volunteered for Superfest last year and absolutely loved the festival so I was over the moon when I heard about the chance to become involved this year as a judge.

Is this your first year of judging? Tell me about your experiences judging this year. If you judged films for several years, tell me how your experiences changed over time.

Alex: Overall judging for Superfest was that rare form of holy grail experiences in life. Screening all of the films taught me a great deal about my own ideas around disability, both in reinforcing positive values I hold and by shining a light on biases and assumptions that I need to work on. At the end I felt so invigorated and energized knowing I was fortunate enough to have been a part of this experience…I am excited to see this films showcased at Superfest because I hope that their success will encourage other disabled artists to pursue creating pieces without the pressure of big budget or mainstream backing.

Photo of a darkened room with a row of tables facing a screen. Many people are sitting at tables looking intently at something.

A panel of judges for Superfest 2016 gather and debate after a screening.

Katie: This is my first year serving as a judge, but I did attend last year’s judging weekend as part of my job with the Longmore Institute. That was where I first discovered I have a knack for doing live audio-description – basically, describing the action on the screen for the blind members of the panel. I did that again this year. The big difference between last year and this year is that I felt a lot freer making my opinions known during discussion because I was officially a judge.

What is the most fun aspect of judging films for a film festival?

Katie: Getting to see films that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to view.

Elizabeth: The most fun experience was getting to know everyone and actually getting to see the films.

Alex: Every week I got to escape to an alternate reality at the Institute where were immersed in narratives around disability and engaged in critical discussions about them. Seeing so many portrayals of disability made it abundantly clear that these films can and should be happening outside of our Bay Area bubble…Not only did I love getting to see all these films, but also the community element of judging was probably my fondest memory of the process…Whether we completely agreed or were in utter opposition, we always had a good time and I need more spaces in my life where I can hang out and make genuine connections with other disabled people.

Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand corner is a photo of an African American woman with short black hair. She's inside an office and sitting nearby a table with a computer. She's wearing a beige pullover and smiling at the camera. On the right in white text: "I am proud to know Superfest and I’m gonna celebrate with excitement and joy because I’m gonna tell everyone I know to come to Superfest and be a part of something special, meaningful, and spectacular." -Elizabeth Grigsby, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

What is the most challenging aspect of judging films for a film festival?

Elizabeth: The most challenging was deciding which films to pick and which ones to get rid of.

Alex: …it’s much easier to say how something makes you feel rather than why, which is the meat of what we discussed during judging…The diversity of experiences of the panel added so much depth to the conversations about the films and are something that I rarely experience in my day to day life. Because the judges retreat allowed for more time to discuss the films, I noticed a much heavier emphasis on the film making process, which is important. I feel more confident about showcasing the films with the insight of experienced filmmakers weighing in on the submissions.

After screening 100+ films I found myself becoming fond of some films over others (I’m only human) and it was great to have a team of peers to challenge me in those moments. At the end of the screening process we were all struggling to make those final cuts. What should be a conversation of “does this film do a better job of embodying our mission than others?” at times also felt like something to the effect of “is this film about blindness better than this film about deafness?”…Thankfully I am confident that with Emily Beitiks’ guidance and our collective feedback we have selected the best films for the festival, despite the challenges we faced along the way.

Katie: Communication and coming to a decision as a panel…for a festival like Superfest, judges have differing opinions that go beyond the technical or artistic quality of the film. We all have different lived experiences of disability; we all belong to different communities. This shapes our understanding of what counts as a good portrayal of disability. The challenging part is respecting everyone’s opinions as results of lived experience – while still advocating for the films you think are the best.

Do you have a particular favorite or standout film that you feel strongly about? If there’s one film someone should see at Superfest this year?

Katie: My personal favorite would have to be Supersonic, a superhero film from the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust. It’s an origin story/coming of age tale about a black, Deaf teenage boy as he struggles to reconnect with his father. The film deals with racism, city life, the power of stories, and Deaf family life. I wrote my Masters thesis about disabled masculinities in speculative fiction, so Supersonic was right up my alley. There’s a lot of symbolic imagery in the film, so it was really fun to audio describe as well. Overall, the film has a lot of heart and emotional depth while still featuring all the triumphant superhero fun you’d expect from a summer blockbuster.

Alex: …I will say that “Awake” effortlessly accomplishes every criteria we were screening for during judging. I was enamored with how many elements of the characters disabilities were highlighted in such a short film and in a delicate way that wasn’t forceful or blunt. The film showcases their skills as independent, blind women in such a finessed way that it both is subtle and unspoken while simultaneously being the focus of the narrative. The characters are engaging, charming, and complex; the acting is high caliber; it features disabled actors in disabled roles; and best of all the film left me feeling the warm and fuzzies without being too cloyingly sweet. It plants a seed to reflect on and is the kind of short film I would love people to cite as high quality work done by and for people with disabilities.

Elizabeth: The film that I liked the most was the one about Patty when she described her experience on BART when she was looking across to that guy.

Why are film festivals like Superfest so important? What does it mean to you to have a festival focused on the lived experience of disability?

Alex: Festivals like Superfest are so critical because they are publicly dismantling the ableism that is dominating Hollywood right now…Superfest is undoing all of these negative assumptions and then some. “Disabled actors can’t act.” Clearly they can. “Making films isn’t an accessible process.” Obviously these filmmakers have had success…Lastly, the measures that the coordinators take to make the festival accessible set the bar as a shining example of how to make a festival inclusive to an audience of varied disabilities.

Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand side is a photo of a young man with one above-the-knee amputation on his left leg. He is balancing two crutches with his left arm. He is wearing denim shorts, that, glasses and a beard. Behind him is a neighborhood by the beach with a row of palm trees. On the right in white text: "Festivals like Superfest are so critical because they are publicly dismantling the ableism that is dominating Hollywood right now." -Alex Locust, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Elizabeth: …Superfest is important to let non-disabled people know that even though you have a disability, you can have a good quality of life just like everyone else.

Katie: Superfest is uniquely important due to its embeddedness within the disability community, specifically the Bay Area disability community…There’s a real sense of community ownership tied to the festival, which gives everyone involved the privilege of inviting filmmakers from across the country and the globe into our community. On the other side of the coin, the sense of community also empowers our audience to speak up when the festival strays from their expectations.

Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand side is a photo of a young white woman with long reddish-blond hair. Her left arm is raised and her hand bent against her face. She is smiling and wearing a white and magenta-striped t-shirt. On the right in white text: "Disabled people have been on the screen since the beginning...The problem is that disabled people do not have much control over how the mainstream media represents us." -Katie Murphy, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

What are your thoughts on the lack of representation by disabled people in filmmaking (behind and in front of camera)?

Elizabeth: They need to have real people with disabilities act in movies instead of getting people without disabilities to play the part like the movie “My Left Foot” starring Daniel Day Lewis. I think it should have been a real actor with a disability. Even though I like Daniel Day Lewis, it takes away the authenticity.

Katie: In my mind, the underrepresentation of disabled people in filmmaking comes about in two ways: exclusion and erasure. Exclusion is probably the most widely talked about: disabled actors and creators are not being hired or even given the chance to hone their crafts at the amateur level. Due to systemic ableism, there are about a million factors preventing the full participation of disabled people in cinema…everything that makes life harder for disabled people also makes success in the film industry harder as well. This is not a result of biology, but rather systemic ableism.Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand side is a photo of a young white woman with long reddish-blond hair. Her left arm is raised and her hand bent against her face. She is smiling and wearing a white and magenta-striped t-shirt. On the right in white text: "To improve representation of disabled people in filmmaking, we have to fight exclusion and erasure - within the mainstream and our own communities." -Katie Murphy, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

The other issue is erasure, specifically the erasure of disabled people from the film industry. Disabled people have been present in filmmaking since the very beginning. Literally, the very beginning: the inventor of the motion picture, Thomas Edison, was deaf. Some of the most iconic Hollywood figures had disabilities: Marilyn Monroe, Howard Hughes, Judy Garland, Sammy Davis, Jr., to name a few. But when we talk about the underrepresentation of disabled people in film, their names rarely come up. Why is that? Well, one, I think society as a whole does good job of covering up any evidence that disabled people have played integral roles in various communities and industries throughout history. It’s a lot easier to justify exclusion if you can say, “No one’s ever done this before so it can’t be done.”

To improve representation of disabled people in filmmaking, we have to fight exclusion and erasure – within the mainstream and our own communities.

Alex: I’m not interested in seeing any more films that are “getting disability on the big screen” with able bodied actors who have “done their research” for disabled roles. If we continue to analyze these movies for their “redeeming qualities” around disability themes, we are perpetuating a cycle that condones this behavior and sends a message to future filmmakers that substantive disability themes will excuse poor casting efforts. While I do want to see disability represented in the media, I think that it will be more powerful to see doors opening for disabled filmmakers rather than these narratives shared in such problematic ways that continue shutting out the people who can tell the story best. People with disabilities are facing the same frustrations that other marginalized filmmakers (people of color, LGBTQ+ people, etc.) are experiencing and I find it fascinating that the parallels between these communities aren’t made more often. I believe that as long as disability is viewed as “taboo” or “other than”, we will continue to see portrayals of disability in media that is digestible, not challenging; trite, not complex.

Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand side is a photo of a young man with one above-the-knee amputation on his left leg. He is balancing two crutches with his left arm. He is wearing denim shorts, that, glasses and a beard. Behind him is a neighborhood by the beach with a row of palm trees. On the right in white text: "...when mainstream media is depicting disabled characters, I want to see their disability acknowledged in a genuine way. It is a part of their identity and can unfold in a multitude of compelling and engaging narratives..." -Alex Locust, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Why is disability as a diversity an important issue to emphasize with Hollywood and mainstream media?

Alex: Representing disability is obviously complicated and complex, but if Hollywood is looking for fresh, novel stories to tell, disability is a gold mine of untouched treasures if treated properly. It’s unexplored territory, essentially and in the age of intersectionality, I know there are countless people out there that would rather see a movie about a queer, woman of color with a disability living life than trudge through another film about a cisgender, heterosexual, able bodied, white male meandering his way through a midlife crisis. Being privileged is hard and full of ennui, we get it. Time to move on.

Image with a black background composed of 1 photo and text in white. On the upper left-hand quadrant is white text that reads: "Celebrating Disability Culture: Interviews with #Superfest2016 Judges" On the lower left-hand corner is a photo of an African American woman with short black hair. She's inside an office and sitting nearby a table with a computer. She's wearing a beige pullover and smiling at the camera. On the right in white text: "I want to help keep Superfest thriving and going strong for years to come." -Elizabeth Grigsby, #Superfest2016 Judge Read more: DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Katie: What’s great about Superfest is that it provides a space for disabled artists to create work on disability and not have to worry about what non-disabled people think about it. Those filmmakers are able to emphasize disability as a dynamic social and bodily experience whereas Hollywood and the mainstream media tend to emphasize simplistic, stereotypical assumptions of what disability is and can be.


