Graphic with a bright aqua blue background. In large font, centered in black text: "What is #DVPpower?" Below in smaller words: Disability Visibility Project™

#DVPpower: Culture, Community, Pride

DVP Power: Culture, Community, Pride

The Disability Visibility Project™ (DVP) is a living and evolving organism. The disability community powers the DVP with their energy, love, and enthusiasm. I am constantly surprised and humbled by the impact of the DVP on individuals, communities, and the media landscape. I hope to do more in the future. The possibilities are endless! The DVP is committed to the following:

  • Creating online communities for people to share their stories and connect with one another.
  • Centering disabled narratives rooted in the lived experience.
  • Highlighting marginalized disabled voices.
  • Celebrating disability culture, identity, and pride.

As I launch my crowdfunding campaign on Patreon this December, I asked a few friends to share their stories about the DVP. Check them out below.

What does DVP Power mean to you?

If you use Twitter, use the hashtag #DVPpower and tweet us: @DisVisibility

If you want send a message about the power and value of the DVP, email me:

Feel free to include a written message, photo, audio or video file (1-2 min). If you send an audio or video file, please send a text transcript as well! Be sure to include your first and last name (or Anonymous). Any messages sent to the DVP may be used on our various social media channels for fundraising purposes.

DVP Power Is…

Talila “TL” Lewis, @talilalewis

TL , a black person with short hair takes a selfie while wearing a black hoodie & black scarf with a navy shirt that has white words "REBEL."

We should all support DVP because it creates disabled media & organizes and hosts disability-centered conversations that others won’t dare.

The DVP has carved out a space to uplift and celebrate the lives & mourn the violent deaths of disabled people from marginalized communities the world over.

The DVP honors the free[dom] struggle of countless Deaf/Disabled low/no-income, indigenous, immigrant, Black/people of color. The individual’s identities and advocacy would otherwise be erased by powerful, mainstream disability organizations and media outlets.

Our communities have to invest in non-traditional individuals, projects and organizations who love & support those who exist at the margins of the margins of our communities. The DVP is one such project.

Carrie Wade, @wadetheory

The Disability Visibility Project is one of the first disability resources I ever found online, and it inspired me to start creating my own work — so I know from experience that it can help disabled folks find each other, clarify our perspectives, let us find a space to say what we want to say, and find resources and other people that are like us. It’s somewhere that I always recommend whenever people ask where to find more disability community, because that can be hard to come by (both virtually and in the offline world). So I always direct them to the DVP, knowing that it is a vibrant community of people that can share resources, start conversation, and bolster all of us up when we need it and galvanize us. I’m so excited to see how it expands and so proud of what it’s already done, and I’m excited to be part of the effort. I hope that you will donate so that this organization can grow and reach its full potential, and continue to be the amazing resource it is for disabled folks and our allies all across the internet — because it’s really important that we have that, especially now.

Sandy Ho, Boston, MA, @IntersectedCrip

Image of Sandy Ho, a young Asian American woman in a wheelchair, outdoors on a sunny day. She is wearing sunglasses.

The Disability Visibility Project (DVP) impacted my life because I was exposed to the lived experiences of disabled lives. As a child of immigrants, who is Asian-American, and a queer woman – I don’t witness or experience others who have narratives that are similar to mine.

The DVP helped to give me language and connections that have made my own disability experience less isolating, and separate from everyone else. It is also an authentic source where those who are not disabled can go to learn, and experience an unfiltered and unedited version of disabled lives.

We need more disability media and culture because it validates our existence in our society, community, and even at times in our own families where the only perspective of us are as ‘others.’

Support the DVP so that this work can continue kicking-ass and taking down names, literally. We don’t have enough of these resources or motivations where the recording of names and lives towards good power, and good trouble is happening. And you can help make that happen by giving!

Julia Bascom, Autistic Self Advocacy Network@juststimming

A young white woman on the left-side of the image looking downward. She has long wavy brown hair and eyeglasses on. On the right is a bright spot of sunlight.

The DVP is telling new stories about disability. Stories are important–the stories we tell ourselves and others shape the world we live in. The DVP puts people with disabilities in charge of our own stories, hands us the mic, and in so doing changes and multiplies the stories that are told about disability. And that changes the world.

Catherine Kudlick, Professor of History and Director, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, @longmoreinst

A white woman with short hair is standing with her white cane by her side. She is wearing a long black jacket, red pants and a white shirt that says, 'Special.' She is standing behind a classroom with a white board in the back.

The DVP is the best example of grassroots history. It gets more stories out there about a group that people know surprisingly little about, even though it makes up almost 1 in 5 Americans. Thanks to DVP, historians like me will have lots more to work with.🙂 And as someone with a disability, I fully appreciate how powerful it feels to get those stories out and know that others will find our common humanity in them. Now more than ever we need the DVP as a tool for fighting prejudice with images of real people living real lives with real hopes and fears.

I hope you join me in fully supporting this amazing endeavor however you can!

Maysoon Zayid, Cliffside Park, NJ, @maysoonzayid

Young Palestinian American woman with her hair pulled back. She is wearing a blue tank top and smiling at the camera. On the left side of the images a Scottish fold cat that is white with streaks of brown and black.

I support the Disability Visibility Project because more authentic images of disability in entertainment will create more positive experiences with disability in real life. Give what you can🙂 $1, $5, $500, and if you can’t give—share!

Amy Sequenzia, @AmySequenzia

Picture of a white woman seated in a chair. Her head is turned to the right and she's smiling. She has short dark hair and is wearing a floral-print top with a black jacket.

The Disability Visibility Project is where I find information about everything related to disabilities, all over the world. It is where I find my community, and where I learn about disabilities other than mine.

The Disability Visibility Project is about representation. It is for anyone who has something to say, or to type. It gives us space to speak up, it gives us a platform to organize and fight for our rights, and it reminds us that disability is intersectional.

Disabled people are often silenced, many times ignored, and don’t always find accessible places where we can participate in voicing our opinions about what matter to our lives. The DVP allows for every voice to be heard because the internet is accessible to us in ways the world of roads, buildings and sensory overload will never be.

Because of the DVP, disabled people are, indeed, more visible. More needs to be done and I hope that all of us can donate – even if it is a small monthly contribution – so that this project can grow. We all need this space, the opportunity to be the best we can be, being ourselves, sharing our perspective.

Leroy Moore, Berkeley, CA, @kriphopnation

Image of Leroy Moore, a Black man with a shaved head looking left from the camera. He is wearing a black tuxedo with white shirt and magenta bow tie. Behind him is a glass-paned window.

As a Black disabled artist/activist/journalist and historian of people of color with disabilities, I love and need the beautiful work of Disability Visibility Project, DVP!  DVP is not a nine to five, movement or a project, its our lives from our disabled ancestors to our disabled babies that must go on for our now & future.  DVP helps to tell our art, politics, activism anad love.  You need to support Disability Visibility Project.

 Corbett Joan OToole, Richmond, CA, @CorbettOToole

An older white woman with brown hair with bangs on her forehead. She has a pair of sunglasses on her head and is wearing a beaded necklace and a multicolored shirt. In the background is a grassy lawn.

DVP changed the way I think about disability community.

DVP’s Twitter chats are so amazing that I finally learned Twitter just to participate in them.

DVP brings depth and breath to every topic and that gives me new ideas.

I support DVP because they provide me with useful information, fresh ideas and a diversity of voices that enlarges my world.

I gave money to DVP because I need their voices to continue informing the world.

Nicola Griffith, Seattle, WA, @nicolaz


I’m Nicola Griffith, @Nicolaz, UK/US novelist with MS and accidental cultural activist living in Seattle. A while ago I wrote a blog post about coming out as cripple, and then started following disability activists on Twitter. I found Alice almost immediately because she and the DVP retweet so many vital links. I asked Twitter why there was no #CripLit hashtag for disabled writers to talk to each other and the world about our work, to share our stories. I was trying to figure out the best way to make that happen when Alice offered the Disability Visibility Project as partner.

I went to look at her other work–things like #CripTheVote–and was impressed. Between us we could do this! And between us we have. But it would not have happened, certainly not with the community strength already apparent, without Alice and the DVP.

The DVP is a wonderful resource. It absolutely needs our support. If you can afford a fancy cup of coffee once a month you can afford to give $3 to support the DVP. If you can afford one a week, how about $15? If you get one every morning? Hey, you do the math.

Why should you support DVP? Because without it our lives would be much less rich, much less connected. Culture is built from stories. Stories are communication. And DVP connects us so we can tell our stories, hear and be heard, know we are not alone.

In a world where crips are often not understood or believed, where every day we are marginalised, talking to each other is a life-saver. Sometimes literally. Also, we are people. We have as much to say–via fiction or poetry, journalism or memoir, academic investigations or songs–as any other human being. Think how much richer our culture would be with our voices, often unheard, added to the mix.

So support Alice. Support the DVP. For the price of a cup of coffee once a month you’re making the world a richer, more interesting place for all of us.

Jim LeBrecht, Oakland, California, @jimlebrecht

Photo of a man in a wheelchair, turned so his arms are resting on one side of the wheelchair's armrest. He is an older white man with brown curly hair and a white beard. It is a sunny day and he is wearing a short sleeved orange shirt with a pattern.

