On June 30, 2020 I have a book coming out, Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century from Vintage Books. It’s an anthology I edited featuring work by 37 disabled people that is a personal labor of love.
You are cordially invited to attend the an online book event co-organized by the Disability Visibility Project and the Longmore Institute on Disability on Saturday, July 25, 2020, 4 pm. Contributors who will be featured on the panel include: Patty Berne, Haben Girma, Ariel Henley, Lateef McLeod, and s.e. smith, moderated by Yomi Wrong. 10 lucky participants will win a free copy of Disability Visibility.
Before the pandemic, I was worried how I would launch the book as someone who does not travel. Would I be left out? Will my requests for accommodations be honored? Writers are often told how in-person events at bookstores and other venues are the paths to successful promotion and attention by media. As disabled, neurodivergent, mad, D/deaf, and chronically ill people know, we make our own pathways to fit our bodyminds and access needs. For more, read this excellent piece by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in Guts Magazine who is also a contributor in Disability Visibility. In an effort to model the access I want to see everywhere, I created an access rider for use by my publisher when they receive inquiries from media and event organizers.
I do not subscribe to the belief that writers have to expend enormous amounts of unpaid labor and push their bodies to their limits just to garner publicity for their books. I also reject the notion that online events are considered less than in-person events by the publishing industry. I plan to center my promotion on the communities I’m a part of and invite people in to witness our disabled joy, innovation, and abundance. This is a very roundabout way to announce I will be co-organizing a series of online book events from July-December 2020 featuring the brilliant contributors and other surprise guests. Sign up for my newsletter for future events, giveaways, and more.
Yomi Wrong, Moderator
Yomi Wrong is an Oakland-based consultant, activist and disability justice dreamer who formerly served as Executive Director of the Center for Independent Living. She currently works in healthcare compliance, where her role is to advance quality medical care for people with disabilities. She also writes an occasional column on disability and travel for the Los Angeles Times, owing to her first love/career in journalism. Yomi gives her heart, talent and resources in service to movements and ideas which affirm the beauty, solidarity and power among BIPOC. She is especially driven to amplify the voices and visions of disabled people of color, believing it is past time for us to lead.
Patty Berne, Contributor
Patty Berne is a Co-Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Sins Invalid, a disability justice based performance project centralizing disabled artists of color and queer and gender non-conforming artists with disabilities. Berne’s training in clinical psychology focused on trauma and healing for survivors of interpersonal and state violence. Her professional background includes offering mental health support to survivors of violence and advocating for LGBTQI and disability perspectives within the field of reproductive genetic technologies. Berne’s experiences as a Japanese-Haitian queer disabled woman provides grounding for her work creating “liberated zones” for marginalized voices. She is widely recognized for her work to establish the framework and practice of disability justice.
Haben Girma, Contributor
The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, and a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. She travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion, and in 2019 she published her first book, Haben The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law.
Ariel Henley, Contributor
Ariel Henley is a writer in Northern California. She has written about issues related to beauty, equality, human connection, and trauma for outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. She shares her story in an effort to eliminate stigma surrounding disfigurement and promote mainstream inclusion for individuals with physical differences. Her memoir A FACE FOR PICASSO is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in Winter 2021.
Lateef McLeod, Contributor
Lateef McLeod is building his career as a writer and a scholar. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. He is three years into the Anthropology and Social Change Doctoral program at California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. He published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010 chronicling his life as a black man with a disability and tackling various topics on family, dating, religion, spirituality, his national heritage and sexuality. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying. He was in the 2007 annual theater performance of Sins Invalid and also their artist-in-residence performance in 2011 entitled Residence Alien. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying and also completing another poetry book entitled Whispers of Krip Love, Shouts of Krip Revolution. More of his writings are available on his website Lateefhmcleod.com and his Huffington Post blog, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lateef-mcleod/
s.e. smith, Contributor
s.e. smith is a Northern California-based journalist and writer who has appeared in publications like Esquire, Rolling Stone, In These Times, Bitch Magazine, The Nation, The Guardian, and Catapult Magazine. Believing that liberation for some is justice for none, smith’s work is rooted in provocative conversations and cultivating emerging writers.
Alice Wong, Editor
Alice Wong is a disabled activist, media maker, and consultant. She is the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture created in 2014. Currently, Alice is the Editor of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century (June 30, 2020) and #ADA30InColor, a series of original essays on the past, present, and future of disability rights and justice by disabled BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) writers (July 2020). Alice is also the host and co-producer of the Disability Visibility podcast.
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