Bio

Elizabeth Grigsby

An African American woman with short black hair. She's inside an office and sitting nearby a table with a computer. She's wearing a beige pullover and smiling at the camera.

“I’ve been working for GGRC since 1995 as the Consumer Rights Advocate. My philosophy towards self-advocacy is to help individuals with disabilities thrive and get the best services possible that they deserve. I always look at the individual we serve as a whole person, their disability is second. I am able to help the people we serve to have a voice and to strengthen their voice in how they want their life to be—not how somebody else wants it to be.”

Alex Locust

Young man with one above-the-knee amputation on his left leg. He is balancing two crutches with his left arm. He is wearing denim shorts, that, glasses and a beard. Behind him is a neighborhood by the beach with a row of palm trees.Alex Locust is a graduate student, disability advocate, pun lover, shine theory enthusiast, dancing queen, and budding public speaker. Currently, he is the President of the Rehabilitation Counseling Students Association at San Francisco State University, a student organization dedicated to infusing disability awareness into campus culture and our local community. He is also the recipient of this year’s Graduate Student of the Year Award at the National Council on Rehabilitation Education spring conference. Outside of his courses and clinical internship he is working as a student assistant at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability.

Katie Murphy

Young white woman with long reddish-blond hair. Her left arm is raised and her hand bent against her face. She is smiling.Katie Murphy is a self-advocate, disability studies scholar, and freelance audio-describer. Her hobbies include repetitive movement, poor eye contact, and intense interest in esoteric subjects.

Yellow background with black text that reads: Disabled people are our own lifelines. No one can save us except ourselves. Disability Visibility Project™ DisabilityVisibilityProject.com Twitter logo in the shape of a bird, @DisVisibility

Ableism, Violence & Sagamihara

Tweets by Alice Wong @SFdirewolf on 7.27.16

Gonna start this mini-essay on Twitter on the #JapanAttacks in #Sagamihara. I’m roiling in a cauldron of anger, sorrow, fear & fatigue. There is such endemic ableist violence disabled people witness and experience every day, that it seriously makes you question stuff.

If you are non-disabled and unfamiliar with #ableism, what happened in #Sagamihara is a clear-cut example of as you’ll ever get.

FYI, it’s not my job to teach you what ableism is.

A man planned methodically to kill disabled people. He notified others. He imagined a world where disabled people should be euthanized by ‘guardians’.  This worldview is held by many people, more than you know.

I turned on cable TV on 7/26 hoping for live coverage in #Sagamihara as I previously saw for Orlando, Dallas, Nice, and Istanbul. Nope.

It was all about the DNC. Will there be the profiles of each disabled person murdered in the news the way they would for acts of terror?

What is more terrorizing than genocidal violence?  So I’m gonna just put it out there…my message to non-disabled folks…

Don’t ascribe mental illness to the killer’s actions. Hate is hate.

Don’t think this is an isolated incident & something that couldn’t happen here (wherever here is).

Don’t presume that it’s a cultural issue or that Japanese attitudes toward disability is to blame.

Don’t #PrayForJapan and think these murdered disabled people are ‘in a better place.’

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Listen to disabled people & take them seriously.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Learn about #ableism & think about your implicit bias.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Share your resources, platform, space to disabled people however you can.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Recognize disabled people as part of a larger continuum of human diversity.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Employ disabled people & support their full participation in society.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Ask what Japanese disabled people want and need. Their story, their lives.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Even if you’re a spiritual person, prayers won’t prevent ableism, violence, erasure, or marginalization.

Don’t #PrayForJapan. Demand accountability from the authorities when mass violence happens. Apologies & investigations aren’t enough.

So weird having to convince folks that disabled people have value. A lot of labor spent in having to defend your right to exist.

In addition to what happened in #Sagamihara, 3 Deaf women in Haiti have been murdered.

Disabled people have been beaten  or killed by law enforcement, especially disabled people of color.

The most recent incident was the shooting of #CharlesKinsey and traumatization of autistic man #ArnladoRios.

This doesn’t include violence that happens to disabled people in the home, schools, institutions, prison, etc. 

The world can feel so hostile and cruel to disabled people–that’s no exaggeration.

I’m not asking for sympathy or pity.

Not waiting for awareness or acceptance.

Not begging for inclusion.

Not feeling gratitude to non-disabled people for letting us live.

Disabled people are more than helpless objects of ableism & violence. We deserve the world, the universe, and more.

Disabled people are our own lifelines. This, I truly believe. No one can save us except ourselves.

Yellow background with black text that reads: Not waiting for awareness or acceptance. Not begging for inclusion. Not feeling gratitude to non-disabled people for letting us live. Disability Visibility Project™ DisabilityVisibilityProject.com Twitter logo in the shape of a bird, @DisVisibility

 


For more on the mass murder in Sagamihara by disabled people:

Actions, Articles, and Statements on Sagamihara, Japan

Kit Mead, August 3, 2016

Why did the mass murder of 19 disabled people in Japan barely rate?

Carly Findlay, August 2, 2016

Is it just that it happened in Japan?

Michael Gillan Peckitt, August 1, 2016

Disabled Lives Are Worth Living

PrettyChronic tumblr, July 30, 2016

Disability, Safety, and Value

Amy Sequenzia, July 29, 2016

Disability Hate Leads to Mass Murder in Japan

Philippa Willitts, July 29, 2016

The silence around the Sagamihara disability murders.