As someone who cares about and works for the rights of people with disabilities, I check out the Disability Visibility Project every day. It’s a place that I read stories about issues facing the disabled not just here in the US, but all over the world. And it’s a place that I can contribute stories, opinions and calls to action.

The DVP is a great resource that I send people to when I need to bring them up to speed on issues facing my community.

Now, more that ever, the disability community needs a place to send journalists and the media. Our community needs to amplify it’s voice because the hard earned advances we’ve accomplished in the past 35 years are under attack. You can’t gain support from the greater community if they don’t know or understand your issues. The fact of the matter, issues in the disability community affect everyone.

I urge you to support the Disability Visibility Project so that it can continue to work with other organizations throughout the world to protect and improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Vilissa K. Thompson, Winnsboro, SC, @VilissaThompson  @RampYourVoice

Young Black woman with her hair parted to the side and curled. She is smiling at the camera and wearing a yellow t-shirt. Behind her is room w/ wood panelling and a calendar and bird figurine on the wall.

For me, Disability Visibility Project provides a space for disabled people to learn about what’s going on with one another in America and globally, and how we can support each other’s efforts and demand acceptance and proaction to occur for our civil and human rights.  One of the reasons I enjoy being a part of DVP is that I am able to keep abreast of the stories that impact our quality of life and inclusion, and to connect with those who are doing dynamic work in our community.  Entities like DVP are so important, and it is imperative to support them so that its work continues.  Providing a monthly donation will achieve that – our grassroots organizations are the backbone of the community, and their influences cannot be forgotten.

Kim Sauder, Toronto, Ontario, @crippledscholar

Young white woman with blue hair styled upward like a mohawk (but not). She has cat-eyed eyeglasses on and bright red lipstick.

Media representation and cultural visibility is an important aspect of battling social inequality. If others don’t see people like you in the media, they often don’t expect to see you take up space outside of it either. Of equal importance is making sure that this visibility is authentic and portrays the nuanced realities of lived experience. The Disability Visibility Project has been instrumental in highlighting the voices and stories of disabled people in all of our varied embodiments and intersections. It has connected me to so many new voices and ideas. It has also been instrumental in helping to spread my own writing. Through the Disability Visibility Project I have also extended my personal network professionally, academically and socially. And this community of shared and diverse voices is also so important because in addition to adding those voices to the mainstream discourse that so often ignores disabled people it tells us that we are not alone.

My name is Kim Sauder, I am a disability scholar and blogger and I would like to ask you to please support the Disability Visibility Project. Please consider donating as little as $1 a month or more if you are able. The Disability Visibility Project provides an invaluable service in highlighting the voices of disabled people and your donation helps those voices be heard.

Hamza Jaka, Berkeley, CA and Fontana, WI, @HamzaAJaka

Young man with dark hair and glasses sitting at a table reading a comic book.

Why I love the DVP: The project is authentic to all facets of disability. Especially the aspects of our stories that aren’t told and people who are at the intersections of disability, race, gender, sex and sexuality. Every part of our stories we choose to share is shared, and is completely authentic. So much of disability history has been exclusive, rather than inclusive. The DVP is inclusive, beyond all doubts.

The DVP has impacted my life by introducing me to so many people and works that I needed to read. So many stories I’d never learned about, that I had to experience. It’s broadened my conception of what it means to be disabled, and what disability community really means. The DVP models inclusion, and makes sure people can share their lives in ways that very few projects have ever done.

Give as much as you can to the DVP because it is it imperative that it continues to exist. The DVP is an intersectional platform for every single disabled person, and we need it to continue to learn grow and share!

Michele Kaplan, New York City, NY, @RebelwheelsNYC

Outdoor photo by the water, a young white woman dressed in rainbow-striped leggings, a red t-shirt and hat is in her wheelchair. She also has a hat and eyeglasses on. In the image is text with a black arrow pointing at her that reads: (shirt reads)

Besides being one of my main sources for disability and particularly intersectional disability content, Disability Visibility Project is really important because there are so many talented people in the disability community, but it’s nearly impossible to keep up with what everyone is doing. The Disability Visibility Project addresses that issue and is a great place to find out what’s happening on a creative/professional level in the community regardless of whether or not the disabled creator in question is well known or barely known at all.

Beth Haller, @mediadisdat

A white woman with short white hair. She is wearing glasses, an argyle sweater that's red, gray, black and white, and a pair of earrings. She is speaking to a web cam. Behind her are two tapestries hanging on the wall and a several coffee mugs.


Text transcript:

Hi, my name is Beth Haller. I’m the author of “Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media,” here to talk to you about your support for the Disability Visibility Project. Since its inception, this project has been really important at amplifying the voices of disabled people across the Internet. In addition, the project is also fantastic in the way it has gained media coverage in traditional news media for disability issues. It has really been an authentic conversation about disability on all kind of media platforms, especially social media, that was long overdue especially in American society and globally.

Grace Tsao, Chicago, IL

Photo of an Asian American woman with long straight hair. She is wearing a green sweater with white stripes and a necklace.

There are not many outlets for people with disabilities to be able to share their stories and views from their own perspective. Too much of what you see or hear in the media regarding disabled lives are written or told by able-bodied people so we often end up with stories that are either ableist or involve inspiration porn. The Disability Visibility Project gives voice to people with disabilities where we can tell our own stories, on our own terms. I’ve had the opportunity to share my story with the DVP and have been touched and amazed by how many people have been affected by my story and how it resonated with them. I have also learned so much about many issues affecting people with different types of disabilities from all over the world.

The DVP has been a central source for a wealth of knowledge I have gained about disability. In order for the DVP to continue to grow, expand, and reach even more people, it is imperative for us to contribute to this campaign that will help usher in the next phase of the DVP so it can continue to be an asset for our disability community as well as change narratives about disability in society. If you cannot afford much, even the smallest amount will make an impact. I know I will do my part.

Emily Ladau, Long Island, NY, @emily_ladau

Young white woman in a wheelchair. Her curly brown hair is tied back. She is wearing eyeglasses and a maroon sweater with white polka dots. Her wheelchair is black and in the background is a chalkboard.

The Disability Visibility Project (DVP) lives up to its name in bringing visibility to disability issues and the disability community. Knowing a project so devoted to disability representation exists is a source of empowerment for me, and gives me a source of strength as I work to advocate for disability rights. I believe there is immense value in supporting the DVP, because I know the DVP’s mission supports and respects my identity.

Mrs. Kerima Çevik, @kerima_cevik

Image of an Afro-Latina woman with long curly gray hair. She is staring out at the window that has white blinds.

Text transcript: The Disability Visibility Project shines like a beacon of hope to me, my family, and our community. It represents a resource that continually educates, brings a balanced perspective and allows the disabled community to voice triumphs, tragedies, their right to respect and dignity, and every aspect of the each multifaceted, complex life it reaches and amplifies. Alice Wong’s concept of curating a living history of our community while amplifying as many disabled voices as possible is a very healing and uplifting action in a very ableist, hateful, and divisive time. Please support the continuation of this project. It is my belief that for many of us, our very lives depend on having our voices heard and understood through projects like these.

Cheryl Green, Portland, OR, @WhoAmIToStopIt

Image description: A white woman with long, curly hair smiles broadly, with raised eyebrows, and speaks into a microphone on a podium. She clasps her hands together tightly and looks out at her audience. Her t-shirt is decorated with

The Disability Visibility Project is one of the best places on Facebook that centers stories of first-hand disability experience from a cultural perspective. The context is always about rights and social justice, not a focus on cure, eradicating disability, or overcoming the medical odds.

It’s meant the world to me to know where to get news and cultural stories curated by an actual disabled person of color. True social change won’t come if the white-dominated, non-disabled-led non-profits with resources continue to get center stage.

I love having an online community to visit with where I know people are truly interested and concerned about disability as part of social justice movements. Alice Wong does an outstanding job curating the posts and articles and keeping people focused on dialogue, not arguments.

There’s nothing better than having a place to find disability-related articles that aren’t going to overwhelm me with suggestions of cures, unsolicited advice, or other topics that distract us from disability rights and disability justice.

Disability Visibility Project has a huge reach. I often find articles in the Facebook group that I can share with my own network to expand the reach and get conversations going that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

Disability community is tired of being misrepresented in the media. Non-disabled people are tired of feeling like they’ll “always say the wrong thing” to us because they don’t know much about disability. The answer is more disabled-made media and disabled-made journalism. DVP is the best place I’ve found to get that content and amplify it online.

Emily Beitikis, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability

My name’s Emily Beitiks, and I’m the Associate Director at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability. We are very grateful for the Disability Visibility Project and everything that they do. I myself got to participate in their StoryCorps project and got to do an interview with Stanley Yarnell, who was a doctor for many, many years, and also developed a vision impairment while he was in the medical profession. Since doing his StoryCorps interview, he’s been contacted by a lot of young students who are trying to go to med school with vision impairments, and it’s just been a really great thing to get to share his story and have it out there. That’s due to the Disability Visibility Project and the push that they did to capture stories like Stanley’s. I know that everything that they do ahead is going to be really exciting too, so I’ll be making sure to make a donation. Thank you.