Carly Findlay, July 28, 2016

Ableism, Mass Murder, and Silence

Annie Segarra, July 27, 2016

The Disabled Have Value!

Nicole Mackey, July 27, 2016

Sagamihara

Andrew Pulrang, July 27, 2016

Ableism is Deadly: Mass Murder in Japan

Bill Peace, July 26, 2016

Japan, Hate and 12 Days

Dave Hingsburger, July 26, 2016

Ableism is not “bad words.” It’s violence.

Lydia Brown, July 25, 2016

 

On The Sagamihara Attack

Michael Gillan Peckitt, July 2016


Yellow background with black text that reads: Disabled people are more than helpless objects of pity, ableism & violence. We deserve the world, the universe, and more. Disability Visibility Project™ DisabilityVisibilityProject.com Twitter logo in the shape of a bird, @DisVisibility

 

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part Two. Vilissa Thompson and Alice Wong. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

#GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part Two

This is the second of a 2-part report looking at the lives and stories of disabled people of color by Vilissa Thompson and Alice Wong for Ramp Your Voice! and the Disability Visibility Project.

Part One of the report covers the following topics from our online survey:

  • Introduction
  • Description of Survey
  • Racism, Discrimination, Violence, and Ableism
  • Disability Rights and People of Color
  • Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act

To read the first part of #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, go to: http://wp.me/p3Ov4P-FA

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “Disability rights means accessibility, dignity and agency.” —SD. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

 

Intersectionality and Disabled People of Color

We received many responses about the intersectional lived experiences of disabled POC. Respondents talked about the tensions and issues that they experience as being “both and” or a “minority within a minority.”  Some common themes include the following:  the pressure of having to ‘choose’ a primary identity, being the only one in the room like yourself, the need to represent and speak for multiple communities all the time, exclusion and barriers to certain communities, and aspects of your identity being invisible depending on what space you are occupying. 

These stories show how disabled POC traverse and belong to multiple communities simultaneously.  Nothing is mutually exclusive for disabled people of color.

Respondents shared stories of how inequality impacts them on their earning power, access to healthcare, housing, employment and economic self-sufficiency.  Issues that affect white disabled people are going to be experienced differently by disabled POC due to multiple oppressions.  This must be recognized and acknowledged by the mainstream disability community.  

Tension and pressure being part of multiple movements and communities

Reyma McCoy McDeid, African American Aspergian:

We live in a society that, on the whole, is comprised of individuals who think that people can only be a member of one minority group at a time.  For someone like me, who is a woman of color and a person with a disability, I often feel pressured to pick a movement….I…am a person who experiences layers of diversity and, therefore, wish to represent that within the “disability rights” movement.

Finn, a queer, black, autistic, disability advocate:

As a queer, black, autistic person, I feel that all these different intersecting identities impact the way these issues affect me. I feel as though I’m only allowed one marginalised identity, not several, so I might get treated as though I’m JUST black, rather than black and queer, or black and autistic, or all three of those things. It makes me feel pretty invisible at times.

Feeling like a unicorn, singular and alone

Mary Lee Vance, Disabled Female Korean Adoptee:

It is challenging to be a Disabled Asian American Female Adoptee Administrator in higher education because generally there has been no one similar to me for people to reference.

Jae Jin Pak, Korean, Disabled, Male, Straight, American:

I can connect as a disabled person, but I have not seen or met many Asians with disabilities at these events.  Feeling like I am a minority has caused me to feel tension and alone at times. I really do feel empowered being in a room and working on disability rights.  However, outside of those discussions, I have just felt like I stick out.

Ellen Erenea, a Filipina with dwarfism, mother of two:

I feel as though I’m the only one representing the API community, where I know there are more. I do feel welcome in the disability community.  However, it’s the differences within differences that eventually leave me feeling alone mostly.

Attitudes and challenges within diverse communities

Angel A. McCorkle, 24 year old black autistic writer who has OCD:

I’m black and the black American culture doesn’t have a great history when it comes to begin treated for mental illness. My OCD and autism went undiao [sic] for decades and so did my depression, despite numerous symptoms. I was encouraged to hide or ignore others.

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “The LGBTQ community is still largely inaccessible to me, both physically and attitudinally.” —Anita Cameron. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

 

Lulu, a pansexual Puerto Rican with a disability:

My disability, sexuality, and even my race are invisible to most people unless utilizing a cane or wheelchair. I can blend in as white but I don’t want to, I am recognized as Puerto Rican more on the east coast where their assumptions of Hispanics are not just darker skinned Mexicans with black hair. Sometimes I wish who I am was more visible, to be seen is beautiful.

Multiple identities and challenges of identifying as ‘disabled’

Leanne Libas, an Autistic Asian teenager who wants to make a change:

I’m autistic. I’m Filipina and Chinese. I’m a young adult. I’m the first generation of immigrant parents. I identify as a female. For a long time, I have acted neurotypical…The easy part was identifying as a disabled person. The hardest part was getting immersed into the d/Disability and a/Autistic culture. I’m at a different point in my life. I never thought that I would get involved with advocacy because I usually tend to keep my views to myself. However, being an advocate, I’m learning more about standing up to my views and beliefs. I’m proud to be d/Disabled and a/Autistic.

 

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “The LGBTQ community is still largely inaccessible to me, both physically and attitudinally.” —Anita Cameron. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Impact on inequality

Tiara S., a physically disabled woman of color:

The biggest thing is to be able to work and wed.  I am a woman.  That means $0.78 to the dollare [sic] compared to men.  I am a POC, so I’m less likely to get even that much.  I am disabled, so I have to deal with prejudices all around.  The most pressing issue is trying to prove that I am just as good as my white, able-bodied male counterparts.  All while trying to make magic happen and keep the lights on.

Healthcare, housing, employment, economic self-sufficiency

Rachel Lovejoy, Disabled, single mother of 2:

Health insurance and the affordability of being chronically ill. I can’t afford my copays. I’m a mother of 2 teens. They have health concerns too. And being the black parent of biracial children, I’ve had to prove my parentage to health providers before care would be discussed with me.

Krista Flores, Latina woman with a disability:

I think the most pressing issue is employment, services and health care. The current system is not set up for people with disabilities to be successful and maintain employment. Assistance is available to help you secure a job or not work, but there is minimal assistance designed to help a person who is employed, despite the fact that services are needed to stay employed.

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “...being Black, female, disabled and over 50 means I get less quality health care, hostile health care, and fewer opportunity for employment.” —Anonymous. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

 

Lateef McLeod, an educated African American man with cerebral palsy:

My most pressing issues related to my disability is finding a full time job. I think that is because of both my mobility disability and my severe speech disability makes employers think twice about hiring me.

Anita Cameron, Black Disabled Lesbian:

I’m still at risk of institutional placement. I still deal with a lack of affordable, accessible, integrated housing. There is still a lack of accessibility in doctor’s offices: lack of accessible scales, examination tables, etc.  

Disabled People of Color and the Disability Community

Our survey asked disabled people of color specifically about their involvement, interactions, and attitudes toward the disability communities they belong to, especially disability-related organizations, agencies, and advocacy groups.  Respondents spoke of the following:

  • There is a lack of acknowledgement of race, racism, and inequality within the disability community.
  • A majority of organizations have little representation of disabled POC in their staff and leadership.
  • The concerns and issues of disabled POC are not taken seriously.
  • Sense of invisibility or feeling like an outsider as a disabled POC in the disability community.
  • Added dimension of disabled POC with non-apparent disabilities and not being seen as disabled or ‘disabled enough.’’

It wasn’t all negative!  Several respondents felt welcomed and a sense of belonging by the disability community.  The power of peer-support and connecting with other disabled POC is immense and invaluable.

Lack of acknowledgement of race and racism

Shawn, African-American:

All issues are amplified because within most of the disability community, race is never addressed or acknowledged as a problem within the community. Many organizations and advocates hold the same conservative/typically white views as others non-disabled folks…except when it comes to their personal interests. There are people extremely hostile to affirmative action (for example) for POC but who consistently advocate for policies which resembles affirmative action for middle/upper class people with disabilities.

Finn, a queer, black, autistic, disability advocate:

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the autistic advocacy movement is incredibly white and I’ve struggled to find voices like mine there until very recently…we as a community really need to work on full integration of disabled people who experience multiple forms of oppression. There are too many of us who are isolated because of multiple systemic forces acting upon our lives, like disabled POC in jail or in institutions because they can’t access services, and LGBTQ disabled people who’ve found themselves homeless or marginally housed for similar reasons. I’ve experienced the latter in the past.

Anita Cameron, Black Disabled Lesbian:

Racism is rampant in the disability community, yet, for the most part, we don’t want to discuss it and get defensive when race or racism is brought up…The vast majority of disability organizations are White-run and led and they have no problem with that. Also, they think because they have poc involved that they have satisfied diversity when in fact, there are no Blacks involved. And when Blacks are involved, we are tokenized. We need to get better at this!

Sofiya Cheyenne Perez, artist:

Always feel tension in a room. We are not thought of as a person, but rather an annoyance.

Kathy D Woods, an African American Little Person with Achondroplasia dwarfism. Woman Of Faith. CEO/Founder:

As a POC my experience in the Little People community has been somewhat welcoming. Since I started the only successful clothing line…I’ve felt tension, jealousy and envy from other LP’s. I feel if I was not a person of color, I would be more supported by the LP community.

Invisibility, lack of representation

LaDonna Kirkaldie Fowler, a Native American woman with disabilities:

I have never really felt understood as a tribal woman with a disability. Our cultures are so varied and I find myself repeating over and over what our differences are compared to dominant culture in a continual education process before we can even discuss the issues of disability. I found it interesting at one conference in a discussion with someone from the CDC that all others races were listed except for Native American which were then included in the “others…” When I mentioned this glaring omission I was informed that the populations listed had something we did not have….power, position and money. So that day in particular I felt tension, anger, ambivalence and very much invisible.

Finn, a queer, black, autistic, disability advocate:

I often feel like an outsider because much of the disability rights community is incredibly white, and there’s a lack of understanding of the ways race and ethnicity can intersect with disability. I feel as though our voices are being pushed to the margins, while white people’s experiences are treated as universal when they’re not.

Grace Tsao, an Asian American woman with a disability:

Our voices are often invisible or silent. I have felt that some white people with disabilities have minimized the experiences of people of color or LGBT people and believe that disability trumps all other aspects of identity…all aspects of identity are intertwined and linked and are important.

Invisibility of people with non-apparent disabilities

Anonymous, a Black woman, professor, mother and wife:

It is relatively recently that I have come to identify with the disabled community despite my long-time “ally” and advocate status.  Having invisible disabilities, some of which I have only recently identified, has made it difficult to figure out whether and how to try to connect.  