Mia Mingus, Oakland, CA, @miamingus

Black and white photo featuring a young queer disabled Korean woman. She is wearing glasses and a black v-neck tank top. She is standing in front of a bunch of trees with leaves all around her.

DVP has become one of those rare political projects that is truly about community and I think this is why it is has continued to grow so much and resonate with so many. By creating much-needed disabled media that is accessible and reflects so many different facets of the disability community, DVP is filling an important gap and creating an important public platform for the disability community. I love the Disability Visibility Project for too many reasons to list and I encourage everyone who can to support their work! Supporting DVP is an investment in disabled media, community and legacy for years and years to come.

Ken Stein, Berkeley, CA

Older white man with a fedora-type hat and a short-sleeve printed shirt. He is standing and both of his hands are resting on top of his cane. He has white hair and a white beard. He is standing inside a cafe.

Disability Exists. It is a demographic that is part of everyone’s life. It needs be on the table for public policy planning. Its impacts and significances increase exponentially across intersectional characteristics like gender, race, and sexual orientation.  And yet, it continues to be an invisible demographic, in spite of the fact that it is the largest civil-rights-protected minority in this country and around the world.

DVP is enabling people with disabilities to *finally* tell their stories. They are stories that need to be told, and stories that need to be heard.

For centuries, the voices of people with disabilities were silenced. DVP is a voice that needs to continue be heard, and is an organization that is worthy of all of our support.

Ingrid Tischer, Berkeley, CA, @IngridTischer

Image of an older white woman with glasses, her long hair is puled back and resting on one shoulder. She is looking away from the camera and smiling. She is wearing a dark-colored shirt and a necklace.

People with disabilities have a hidden history. I always knew this was true in my nation’s history and sometimes within my own family. But it was recording stories with the Disability Visibility Project with my friend and then with my husband that I realized that some of my history was hidden even to me. Telling our stories creates a powerful cultural narrative, tradition, and legacy. But coaxing them out, organizing them, and archiving them takes hard work. Making sure people know that our stories are there to be heard and shared takes resources. Our history is worthy. It’s more than worth a gift to help underwrite its preservation.

American Association of People with Disabilities, @AAPD

Graphic with a white background. In the center in bold capital letters in dark navy blue: AAPD. To its left is a square image with a white circle inside that looks like an 'on' or 'start' button also in dark navy blue.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud to support the Disability Visibility Project because every story deserves to be told. The work of the DVP is critical to amplifying the diverse life experiences and culture of the disability community.

Steve Brown and Lillian Gonzales Brown, Institute on Disability Culture Co-Founders, @disculture

We are thrilled to support the Disability Visibility Project (DVP). Why? It’s simple: Our goals and vision complement each other. The DVP focus on being an “online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture,” and the Institute on Disability Culture (IDC) mission of “promoting pride in the history, activities and cultural identity of individuals with disabilities throughout the world,” might even be vision statements and historical reflections and evolution of disability culture from the 1990s (IDC) to the 2010s (DVP). Sharing our stories has become more urgent today than ever. We need to show the world we are people who need to be recognized for our inherent dignity and value and be supported in finding and sharing the best of ourselves. And that’s exactly what the DVP does and why we are ardent supporters—and hope you will be too.

Haben Girma, @HabenGirma

Photo with a blue background with a young Black woman with long hair pulled back. Her body is turned at an angle toward the camera. She is wearing a black sweater, gold earrings. She is smiling.

The DVP facilitates critical conversations on disability. It’s a valuable resource for all of us. We need the DVP.

Image description: graphic with a bright yellow background and black text centered that reads: #CripTheVote Twitter, Chat Mapping Our Intersectional Futures, December 7, 2016, 7 pm Eastern, Guest Hosts: Dominick Evans, Sandy Ho, Talila “TL” Lewis and Vilissa K. Thompson

12/7 #CripTheVote Chat: Mapping Our Intersectional Futures

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat 

Mapping Our Intersectional Futures

December 7, 2016, 7 pm Eastern

Guest Hosts: Dominick Evans, Sandy Ho,  Talila “TL” Lewis and Vilissa K. Thompson

Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, the co-partners of #CripTheVote recently published their updated mission after the 2016 election. Join us for our 15th chat focusing on intersectional activism, political participation, and next steps. We are proud and honored to have four stellar guest hosts: Dominick Evans, Sandy Ho, Talila “TL” Lewis and Vilissa K. Thompson.

How to Participate

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan on Twitter

Follow the Guest Hosts on Twitter: @dominickevans @IntersectedCrip @talilalewis @VilissaThompson

When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for live tweets under the ‘Live’ tab to follow the full conversation.

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions, check @DisVisibility’s tweets. Each question will tweeted 8-9 minutes apart.

Use the hashtag #CripTheVote when you tweet. If you can’t join us on 12/7, feel free to tweet anytime before or after with the hashtag.

If you don’t use Twitter, check out the live-stream:

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan:

Questions for the 12/7/16 Twitter Chat

Welcome to our chat on #IntersectionalActivism. 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

Before we start, let’s name & honor the Black feminist who coined the term #intersectionality, legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. #CripTheVote

In a recent article, Crenshaw describes #intersectionality as “a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power.” #CripTheVote

#MustRead: A piece by Kimberlé Crenshaw, legal scholar & critical race theorist, on intersectionality. #CripTheVote

Q1 What does #intersectionality mean to you? What do you think an intersectional future for the disability community look like? #CripTheVote

Q2 What are examples of critical issues & concerns facing multiply marginalized disabled people right now, pre-/post-election? #CripTheVote

Q3 Why is it urgent that any activism within the disability community is intersectional in light of the recent election? #CripTheVote

Q4 What is preventing our disability communities from being intersectional? What mindsets and practices need to change?  #CripTheVote

Q5 What are some examples of #IntersectionalActivism you want to highlight? Please signal boost groups, folks or links! #CripTheVote

Q6 How can we encourage intersectional disabled people to become more involved in activism? How do we support those who are? #CripTheVote

Q7 How will you make your activism intersectional & pressure orgs you support to do the same? Provide specific ideas/examples? #CripTheVote

Q8: What work does the disability community have to take on now to build an intersectional future? What are the first steps? #CripTheVote

This ends our #CripTheVote chat. Many thanks to guest hosts @talilalewis @dominickevans @IntersectedCrip & @VilissaThompson!

Please continue the convo! This Twitter chat will be archived in Storify later this evening. Look for tweets with the #CripTheVote hashtag

Additional Reading

Crenshaw, Kimberlé. (September 24, 2015). Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait. Washington Post.

Blahovec, Sarah. (November 21, 2016). Five Lessons I’ve Learned About Intersectional Disability Activism. Huffington Post.

Brown, Keah. (October 14, 2016). Disabled People Of Color Struggle To Be Heard. The Establishment.

Çevik, Kerima. (October 19, 2015). Random Thoughts at The Intersection of Race, White Privilege, and Disability Rights Advocacy. Intersected.

Lewis, Talila A. (July 22, 2016). Achieving Liberation Through Disability Solidarity.

Lewis, Talila A. (August 28, 2016). Fighting for Free[dom] & the Expense of Erasure.

National Council on Independent Living Diversity Committee. (November 30, 2016). We Can’t Breathe: The Deaf & Disabled Margin of Police Brutality Project.

The Harriet Tubman Collective. (September 8, 2016). Disability Solidarity: Completing the “Vision for Black Lives.”

Thompson, Vilissa & Wong, Alice. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part One. Ramp Your Voice!

Thompson, Vilissa & Wong, Alice. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part Two. Ramp Your Voice! Disability Visibility Project.

Wade, Carrie. (November 14, 2016). Lessons For Our Future From the Disability Intersectionality Summit. Autostraddle.

Statement from the National Disability Leadership Alliance on Solidarity and the 2016 Presidential Election:

Williams, Steve. (August 21, 2014) What is Intersectionality and Why Is It Important? Care2 Causes.

About #CripTheVote

#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan online movement activating and engaging disabled people on policies and practices important to the disability community. For more:

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.

“Like” #CripTheVote Facebook Page

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

Light green graphic with black text that reads: #CripLit Twitter Chat Resistance Through Writing, December 4, 2016, 7 pm Eastern Co-Hosts: @Nicolaz and @DisVisibility

12/4 #CripLit Chat: Resistance Through Writing

#CripLit Twitter Chat

Resistance Through Writing

Sunday, December 4, 2016

4 pm Pacific/ 7 pm Eastern

Co-Hosts: Nicola Griffith @Nicolaz and Alice Wong @DisVisibility

Co-partners of #CripLit, novelist Nicola Griffith and Disability Visibility Project’s Alice Wong, are proud to host the fourth #CripLit Twitter chat for disabled writers.

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 and @DisVisibility 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 timed several minutes apart.  

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan:

If you don’t use Twitter and want to follow along in real-time, check out the live-stream:  

#CripLit Tweets for 12/4 chat

Welcome to our 4th #CripLit chat. We had planned a chat with disabled editors but the recent US election has made this topic more urgent.

We hope to bring you that editor roundtable next month but this chat will discuss resistance through writing. #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 plus any links about you & your work #CripLit

Q2 As a disabled writer, what do you feel the need to resist right now? What forces are you ‘up against’? #CripLit

Q3 Whose writing has made a difference to you? In what way? #CripLit

Q4 What is the role of artists and writers in resistance and speaking truth to power in times of upheaval and uncertainty? #CripLit

Q5 Will writing be part of your resistance? What will you write about? #CripLit

Q6 Who do you want to read your work of resistance? Will you write in a different way to persuade your readers to resist? #CripLit

Q7 How will you and your work reach those readers? What strategies or advice do you have on getting one’s work out? #CripLit

Q8 What do you want your readers to take away from your writing? What actions or changes are you hoping for? #CripLit

Q9 What do you do for self-care during difficult times? What nurtures and sustains your creativity, passion, & ability to write? #CripLit

Q10 How can we best support each other in the next year? What critical conversations should disabled writers be having? #CripLit

This concludes our 4th #CripLit chat! Please keep the convo going.

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)

No Place For Self-Pity, No Room For Fear

Toni Morrison, The Nation (3/23/15)

Writing as Resistance

Chris Hedges, Washington’s Blog (7/17/16)


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.

Nicola Griffith is a British novelist, now dual US/UK citizen. In Yorkshire, England, 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. She was diagnosed with MS the same month her first novel Ammonite was published. Her other novels are Slow River, The Blue Place, Stay, Always and Hild. 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. Among other honours her work has won the Washington State Book Award, the Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, the Premio Italia, and six Lambda Literary Awards. She is married to writer Kelley Eskridge and lives in Seattle where she emerges occasionally from work on her seventh novel to drink just the right amount of beer and take enormous delight in everything.

Twitter: @nicolaz




Asian American woman in a wheelchair. She is wearing a black jacket with a black patterned scarf. She is wearing a mask over her nose with a tube for her Bi-Pap machine. Behind her is a wall full of colorful graffiti

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.  

Twitter: @SFdirewolf



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

Looking Ahead: The Future of #CripTheVote

The 2016 Presidential election is officially over. This was an unprecedented election for many reasons. When #CripTheVote started this past February, our primary goal was “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.”

As the co-partners of #CripTheVote, we’re here to tell you about our expanded vision thanks to the participation of the disability community.

#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan online movement activating and engaging disabled people on policies and practices important to the disability community. Our movement is grounded in online conversations encouraging individual and collective action in the face of inequality, ableism, and oppression in all forms. Our movement is intersectional, local, global, and focused on the political participation of disabled people.

Specifically, #CripTheVote will …

  • Continue to be an intersectional movement by and for the entire disability community.
  • Keep our hashtag as it is.
  • Remain online, community-based, and as decentralized as possible.
  • Expand our focus beyond voting to other forms of political participation.
  • Ask questions and demand accountability from our elected and public officials.
  • Engage with disability issues at the local, state, national, and international levels.
  • Provide a space for conversation as stimulus for collective action.
  • Support direct actions and organizers by sharing and amplifying information about them.
  • Partner with disabled people and organizations in broadening our movement’s perspectives and expertise.
  • Refrain from endorsing or supporting candidates, public officials, or political parties.
  • Oppose and critique any policy or practice that potentially harms disabled people.
  • Explore and promote promising ideas for better disability policies and practices.
  • We do not intend to become a nonprofit organization, raise money, or otherwise “professionalize” #CripTheVote.


Please complete this online survey and let us know what you’d like to see in the future from #CripTheVote:

For a Word or Google document of the survey, please contact Andrew Pulrang (see below). If you prefer to email us directly with your comments, please do!


We are so grateful to the disability community for making #CripTheVote the force that it has become. It will take our continued effort as a community to keep things going. Without all of you taking ownership of the hashtag we could not have the impact we have had, and make no mistake we have had an impact. The level of the discussion around disability issues has been raised in all spheres. Politicians, the media and the public know that our community can no longer be placated by a mere mention and that we demand engagement. This is something we can build on as we move into an uncertain future. Thank you all.

In solidarity,

Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang, and Alice Wong

Co-Partners, #CripTheVote

Stay In Touch!




“Like” the #CripTheVote Facebook page for updates and events:

Subscribe to the Disability Visibility Project and Disability Thinking for related blog posts

Follow the co-partners on Twitter:

@AndrewPulrang @GreggBeratan @SFdirewolf (also @DisVisibility)


A Movement begins when large numbers of people, having reached the point where they feel they can’t take the way things are any more, see some hope of improving their daily lives and begin to move on their own to bring about change.

A Movement begins to assume momentum when people begin exploring visionary answers to the questions being asked at the grassroots and engage in practical activities which can be replicated without huge bureaucracies. In the early stages of a Movement, the visionary answers being explored usually strike most people as too radical or too impractical. If they don’t, they are probably not profound enough to build a Movement.

–Grace Lee Boggs

[Excerpt from Grace Lee Boggs, “Towards A New Vision and a New Movement,” presented at the University of Michigan Law School Symposium, October 13-14, 1995.]

Graphic with a light blue background with black text that reads: #CripTheVote Post-Election Chat, November 10, 2016 7 pm Eastern, Where do we go from here? What's next? Hosts: @AndrewPulrang @GreggBeratan @DisVisibility

11/10 Post-Election #CripTheVote Chat: #WhatsNext


Post-Election Chat

Thursday, November 10, 2016

7 pm Eastern

Hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote Twitter chats explored various policy issues important to people with disabilities this year. Our first chat was in February and nine months later our 14th Twitter chat will follow up on the results from Election Day, give us a chance to process what happened and start considering what’s next.

Thanks to Ijeoma Oluo for starting the hashtag #WhatsNext

How to Participate

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan on Twitter

When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for theories of live tweets under the ‘Live tab to follow the full conversation. 

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions, check @DisVisibility’s tweets. Each question will tweeted 8-9 minutes apart.

Use the hashtag #CripTheVote when you tweet. If you can’t join us on 11/10, feel free to tweet anytime before or after with the hashtag.

If you don’t use Twitter, check out the live-stream:

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan:

Questions for the 11/10/16 Twitter Chat

Welcome to our Post-Election Day chat. 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

FYI: we will not be engaging in pointing fingers and finding fault about what happened during #Election2016. Gotta look ahead. #CripTheVote

This chat is a time for us to look ahead AND to hold space for each other, provide support and process our feelings. #CripTheVote

Please practice self-care and if the conversation is too distressing, feel free to take a break or seek help. #CripTheVote

Q1 So….that was some election. How are you feeling right now?  #CripTheVote

Q2 When in pain, feeling stressed or traumatized, what are some things you do for self-care and healing? #CripTheVote

Q3 What surprised you the most about the election results? #CripTheVote

Q4 What are your concerns and thoughts about the future Trump administration? #CripTheVote

Q5 Based on what you know about Trump’s policy platform, what changes in policies will impact disabled people the most? #CripTheVote

Q6 For many in the community who feel threatened by Trump, esp intersectional disabled people, how can we support one another? #CripTheVote

Q7: #CripTheVote will continue well after Election Day. What recommendations do you have for our movement in the future? #WhatsNext?

It’s ok if you’re not ready to think about #WhatsNext and need time to just be. Your survival and existence matters. #CripTheVote

Q8: The work of creating community & bridging divides is hard. What ‘work’ does the disability community have to take on now? #CripTheVote

Again, if you’re exhausted, in pain, and struggling to ‘fight another day,’ we get it. #CripTheVote will be here when you’re ready.

This ends our #CripTheVote chat. Many thanks to everyone who participated. Sending you all hugs of solidarity!

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

About #CripTheVote

#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.

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.

Facebook Page:

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

Media Talk 3: “Martha and Sara” and Disability Narratives

This year the Clinton campaign featured an unprecedented number of ads featuring people with disabilities that were the subject of two DVP Media Talk blog posts here and here.

As Election Day approaches, the Clinton campaign published two more ads, “Loetta speaks about mental health” and “Bryce.”

For this third DVP Media Talk blog post, here are some responses to the ad “Martha and Sara” by disabled/Deaf people (including a few non-disabled people to mix things up).

These critiques are not attacks on the people featured in the video but rather commentary about the framing and messaging of the ad itself. Nor are they attacks on the candidate Hillary Clinton.


Rachel Arfa

I’m used to political campaigns not being inclusive of disabilities as they campaign. Not this election and not our future President, Hillary Clinton. I’ve been impressed by how Hillary Clinton has several people with disabilities involved with her campaign. And now this story shared by Hillary Clinton could be the story my family tells. My parents fought for me to have equal access to all aspects of life – and it paid off. Our policies do matter. This mom could be my mom. Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for making sure these stories are shared.