Isis, a multiracial invisibly disabled girl:

I feel welcomed by the disability community, but not by the visibly disabled. I don’t know it feels like my own disabilities aren’t valid or “disabled enough” for them.

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “My disability, sexuality, and even my race are invisible to most people unless utilizing a cane or wheelchair.” —Lulu. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

 

Anonymous, an “ambiguously raced” queer asian woman:

I also feel that because of my ethnicity and gender, I am not considered disabled by many people. this may be a result of PTSD not being seen as a “real” disability or– maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing.

Finding community and support

Yolanda, a nerdy latina Pansexual on wheels depression fighter:

My family being catholic and my dad being from a poor farming village in Mexico believed the best thing for me would be if I was suddenly healed and that weighed heavily on my shoulders. Then I started meeting other people like me and realized yeah there are hard days when it feels like society doesn’t want you but, in the disability community you have people supporting and loving you for all of you and who tell society to fuck off when you’re too tired to. It’s not perfect but it beats being alone and trying to figure it out.

Malia, a young lady of mixed heritage who works to manage her mental health challenges:

For a long time I did not feel like I belonged, although I know I looked normal on the outside. However, when I started working at a peer-run agency, I finally felt like I found somewhere I belonged. I no longer had to hide who I was or risk losing opportunities because of my mental health experiences.

Angel A. McCorkle, a 24 year old black autistic writer who has OCD:

I feel welcome so far, thanks largely to the efforts of other POC being loud and visible and encouraging me to be the same.

Recommendations to Disability Organizations and Communities

Thanks to the rich expertise of our survey’s respondents, they provided the following recommendations on how disability organizations and community at-large can “Get Woke” on race and racism in a respectful and meaningful way:

  • Listen and engage with disabled POC.
  • Don’t expect disabled POC to do the majority of the labor of educating you.
  • Acknowledge white privilege and other forms of privilege throughout your organization’s work/activities.
  • Recognize the pain that disabled POC experience as multiple marginalized people.
  • Do not co-opt, appropriate the civil rights movement or compare it with the disability right movement. Just. Don’t.
  • Build safe spaces for everyone to engage openly and honestly.
  • Do not represent our views without us.
  • Hire disabled POC as staff, consultants, and experts; and treat them as equals, not tokens.
  • Realize diversity means more than a few disabled POC in a room!
  • Examine your policies and practices for implicit bias.
  • Build coalitions with communities of color and other social justice movements that are already doing intersectional work.
  • Support the creation of diverse media by disabled POC.

Check out the quotes below for more specific recommendations from the survey respondents.

How to engage respectfully, listen and learn

Finn, a queer, black, autistic, disability advocate:

Listen to disabled POC and what we’re trying to say about our experiences. Look at posts on hashtags like #DisabilityTooWhite. Read our blog posts. Talk to us in person…And when you reach out, do it respectfully, and not with the attitude that we’re going to be your automatic educators.

 

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “We don't want surface diversity, we want to be seen as equals and have our voices be part of the conversation” —Yolanda. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Grace Tsao, Asian American woman with a disability:

As a woman of color with a disability I don’t have the privilege of just turning it off or tuning it out when I want to; racism, sexism, and ableism is a constant presence in my life. Allyship needs to be more than just providing support by writing Facebook posts, sending out a tweet, or sharing an article on social media.  It is a start, but not enough…Reach out, care, support…but make it a real part of your life.

Shawn, African-American:

Stop using the black struggle for equal rights (particularly Dr. King) only as moral leverage to drive home arguments for disability rights but fail to reflect upon their own need to practice what they preach.

Angel A. McCorkle, a 24 year old black autistic writer who has OCD:

…earnestly trying to learn and be open. Build spaces that are safe as you can make them so that compassion and truth become second nature. Be sure to know what compassion is and that it is not selective. Self care should come first so that we can be compassionate and mindful at the same time.

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “Non-POC can't speak for us or represent us. Just don't get in our way and we will handle the rest.” —Yolanda. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

Anita Cameron, Black Disabled Lesbian:

Look within and see why you struggle. Make a concerted effort to reach out to us as full partners, not just tokens to be silenced when you don’t want to listen.

Doing “the work” within an organization, movement, or community

Jae Jin Pak, Korean, Disabled, Male, Straight, American:

Reach out and engage with organizations, leaders from different communities of color.  Chose to learn from these leaders, organizations, groups.  Be ready to and wiling [sic] to make changes to policies, practices, staffing, materals [sic], etc based upon feedback to be more approachable to communities of color. Do an self agency/program assessment to learn how privilege and oppressive messages has influenced your day to day operations.

Anonymous, an African-American female, with a disabling illness:

Hire people of color so those voices are heard…Actively seek people of color at all times.  Make your environment one where people of color are safe and welcome even if you currently do not have anyone in the environment.  Do the work.

SD:

…listen and make room for PoC. Holding more panels, webinars and discussions in the community would help significantly. Use social media to engage, make sure venues are accessible to all. Show that you value people with disabilities as more than just an afterthought.

Building coalitions

Lateef McLeod, an educated African American man with cerebral palsy:

People with disabilities must build coalitions with other people of color, all genders, all sexualities, and all economic strata with disabilities to build a more united community with each other. Only when we are united will we make effective change to better our situation.

Need for More Representation of Disabled People of Color

Another major issue that the respondents frequently highlighted was the lack of diverse images of disability in the media.  One thing disability organizations can and should do is support the creation of media by disabled POC that reflects the full range of diversity in our community.