Meriah Nichols

I have really mixed feelings about this. I mean, 100% kudos to Hillary Clinton and all that insurance awesome-sauce. For me, it gets a little dicey when they focus is so hard on ORAL stuff for deaf kids. Let me tell you this: Katherine’s cochlear implant isn’t working. I took out my hearing aids in solidarity – we’d both hear nothing. Katherine knows fluent ASL, I’m 43 years old and learning. Both of us are ninja lip-readers. But guess who can communicate without any problem? Not me. Because I struggle with ASL and lip reading is never perfect. So I am concerned about a message like this being shown to parents of deaf kids – saying that they can learn sign language later – that it’s most important to capture that moment with spoken language acquisition. That is simply not true – BOTH are important. Spoken, yes, and also the signed piece. It seems in this video that the daughter did learn ASL, but it is not clear, it’s not emphasized and the repeated message that parents are getting is that spoken is more important than ASL. Which is wrong.

Adam Pottle

I have a few problems with this video. First of all, it’s textbook inspiration porn. The up-swelling music, the overcoming-obstacles narrative, the tears…it’s all meant to affirm the normalcy. It seems like it’s confirming the status quo (which Clinton has been accused of doing) rather than moving in a new and refreshing direction (the way Obama did).

Secondly, I can’t shake the feeling that this story exploits this family. It seems Martha and Sara were handpicked to tell this story. Their story’s relationship to Hillary’s efforts feels tenuous; Hillary was one of dozens of people who worked on that legislation, and while she did play a part in it, we can’t forget that many other people – some of whom may have been Deaf or had disabilities – did too.

Thirdly, this video tells only part of the story. How many Deaf people has Hillary helped? How many people use ASL and can take pride in themselves as Deaf people as a result of Hillary’s actions? The daughter signs, but we don’t see her interact with any Deaf people. We see her doing “normal” things – graduating school, snowboarding, hanging out with friends – and that’s what this video is doing: it’s reaffirming normalcy. It’s emphasizing the status quo.

Athena Hitchin

I’m mixed on this as I understand that the story was trying to show how programs like the Children’s Defense Fund have help disabled children and it did do so and there are plenty of better examples that programs that showed this, a personal example of this being funding of development programs to help children which due to brain damage reach there milestones as babies (like myself as an infant after having neonatal meningitis), but like many of ways that the Clinton campaign is trying to show how she has helped they often are almost insulting or trying to put down disabled cultures like those of the deaf community. I am deaf, in my right ear and sorta felt like the mother’s statement of the deaf community was sorta ableist. I once turned down as a teen the offer to have hearing in that ear through a bone anchor device, being not interested in having it having never known anything other then hear from my left ear so how the statements were presented in this video, didn’t set well with me…

Vilissa K. Thompson

What bothered me was that the video displayed the mother’s perspective and allowed the daughter to be a “footnote” – a mere mention to a narrative that was about her life. I’d love to have heard her daughter discuss her journey as a deaf person – not her mother’s sharing about being a parent of a deaf person.

As someone who is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids, it always strikes me as strange to hear parents discuss how not being able to hear well or being deaf are such burdens to their child. When I was diagnosed at 13 with hearing loss due to Osteogenesis Imperfecta, my hearing loss was not painted as problematic, and I was able to decide if I wanted to utilize hearing aids or not. I chose hearing aids because I felt that it was the best option for me, but I feel confident that if I did decide that hearing aids was not a solution, my Grandmother would have respected my wish. My hearing loss has only been a “burden” when others have tried to make me feel insecure about it or failed to make appropriate accommodations; my HoH status is not something I am ashamed of. I look at being HoH as being a wheelchair user or a little woman – none of these identities are a problem for me, and are only is made a problem when others are ignorant or insensitive to what makes me uniquely me.

I feel that campaign ad videos like this one projects an inaccurate view about disability, and continues to strengthen the narrative that disabled people need to be made “normal.” We are fine the way we are – accept us for who we are and respect our disabilities.

Rayne Depukat

I find it highly offensive that at a time when Deaf folks using ASL are holding prominent positions in the White House, that this is the example of a Deaf person that is shown. At a time when language deprivation is the hottest topic among Deaf folks, this is what Hillary uses to self promote. This shows one type of deaf person, one who values spoken English over signed languages and who feels that her communication is superior to the communication of those using ASL. That is not representative of d/Deaf folks in general and is purely pathological. I’m actually deeply disturbed by this ad but not surprised. I had hoped Hillary might have been more inclusive. (Disclosure: I’m hearing w/ Deaf family)

Matthew Dietz

For me there are three questions – it right or wrong for parents to make these decisions for a child with a disability, whether it is a cochlear implant, ABA therapies, institutionalization, etc.. (2) did this parent give her child more of an option by early intervention, but also teaching about Deaf Culture., (3) is it ableist for the state to pay for some services and not others – should the state have a more pro disability policy by funding other options.

Clark Matthews

So look, the underlying PLOT of Martha and Sara is fine and worth shining a light on:

“Because of the Children’s Health Insurance Program that Hillary Clinton fought for, a family was able to access options for their daughter’s care that would have been unavailable otherwise.”

The filmmakers unfortunately conflated overcoming inequities in the healthcare system with the narrative of “overcoming” disability.

It’s complicated because, in a social vacuum, Martha’s story is just as worthwhile as Sara’s story. But we don’t live in a vacuum, we live in a mediascape that’s far more empathetic to Martha’s experience as the parent of disabled child than we are to Sara’s experience as a disabled young adult.

While part of me wants to say, “Well ok, so just aim to split it 50/50 between mother and daughter,” I noticed that with both Sara AND Ryan that the audience was never actually told what they’re up to now. Martha said Sara knows what she wants to do and is able to do it … but what is “it”?

It’s tough because these campaign videos really are all about Hillary. They exist to illustrate HER actions, to show the results of decisions SHE has made, which is completely understandable – an election is a referendum on a candidate’s actions and decisions.

The structure I’D like to see is, “Because Hillary Clinton did _____, I had the opportunity to choose to do _____.”

I’d love to see the narrative be that her actions have enabled others to act, which has enabled others to act, and so on that it’s not that she’s the lone agent of change and these other people have just benefitted from her benevolence but that her actions have set off a chain reaction of agency.

Not only is that a story I believe voters with disabilities would rather see but I think it’s a story voters without disabilities would be more responsive to, too. That all of theses government policies and programs don’t exist just to do FOR people, government can actually empower people so that they can do FOR THEMSELVES.

And of course…FUCK. THAT. MUSIC.

Amy Sequenzia

The mother seems to believe that speaking deaf people can do more (be more?) than the ones who don’t speak. I am not deaf but I am non speaking and this sounds a lot like when parents of Autistic children decide that ABA is helpful because it is the only way society will accept the child. It is compliance, accepting inequality And my usual complaint: where are the intellectually disabled, who need many supports, and are people of color?

Again, I feel like people who look a lot like me are not really in the minds of politicians.

Like it was in the convention, the disabled person needs to be “successful”, “independent” to have a place, to be valued or the disabled person does not get to speak, and becomes an object of pity.

Laura Mauldin

This video captures the reality that many families live with at least one family member with a disability, and these statistics are only showing the number to increasing. However, the video also uncritically buys into the narrative that disability is only a matter of a medical fix, and not also a social issue. Yes, children need health insurance. We all need health insurance. Yes, Hillary did a great thing by getting CHIP up and going. But it is dangerous to present healthcare as a silver bullet on disability issues. We also cannot argue for healthcare at the expense of thinking about the politics of the care that then gets implemented. The main problem is that it uses disability (and particularly deafness) in a disingenuous manner. It relies on the trope of the individual “overcoming” their disability and holds up the mythical technological/medical fix.The nuances of the particular experience of d/Deaf people being are lost and instead overcoming deafness is held up as a symbol of ‘inspiration’ achievable with the cochlear implant.


Emily Ladau



David Perry

Storify of Tweets by David Perry and other people about the ad:

Clinton Campaign and Disability Advertising – So Close to Good

The Clinton Campaign has been the most engaged with disability issues in U.S. presidential history. They are dedicated and have good intentions, and their policies are mostly excellent. But their ad campaigns often deploy disability as a prop, center only parents, or otherwise are problematic.

White image with black text that reads: Disability Visibility Project™, #IntersectionalCrips Twitter Chat, Guest host: Sandy Ho @DIS_DPC, November 3, 2016 8 pm Eastern. In the lower left quadrant of the graphic is an image with a white background with 'DIS' in large letters in red, orange, and yellow respectively. Underneath 'DIS' are the words: Disability Intersectionality Summit. In the lower right quadrant of the graphic is an image with the yellow background with black text that reads: disability visibility project™

11/3: #IntersectionalCrips Twitter Chat

Disability Visibility Project™

#IntersectionalCrips Twitter Chat

Guest host: Sandy Ho

Thursday, November 3, 2016

5 pm Pacific/ 8 pm Eastern

The Disability Visibility Project is proud to partner with Sandy Ho, a queer Asian American disabled activist about intersectionality in the disability community. Sandy is the organizer of the first-ever Disability & Intersectionality Summit. For more about Sandy and the summit:

The summit will be 9-5 pm on Nov. 5th in Boston with the option of live-streaming. Details about the event and tickets, here:

In a recent interview with Sandy, she describes intersectionality as:

…the consideration and acceptance of every facet of a person’s identity, and existence. Whether that’s race, gender, class, sexual preference, sexual identity, disability, or immigration status – the point of intersectionality is not just to understand where and how an individual came to their experiences, but the question of “why?”

All are welcome, especially disabled people with multiple intersectional identities. Join us on Twitter to talk about diversity within the disability community, share your stories, and receive a preview the presentations at the upcoming Disability & Intersectionality Summit!

How to Participate

Follow @DisVisibility on Twitter

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

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan:

Tweets for 11/3 chat

Welcome to our chat on intersectionality & disability! Thrilled to have guest host @DIS_DPC join us! #IntersectionalCrips

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

Q1 Roll call! Please introduce yourself, how you identify & share any links about who you are & what you do. #IntersectionalCrips

Time to give some props: legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, a Black feminist coined the term intersectionality #IntersectionalCrips

In a 2015 article, Crenshaw described it as “a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power” #IntersectionalCrips

Last tweet: link of opinion piece by Kimberlé Crenshaw, legal scholar & critical race theorist #IntersectionalCrips

Q2 How does intersectionality affect the way you see yourself? How do you think it affects the way our society sees you? #IntersectionalCrips

Q3  If you identify with the term #IntersectionalCrips what does it mean to you? How does this impact your perspective or experiences?

Q4 What are some issues you’ve faced with multiple communities you belong to? Any tensions or conflicts? #IntersectionalCrips

Q5 How can the disability community ‘get woke’ on the culture, priorities, & needs of #IntersectionalCrips ?

Q6 How can our community and our social systems (beyond disability community) better engage with #IntersectionalCrips ?

Q7 If you are attending the Disability & Intersectionality Summit, what are you most excited about? #IntersectionalCrips

Q8 If you are a speaker at the Summit this Saturday, tell us a little about your talk & what you’re looking forward to. #IntersectionalCrips

Q9 How can we as #IntersectionalCrips build spaces for us to thrive in and support one another? What should our disabled allies do?

Q10 What actions or results would you like to see come from Disability & Intersectionality Summit? #IntersectionalCrips

Additional Links

Crenshaw, Kimberlé (September 24, 2015) Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait. Washington Post 

Thompson, Vilissa & Wong, Alice. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part One. Ramp Your Voice!

Thompson, Vilissa & Wong, Alice. (July 26, 2016). #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part Two. Ramp Your Voice! Disability Visibility Project.

Brown, Keah. (October 14, 2016). Disabled People Of Color Struggle To Be Heard. The Establishment.


Image of Sandy Ho, a young Asian American woman in a wheelchair, outdoors on a sunny day. She is wearing sunglasses.

Sandy Ho lives in Massachusetts, and is a disability activist, and presenter. Sandy had formerly helped to found Thrive Mentoring which is a group for young disabled women who are mentored by older disabled women which still continues to exist today. The Disability & Intersectionality Summit is her first concrete action towards addressing race relations, and the lived experiences of multiple minorities in the disability community. She loves attending Red Sox games, and reading fiction novels in her spare time.

Twitter: @DIS_DPC


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. 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.  

Twitter: @SFdirewolf



Pumpkin orange background with black text that reads: #CripTheVote Twitter Chat Healthcare October 30, 2016 7-8:30 pm Eastern Guest hosts: @aneeman @Mae_DayJ

10/30 #CripTheVote chat: Healthcare

#CripTheVote Twitter Chat


Thursday, October 30, 2016

7-8:30 pm Eastern

Guest hosts: Ari Ne’eman and Maelee Johnson

Hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote Twitter chats explored various policy issues important to people with disabilities this year. Our 13th Twitter chat will focus on healthcare and we are thrilled to have two guest hosts who are passionate about this subject: Ari Ne’eman and Maelee Johnson.

Since this will be our final chat before Election Day, it will be 90 minutes and chock-full of good stuff. You can find the questions for this chat in this post. The Twitter chat will be archived in Storify for anyone who would like to see it in chronological order at a later date.

How to Participate

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan @aneeman @Mae_DayJ on Twitter

When it’s time, search #CripTheVote on Twitter for the series of live tweets under the ‘Live’ tab to follow the full conversation. 

If you might be overwhelmed by the volume of tweets and only want to see the chat’s questions, check @DisVisibility’s tweets. Each question will tweeted 4-5 minutes apart.

Use the hashtag #CripTheVote when you tweet. If you can’t join us on 10/30, feel free to tweet anytime before or after with the hashtag.

If you don’t use Twitter, check out the live-stream:

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan:

Questions for the 10/30/16 Twitter Chat

Welcome to our chat on healthcare w/ guest hosts @aneeman & @Mae_DayJ! Please remember to use the #CripTheVote hashtag when you tweet

Quick reminder: this chat will be 90 minutes instead of the usual hour. Feel free to take breaks! #CripTheVote

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

During this chat, ‘healthcare coverage’ can refer to #Medicaid, #Medicare, employer-based insurance…#CripTheVote 1/2

… insurance from a state or federal exchange, Veteran’s Health Admin., Children’s Health Insurance Program, or other #CripTheVote 2/2

Q1 If you are willing, share with us the type of healthcare coverage you have & how important it is to your life. #CripTheVote

Q2 Have you faced any challenges or barriers in becoming eligible, affording, or keeping your current healthcare insurance? #CripTheVote

Q3 If you used to be uninsured or are currently uninsured, how does lack of coverage impact your life as a disabled person? #CripTheVote

In the last 2 debates, Trump said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and many in the community #CripTheVote tweeted about it

The ACA requires insurance plans to cover preventive care and they cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions #CripTheVote

Q4 Describe how Obamacare changed your life (if it has). What are the strengths/drawbacks about the ACA for disabled people? #CripTheVote

Q5 What are your fears when politicians say they want to repeal the ACA? How would your life change if it was repealed? #CripTheVote

Many disabled people go into medical debt or spend a lot $$$ for meds, therapies, hospital stays, supplies, DME, etc #CripTheVote

Q6 What are some things you need for your health that aren’t covered? #CripTheVote

Q7 Finding a primary care doc can be hard. For disabled people who need specialists it can be tougher. Tell us your stories. #CripTheVote

Q8 Should Long Term Services and Supports be part of healthcare policy, or separate? Should integration be the goal?  #CripTheVote

Q9 What’s your stance on legalization of medical marijuana? What other forms of pain relief do you rely on? #CripTheVote

Q10 What is missing in the conversation about the abuse of opioids & prescription meds that non-disabled folks don’t get? #CripTheVote

Q11 Mental health care is often separate from local health systems in general. What changes can improve access to MH services? #CripTheVote

Q12 What are some changes or recommendations you’d like to make about medical treatment for specific disabilities? #CripTheVote

Q13 Only recently, clinical studies considered differences gender & race. How can research be more inclusive of disabled ppl? #CripTheVote

Q14 The health disparities btwn disabled & non-disabled ppl are shocking. What have you seen & experienced? How can it change? #CripTheVote

Q15 Why do so many people associate disability w/ poor health? How do you participate in wellness and physical activity?  #CripTheVote

Q16 What is your dream healthcare scenario? What would the system and services look like? How would it serve all people well? #CripTheVote

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

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

Additional links

Snapshot of Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Stand on Seven Health Care Issues

Kaiser Family Foundation, October 6, 2016

As Medicaid loses stigma, election may cloud its future

Associated Press, October 24, 2016

Treated Like Addicts

Christopher Zara, October 24, 2016, Vice News

Health Care Law’s Beneficiaries Reflect Its Strengths, and Its Faults

Abby Goodnough and Reed Abelson, October 14, 2016, New York Times

The Public Health Statistic that Fails Disabled People

Reid Knight, October 19, 2016, Rooted in Rights

How Gaps In Mental Health Care Play Out In Emergency Rooms

Shefali Luthra, October 17, 2016, NPR

About the Affordable Care Act

Healthcare Coverage and Access

The Commonwealth Fund

Healthcare Access

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Health Care

National Council on Disability

Reducing Health Disparities for People with Disabilities: A Public Health Challenge

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Resources on voting and people with disabilities:

#CripTheVote Facebook Page:

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

#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.

Photo of an Asian American woman in a wheelchair holding a white piece of paper that says, "I Vote because...the Medicaid poverty trap needs to end."

Disability Visibility in Election 2016: The #CripTheVote Campaign

Alice Wong, Co-Partner in #CripTheVote and Founder and Project Coordinator of the Disability Visibility Project™, created a video presentation for the opening panel of the Disability Rights Bar Association West Coast Conference“Intersectionality and Oppression: A Day of Cross-Movement Coalition Building and Skill Sharing.”

The title of the talk is “Disability Visibility in Election 2016: The #CripTheVote Campaign” for the opening panel, “Using Social Media to Forward Civil Rights Movements,” that will take place on October 20, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.

Thank you to Andrew Pulrang and Gregg Beratan, #CripTheVote co-partners, for their support!

Below the clip you will find the full text transcript and image descriptions featured in the video.


Hi, my name is Alice Wong and I love social media. I use it in my personal life and in my work as an activist. I’d like to thank Michelle Uzeta for inviting me to talk with you today. I can’t be there in person, but I prepared a short video presentation instead. And by the way, images in this video are described in detail in my PowerPoint slides.