When you don’t see yourself in the media or in images produced by the disability community, you think you don’t count.  White privilege is never knowing what that type of racialized erasure feels like.

Disabled POC who speak out about this have been criticized and harassed online.  Online communities and activism via social media such as #DisabilityTooWhite are creating spaces where these voices are heard and valued.  Below are a few quotes from our respondents about what they want to see in stories, culture, and media:

Mary Lee Vance, Disabled Female Korean Adoptee:

…our stories still are not being shared with the younger generation to the extent possible. It is time to see ourselves reflected, and for them to see themselves reflected.

Jessica Gimeno, person with visible disability + 4 other invisible illnesses:

Needs to be greater representation of people living with psychiatric illnesses…and “visible” disabilities.  Having a disease like bipolar is hard enough but add to that a daily cane or a wheelchair and sometimes it’s hell to be honest.  

Judith Wilson Burkes, Community Disability Advocate and Nonprofit Founder:

Awareness comes from exposure, and the more the conversations are had, the more POCs with disabilities are in the media, in positions of leadership and collaboration, the more the issue becomes something people know, recognize and begin to think about solutions.

Jae Jin Pak, Korean, Disabled, Male, Straight, American:

I also don’t see a lot of multi-cultural, multi-lingual representation in mainstream disability media.  There are some in targeted PSA’s, but not so much in mainstream content.  I’d like to see movement to be more fair representation of the diversity in mainstream disability media.

Heather Watkins, disability advocate, mother, author, blogger, disabled WOC:

As a disabled WOC, our pain, personal needs, comprehensive aspects of living with disabilities aren’t typically recognized on a wide scale nor are we reflected across media landscape and has an impact on how we’re conceptualized.

Rachel Siota, Latina, feminist, and Spoonie warrior, also a proud Planned Parenthood intern:

Everytime I see “inspiring” stories of people living with disabilities, it’s always some white person who “didn’t let their disability stop them!” I’m tired of the inspiration Porn of a white woman who traveled abroad. Where’s the POC folks who already are treated like second class for having darker skin colors and unpronounceable last names? Where’s the representation of POC women battling breast cancer and Latina girls learning to manage their diabetes while learning English at the same time?

Conclusions

The amount of support and participation for the Call for Stories exceeded both of our expectations for this project.  It humbled us dearly to read the candidness of everyone who participated; for some of you, this was the first time you openly disclosed your experiences, and we are very grateful that you decided to use our Call to do so.  Our hearts were full from every experience we read; every one of you gave us so much of yourselves in your accounts, and we are truly indebted in being trusted with your truths and to share them with our community and society.  

 

White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “I am black. I am a woman. I am disabled. I am magic.” —Joi Meyer Brewer. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

The participation level of the Call provided additional proof that it is imperative for ALL disabled experiences to be visible and understood.  For some of our respondents, the over-whiteness of disability has stymied their ability to fully be included and safe in expressing their intersectional voices, and that is a key aspect we wanted to highlight as we observe the 26th anniversary of the ADA.  We cannot claim to be an inclusive, welcoming community when disabled people color are underrepresented, ignored, and feel disconnected from the very space where they should feel safe to be who they are that includes and goes beyond their disabilities.  

If our respondents have taught us anything through sharing their perspectives, it is that we as a community have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us in order for every member to feel validated and empowered in our space.  This need for complete inclusion, acceptance, and empowerment must be multi-level:  from our local, national, and federal organizations and agencies, to those of us doing advocacy work on the ground and online.  The segregation, isolation, and erasure of disabled people of color and our experiences cannot continue, and with projects like #GetWokeADA26, we are one step further to extinguishing such omission within our community.  

We invite you to connect with us through Ramp Your Voice and the Disability Visibility Project or on Twitter.

Time to Get Woke & Stay Woke!

In Solidarity,

Vilissa Thompson @VilissaThompson 

Alice Wong @SFdirewolf

 


*If you reference or quote from this report, please use the suggested citations:

Thompson, V. & Wong, A. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part One. Ramp Your Voice! http://wp.me/p3Ov4P-FA

Thompson, V. & Wong, A. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part Two. Ramp Your Voice! Disability Visibility Project. http://wp.me/p4H7t1-MLn


**Special thanks to artist Mike Mort who created the Wonder Woman image and allowed us to use it for #GetWokeADA26!

 

Light green background with black text that reads: #CripTheVote Twitter Chat Disability, Violence & Public Policy Sunday, July 24, 2016 5:00-6:00 pm EST Details: https://www.facebook.com/CripTheVote/

7/24 #CripTheVote Twitter Chat: Disability, Violence & Public Policy

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat

Disability, Violence & Public Policy

Sunday, July 24, 2016

5:00-6:00 pm EST

Hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote Twitter chats explored various policy issues important to people with disabilities this year. For our eighth Twitter chat, we discuss the relationships between disability, violence, and public policy.

You can find the questions for this chat in this post. For some stats and related articles, check out the links below.

In our upcoming chat, violence can encompass the following (and is not limited to):

  • Hate speech
  • Bullying, harassment, abuse (emotional, physical, verbal, social)
  • Microagressions, non-physical violence
  • Physical harm, injuries, pain, and death
  • Forced treatment, restraint, isolation
  • Deprivation and the withholding of services, access, and equipment
  • Institutional and policy-related violence on disabled people

By no means are we experts on violence, but this is an opportunity for us as a community to highlight the issues and stories that matter to us.

This Twitter chat will be archived in Storify for anyone who would like to see it in chronological order at a later date.