I’ll be talking about my involvement in Crip The Vote and our campaign’s usage of social media, how people are using our hashtag to advance political participation and voting rights, and some final lessons learned so far in our 10 months of existence.

[Graphic with a white background. In the center is 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. The word “#CripTheVote” is below that image.]

I’m the founder of the Disability Visibility Project™, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. You can check out my website at Disability Visibility Project dot com.

I’m also a co-partner in Crip The Vote, a nonpartisan online campaign to engage people in a productive discussion about disability issues during this Presidential election.

[Rectangular graphic with a white background. In the center is 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. The word “#CripTheVote” is to the left of that image.]

Here are images of my co-partners, Andrew Pulrang on the left and Gregg Beratan on the right. This is from a recent Google hangout when we gave a presentation at a voting summit for disabled youth in Sacramento.

[Two screengrabs from Google hangouts overlapping one another in the slide. The one on the left is of an older white man with short brown hair and eyeglasses. He is wearing a purple turtleneck and wearing earbuds in his ears. He has a graphic across the image that reads: Andrew Pulrang, #CripTheVote @AndrewPulrang

On the right is the image of a middle-aged white man with brown hair and a beard. He is wearing glasses and a dark colored shirt. He has a graphic that reads: Gregg Beratan, #CripTheVote @GreggBeratan. Below that image you can see smaller squares showing Andrew and another participant in the google chat, Alice Wong.]

The mission of the Crip The Vote is three-fold: to encourage disabled people to become politically active; to amplify the voices of people with disabilities and the issues they care about; and to share our views on disability policies to the public.

Crip The Vote’s activities take place primarily on Twitter. We also have a Facebook group with our events and updates. We chose this approach for the following reasons:

  1. It takes a lot of resources and energy to organize in-person events
  1. We can have conversations with a wide range of people with disabilities by using the hashtag itself and scheduled Twitter chats on specific issues
  1. It’s relatively easy to use social media and doesn’t require any special training or preparation and
  1. For three people who don’t do this for a living or with any professional connections to the political world, Twitter is one direct and public way to insert ourselves into the broader policy and election conversation

The strength of Crip The Vote is in creating spaces for our community. We believe online campaigns can go hand-in-hand with grassroots community organizing. We may not be involved in specific direct actions or protests, but we have motivated people to register to vote or engage with civil society for the first time. This can have a fantastic ripple effect when shared on social media. We also realize that social media is not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s ok! Using social media is a privilege and we recognize that.

There simply isn’t enough intersectional disability representation in media. I’ll describe some of our activities and how Crip The Vote advances political participation, disability rights and voting rights with an intersectional approach.

We’ve hosted 10 Twitter chats this year on topics such as storytelling, mass incarceration, long-term services and supports, violence, voting rights, and voter suppression. These chats ask questions that recognize the intersectional experiences of complex disabled lives—that we’re not from a monolithic white majority of wheelchair users and that multiply marginalized disabled people experience disability differently.

Here are a few tweets from our June 18th chat on mass incarceration, disability and the legal system with guest host T.L. Lewis, an attorney, professor, and activist:

Emmanuel AM Sam tweeted:

The criminalization of poor people happens at the hashtag intersectionality of race, class & gender. It breaks than building. Hashtag Crip The Vote.

Lydia X.Z. Brown tweeted:

Police assume atypical communication is noncompliance, can be deadly for disabled people of color. Hashtag Crip The Vote.

T.L. Lewis tweeted:

Women with an x, Indigenous, Black, QTPOC folx are disproportionately affected by poverty & disability. With that the hashtag Bail Trap is set. Hashtag Crip The Vote.

These are just a few examples that highlight the rich and powerful perspectives shared during our chats. Most discussions during this Presidential election about mass incarceration haven’t touched on any of these important aspects. To document our work, all of our Twitter chats are Storified and can be found here at: storify dot com slash SF direwolf

[Screengrab of Alice Wong’s Storify page, just the top section. There is a horizontal background of blue polka dots and the lower half of the image is all white. On the left-hand side is a small square profile picture of an Asian American woman drinking coffee with a straw. She’s wearing glasses and has a jacket on. The text in the image reads: alice wong SFdirewolf 73 stories 21 followers 1 following. Below that row of text is additional text that reads: 
San Francisco, CA
Alice Wong Unrepentant night owl. Obscene consumer of tv, food & news. Runs @DisVisibility Project, A Community Partnership w/ @StoryCorps There is a green +Follow button on the right-side of the image.]

Earlier I mentioned storytelling as the topic of one of our chats. Crip The Vote recently partnered with Rooted in Rights, a non-profit that produces videos and social media campaigns exclusively on disability rights.

If you want to see some CripTheVote stories, check out Rooted in Rights dot org slash videos slash voting slash crip the vote stories.

[A screengrab from the Rooted in Rights website. At the top you see the navigation tabs for Rooted in Rights such as About, Videos, Podcast, Blog, Hire Us and Donate.

Below that are the words: #CripTheVoteStories. In the center there is a large graphic with a white background. In the center is 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. The word “#CripTheVoteStories” is below that image with the text of the hashtag in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple and yellow)]

We invited people to create videos about the importance of political engagement and voting in their lives with Crip The Vote Stories. We received several submissions and here are a screenshots of 3 videos produced by Rooted in Rights featuring active members of the Crip The Vote community: Hamza Jaka, Michele Kaplan, and Vilissa K. Thompson.

[Screenshot of a Tweet by @RootedInRights: “The 1st of #CripTheVoteStories comes from @HamzaAJaka urging us to #CripTheVote this fall. Full visual descr.:

Below the text is a graphic: Logo of #CripTheVoteStories with the text of the hashtag in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple and yellow) an image of a young man of color with dark Black hair and a short-sleeved white t-shirt. He’s sitting in an upholstered chair and speaking to the camera. Below is a video player that allows a person to press play.]

[Screenshot of a Tweet by @RootedInRights: “The 2nd #CripTheVoteStories video from @RebelWheelsNYC highlighting the power of the local vote. Full visual descr.:

Below the text is a graphic: Logo of #CripTheVoteStories with the text of the hashtag in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple and yellow) an image of a young White woman in a wheelchair wearing glasses and speaking to the camera. Below is a video player that allows a person to press play.]

[Screenshot of a Tweet by @RootedInRights: “Final #CripTheVoteStories vid. w/ @VilissaThompson reminder: Your vote matters, our vote matters. Full visual descr.:

Below the text is a graphic: Logo of #CripTheVoteStories with the text of the hashtag in rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple and yellow) an image of a young African American woman speaking to the camera. Below is a video player that allows a person to press play.]

Throughout the entire campaign, my co-partners and I consistently highlight the stories of disabled people of color since the disability rights movement is often whitewashed in the media.

Everyday it’s a delight to scroll through the hashtag—there are many folks who see Crip The Vote as a place online for them to express their culture and pride.

Lauren Tuchman tweeted: “I just cast my first independent ballot using a fully accessible voting machine. I am totally blind. It felt awesome. Hashtag CripTheVote”

On instagram, perfecthannah posted a selfie with her fingers crossed and an “I Voted” sticker on the lapel of her shirt. Her post said: “Obligatory sticker selfie & Here’s to November!

Hashtag I voted today

Hashtag Locals Only

My peoples:

Hashtag Crip The Vote

Hashtag No Justice for Natives

no melanin/no question:

Hashtag Black lives matter

Hashtag La gente unida

When we first started this January, we had no idea if people would embrace Crip The Vote or whether the hashtag would take off, but it did. One thing we know for sure is that our project will continue well after Election Day. Here are a few lessons learned during our first 10 months:


  1. Collaborate with others

Being open and partnering with others with specific expertise and skill sets is one major lesson learned from our campaign so far. Having guest hosts for our Twitter chats like TL Lewis re-shaped our thinking about mass incarceration. Collaborating with other disability rights organizations like Rooted in Rights helped our campaign extend its reach, diversity, and ability to engage on multiple platforms. Andrew, Gregg, and I run Crip the Vote without any funding or infrastructure and much of our support comes from the community.

  1. Don’t micromanage or feed the trolls

Another lesson learned is not to micromanage how people are using the Crip the Vote hashtag. It belongs to everyone—we have very little control over the conversations and that’s the way it should be. We’ve had a few times when people tried to derail the conversation into partisanship, but we resisted hammering on them. We just repeated our purpose and most of them got the message. Here is a meme of Yoda from Star Wars with the quote: “Do or Do Not. There is no try.” As for feeding the trolls, let’s all be a little more like Yoda and choose not to feed the trolls.

[A meme of Yoda, a character from Star Wars. Yoda has a green non-human creature with pointy ears and green skin and fuzzy white hair. He has a shroud over his small body. At the top of the image are the words, “DO OR DO NOT” and at the bottom of the image are the words “THERE IS NO TRY.” In small print on the right-lower corner is:]

  1. Invest time and labor in engagement

It takes a lot of work to build an online community—you can’t convince people to use a particular hashtag—they have to see the value in it. Support for an online campaign has to happen organically in order for it to have longevity and credibility. With that said, there’s a lot of care, time, and labor that creates the conditions allowing a community to flourish. Andrew, Gregg and I are on Twitter and Facebook everyday engaging with folks, sharing information and links, and answering questions. Our main goal is to keep the conversation as nonpartisan and focused on disability issues as possible. By being available and responsive, I hope people regard our campaign as an authentic and thoughtful one.

Identity and storytelling are essential elements for movement building. Social media can facilitate both. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network tweeted: “When people with disabilities consider themselves part of a group, they take action, such as through Hashtag CripTheVote”

To conclude, civil rights movements and other disability rights and disability justice movements can use social media as a tool to organize and identify communities within communities. In the case of Crip the Vote, it does the following:

Gives people a name and space for their stories and voices

Gives people a way to initiate dialogue with candidates about disability issues from the perspective of disabled people

Gives people a sense of ownership and identity—that we belong to this significant body of voters that is tired of being taken for granted and ignored.

As a final example, here’s a photo of me that I tweeted holding a sign that says, “I vote because the Medicaid poverty trap needs to end.” I hope you’ll consider joining us, whether it’s just reading Crip The Vote Tweets or participating in our upcoming chats or live-tweets.

[Photo of an Asian American woman in a wheelchair holding a white piece of paper that says, “I Vote because…the Medicaid poverty trap needs to end.” A graphic that has a word bubble is right above the photo with the word: “Thanks” inside the bubble.]

For more about Crip the Vote, go to Andrew Pulrang’s website:

Disability thinking dot com slash election hyphen 2016 hyphen crip the vote

If you have any questions or feedback you can email me at:

Disability Visibility Project at gmail dot com

Or find me on Twitter at SF direwolf d-i-r-e-w-o-l-f










#CripTheVote Interview: Thida Cornes for Mountain View City Council

On Election Day this November 8th, there will be local and state elections in addition to the one for President. Local elections are just as important as national ones. In Northern California, there is one election with a person with a disability as candidate.

As Co-Partner of #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online campaign encouraging the political participation of people with disabilities, Alice Wong interviewed Thida Cornes, Parks and Rec Commissioner and Candidate for Mountain View (California) City Council about her campaign. For more about Thida Cornes, go to her website:


Photo by Hyperfocus Photography. Source:

According to your website, your involvement in politics started from your role as a concerned parent when your son fell at a park. Before you served in the Parks and Recreation Commission in Mountain View, were you always interested in politics and civic participation as a kid?

Thida: Yes, I was interested in studying politics. I majored in Political Science at Bryn Mawr College. I also was politically active in college, marching on Washington for LBGQ rights and as a woman of color. However,  I never wanted to be a politician (they all seemed white male and macho) until I got involved in politics in Mountain View and met some women who were members of City Council.

In the Meet Thida section of your website, you mention your disability in the very first paragraph which is wonderful. There probably are many elected officials with disabilities but they do not disclose for fear of being ‘unelectable’ or for personal reasons. Do you think it’s important that people are open about their disability? Why does it matter to voters? Why should it matter to the candidate?

Thida: While I think it’s an individual’s choice whether to discuss their own disability, I think in general we need more discussion about disability. Being open about your disability is still like coming out as LBGQ was fifteen years ago and has risks as well as rewards.

I appreciate and admire the politicians and actors who are very visible like Tammy Duckworth and Michael J Fox. But I have no judgement about people who find it too risky.

For myself, I made the decision to be visible when I got a service dog. I also move differently than many people but that was fairly invisible to most people. However, as I’m new to running for office, my movements can become more evident.

I’d rather voters hear from me what that is about rather than someone making up their own reasons. I also have a reputation for being direct. Even so I find people are hesitant to discuss disability with me, and not talking about it can become a barrier.Maybe a few folks are put off by my putting my disability out there but they are probably not my likely voters. I also feel having a disability informs my perspective on life and politics. It makes very pragmatic and aware of how we are all interdependent.

Photo by Hyperfocus Photography. Source:

Photo by Hyperfocus Photography. Source:

I loved seeing the photo of you and your service dog on your website! Tell me a little about what it’s been like campaigning with your service dog and how important your service dog is to your life.

Thida: Having a service dog has changed my life. I find walking difficult without my service dog. Before I had a service dog, I have to focus attention on walking to compensate for my basal ganglia, I had to think about whether going on a particular surface was a good idea, and even so I used to trip and fall about once a week.

I sprained my ankle regularly, and was starting to break toes and I was spending more and time non-ambulatory. I never regularly used a wheelchair or scooter because it requires a lot of hand motions or are too sensitive and my hands are the most affected by my dystonia so being non-ambulatory was very difficult for me.

Last year I did go to Myanmar for two weeks without my service dog and I brought a walking cane and I had to be careful the whole time and I had to sit down if my walking rhythm was off. I missed my dog and my freedom. I didn’t realize how much time and energy I had spent on walking.

What is it like running for office for the first time? Did you encounter any barriers or accessibility issues while running?

Thida: The main accessibility issue I’ve had is around microphones which I find hard to use but I’ve learned to adapt. Before I fundraised my first $10,000, I encountered a lot of “Can you actually run?” While money shouldn’t matter to answer basic competency questions, it does seem to have stopped a lot of the overt questions. I also have a lot of great endorsements.

What’s been the most surprising thing you discovered during your run for office so far?

Thida: I did Emerge, which is training for Democratic women who want to run for office. They told us fundraising was important. I’ve been surprised and a little sad to see how fundraising addresses the competence issue.

As a resident of Mountain View, what do you love about this community?

Thida: I moved to Mountain View for its high tech and socio-economic and cultural diversity. I love our diversity of people, how most people really try to see other people’s points of view, not just their own, how people care for others less fortunate, and how most people appreciate and take pride in civic participation. I’m a nerd and I moved here for the high-tech industry and there’s a nerdy curiosity and delight in new experiences and new things. At the same time, we like our downtown, which has a retro feel with a lot of small businesses. I love how we’re small and my kids can bike by themselves to many places.

How did your interest in open spaces, urban planning/design, pedestrian safety and housing start?

Thida: It started when my then toddler son fell through a gap in the top of a tall play structure. Ironically the play structure recently had become accessible to him because the City added ADA compliant steps to a structure for 8-12 year olds. Previously you could only access the top of the structure by climbing it, which my son wasn’t capable of at that time. Before that time, I assumed that design was a lofty skill that experts had, and that wasn’t really a part of my skill set. But that incident showed me how my perspective can be important. That something that seemed common sense to me weren’t necessarily common to other people. Adding nice easy to climb steps would attract and enable young children to access a play structure so the structure should not have gaps that young children could fall through.

I then became to notice other safety issues in my City that I had assumed were only barriers to me as a person with a disability were actually barriers to other people. Things like our lack of curb cuts, long crosswalks with a short-time to cross and no median to wait.

Family portrait outside of a home. A multiracial family. An Asian Man sitting next to a multiracial woman. The left of the man is a young multiracial girl with long hair and glasses. To the right of the woman is a young multiracial boy with short hair. A golden retriever service animal is sitting front and center between the two adults.

Photo by Hyperfocus Photography. Source:

Like much of Silicon Valley, communities are under pressure when it comes to demand for housing, growing inequality, the lack of accessible and affordable homes, and the displacement of working-class families as property values and rents rise. How will you balance the tensions between growth, development, and sustainability for all residents of Mountain View?

Thida: That is a complex question and one that is central to my campaign and I think is best answered on my campaign website

What are some ways better signage, infrastructure and technology can improve pedestrian safety?

Thida: By making pedestrians feel more comfortable so they use designated crossings and claim their space instead of darting across. By making pedestrians more visible to drivers, slowing down drivers at the places where pedestrians and drivers interact, and allowing better communication between drivers and pedestrians.

More cities and organizations are adopting universal design principles in their public spaces and buildings. What are your thoughts about universal design and the importance of accessibility in Mountain View?

Thida: I support universal design principles. Sadly, this isn’t a topic that has come up in the campaign, because we’re still at the point of working on designing spaces and buildings for humans, rather than automobiles.

Most people don’t realize that children with disabilities are excluded from playgrounds socially or physically and that can impact their development and relationships. With your involvement with the Parks and Recreation Commission, what are your thoughts about accessible playgrounds? Have you been to the Magical Bridge playground in Palo Alto?

Thida: Yes, bringing a Magical Bridge playground to Mountain View is part of my campaign platform.

Why is it important for all people, including people with disabilities and other marginalized communities to vote and get involved in the political process?

Thida: We have important and different perspectives to share and the best way to have those voices heard is to vote and to get involved.

What is your advice to other people with disabilities who might want to get involved with politics in their local communities but might not know where to begin or feel hesitant?

Thida: Find something you’re passionate about. Search online to find a group that is involved in that issue. If you don’t see a person with a disability (and we are still few or hidden), talk to the people who are visibly different, whether it’s people of color, women, LBQT or some other difference. If you’re too shy to join a group, go online and find the agenda of your City Council meeting and go speak at a City Council meeting. Anyone can go speak for three minutes on a topic that’s on the agenda or there’s also a time for speaking on items not on the agenda. If you can’t access your City Hall then email City Council about that.

Additional links

Elect Thida Cornes Facebook page:

September 14 2016, Los Altos Town Crier: Meet the Candidates for the Mtn View City Council