This chat may be triggering so please practice self-care. Feel free to take breaks during the chat and ask for help and support if you are distressed.

How to Participate

When the chat begins, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote

or search #CripTheVote on Twitter for a series of live-tweets.

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan on Twitter

Use the hashtag #CripTheVote when you tweet. If you can’t join us on 7/24, feel free to tweet anytime before or after with the hashtag.

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan: https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat

Introductory Tweets for 7/24 Twitter Chat

Welcome to our 8th chat! Today, please remember to use the #CripTheVote hashtag when you tweet.

If you respond to a question such as Q1, your tweet should follow this format: “A1 [your message] #CripTheVote

Few notes: ‘violence’ in this chat is used broadly, not only about physical force, injury, or death. #CripTheVote

Violence can be insidious, subtle, long-term, or a single incident. It can happen anywhere, anytime. #CripTheVote

For this chat, we’ll talk about violence in terms of certain domains or spheres where they can take place #CripTheVote

We won’t be able to cover all forms of violence or every issue, but we hope it’s a start to a longer discussion. #CripTheVote

When we say ‘disabled people’ we’re talking about all groups. Feel free to speak about specific communities #CripTheVote

For each domain, we’ll ask for your views, stories, potential solutions, recommendations #CripTheVote

If you become distressed or triggered, please engage in self-care and take a break. Sending you all crip hugs in advance! #CripTheVote

Questions for 7/24/16 #CripTheVote Chat

Q1 What are the most important issues regarding violence that concern you as a disabled person? #CripTheVote

Q2 What are some damaging & ableist misconceptions about disabled ppl that perpetuate violence? #CripTheVote

Q3 Any discussion of violence must include white supremacy, intersectionality & inequality. Agree/Disagree? Why? Thoughts? #CripTheVote

When we refer to White Supremacy we are referring to a system of racial oppression NOT organizations like Nazis & the KKK. #CripTheVote

Q4 Have you experienced violence of any kind as a disabled person in public spaces (ex: microaggressions, hate speech/crimes)? #CripTheVote

Q5 Interpersonal violence (families, friends): Impact on disabled ppl? Changes you want to see? Solutions? #CripTheVote

Q6 Violence by caregivers & service providers: Impact on disabled ppl? Changes you want to see? Solutions? #CripTheVote  

Q7 Violence in educational settings (schools/campus): Impact on disabled ppl? Changes you want to see? Solutions? #CripTheVote

Q8 Violence in healthcare settings & institutions (hospitals, prisons, nursing homes): Impact? Changes/solutions? #CripTheVote

Q9 Violence by law enforcement & agents of the state (ex: TSA, police): Impact on disabled ppl? Changes? Solutions? #CripTheVote

Q10 Training & awareness can only go so far. What are the cultural/policy/systemic changes needed to prevent violence? #CripTheVote

Q11 What resources and tools do disabled people have at their disposal to respond to violence in their lives? #CripTheVote

Q12 What do you demand from policymakers & elected officials on this issue? New laws? Data, funding, research? Other?  #CripTheVote

Community-based approaches such as transformative justice is one way to address violence & its roots: http://www.phillystandsup.com/tj.html #CripTheVote

Restorative justice is another example that involves community-based solutions to violence & conflict http://rjoyoakland.org/restorative-justice/ #CripTheVote

These approaches shift “justice as harming” to “justice as healing” and repairs harm by including everyone’s voices #CripTheVote

Q13 How do you define ‘justice’ when it comes to violence toward disabled people? What can be done when the state & law fails? #CripTheVote

This ends our #CripTheVote chat. Many thanks to everyone who participated. Please feel free to continue the convo!

This Twitter chat will be archived in Storify later this evening. Look for the link with the hashtag #CripTheVote

ADDITIONAL LINKS

AVID (Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities) Prison Project  

Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf

Crime Against Persons With Disabilities, 2009–2013 – Statistical Tables (National Crime Victimization Survey)

Violence against adults and children with disabilities (World Health Organization)

The Invisible Hate Crime

2012 National Survey on Abuse of People with Disabilities The First Report: Victims and Their Families Speak Out

ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) Comments on FDA’s Proposed Ban of Electric Shock Devices  

Disabled cancer patient slammed to the ground by TSA guards, lawsuit claims

What is the current state of the law regarding the use of police force against people with psychiatric disabilities?

How Police Can Stop Shooting People With Disabilities

Does the disability community need a documentary on police brutality from a retired disabled Black cop?

Disabling Incarceration: Connecting Disability to Divergent Confinements in the USA   

Nevada prisons discriminate against inmates with disabilities, HIV, Justice Dept. says   

Texas accused of ignoring mentally disabled in nursing homes  

Little Oversight in Restraint Practices in Special Education  

Myth vs. Fact: Violence and Mental Health

#CripTheVote Links

Resources on voting and people with disabilities:

http://disabilitythinking.com/election-2016-cripthevote

#CripTheVote Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/CripTheVote/

A note on language and why we use the term ‘crip’

http://disabilitythinking.com/disabilitythinking/2016/3/28/cripthevote-notes-on-crip

About

#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that Disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape.

While #CripTheVote is a nonpartisan project, we understand that many people have already developed preferences for particular candidates. This is great–we only ask that everyone is respectful in their interactions with each other. Our primary focus here is on increasing engagement with disability issues as a part of American politics and on the need for that we are all in agreement!
Please note we do not represent the entire disability community nor would we ever claim to do so. There are many ways to create social change and engaging in conversation is one approach.