Laboring for Liberation: Disability Justice, Intersectionality, and Accountable Activism

Bringing radical Disability Justice to the Rebellious Lawyering Conference (because every movement needs Disability Justice so, so much)

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  1. In February 2017, a group of advocates, organizers, and activists joined together for a panel discussion on Disability Justice at the annual RebLaw conference, hosted at Yale Law School.
  2. Talila A. Lewis (TL), Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, Shain M. Neumeier, and Lydia X. Z. Brown discussed the meaning of Disability Justice, the realities of confronting racism and white supremacy in disability advocacy and "rights" spaces, why challenging ableism is necessary in all activism and organizing, and what liberation will be like.
  3. Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
  4. (Photo: Three people looking very intently as Victoria speaks. All arranged around a wooden desk/table. Lydia (young east asian person) is standing and looking down/over. Victoria (young Latina woman), TL (young Black person), and Shain (young white person) are sitting. Lydia's shirt says "Disabled and Proud!" with the power fist (originally from the Black power movement); Shain's shirt says "issues I care about" with a long list of "issues." Each person has a name card in front of them. A PowerPoint slide behind them has the title of the panel and their names. Credit to Chris Zheng.)
  5. TL (@talilalewis) engineers and leads intersectional social justice campaigns that illuminate and address grave injustices within our legal system that have gone unaddressed for decades. TL’s advocacy primarily focuses on supporting deaf and disabled individuals afected by mass incarceration. As one of the only people in the world working on deaf wrongful conviction cases and the creator of the only national deaf prisoner database, TL advocates with and for hundreds of deaf defendants, incarcerated and returned individuals. TL is a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Tech- nology and a recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law.
  6. Not mentioned -- is TL's work as founder of HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf) and one of the founding core collective members of the Harriet Tubman Collective, an all-Black coalition of Deaf, Mad, Neurodivergent, and Disabled activists/organizers.
  7. Victoria (@yovimi) is the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director at the National LGBTQ Task Force. Her areas of focus include the intersections of issues affecting transgender people with disabilities, anti-trans workplace discrimination, and gun violence prevention through a social justice lens. She is the author of “Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees”, a best practices guide for employers. She was named ASAN’s 2016 Ally of the Year Award and has been profiled in NBC News and Latina Magazine.
  8. Shain (@smneumeier) is a multiply-disabled non-binary attorney and advocate. Their work focuses on preventing and ending coercive care and violence in institutional settings, particularly against people with disabilities and youth. Shain received the 2015 Leadership in Advocacy Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and has had work published in Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking, At Issue: Teen Residential Programs, and USA Today. They blog at  silencebreakingsound.wordpress.com .
  9. Lydia (@autistichoya) is an organizer, speaker, writer, and professor who has focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have led policy “reform” campaigns, worked in the streets, and provided direct support and advocacy. Lydia is the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council chairperson, and lead editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology by autistic people of color. Recently, they designed and taught a Tufts University course on disability, intersectionality, and social movements.

  10. (Photo: Yellow graphic with text: Want to support HEARD for our sixth anniversary? CREATE a blog explaining why people should support #DeafAccessToJustice. SHARE a post with information you have learned from HEARD about #DeafInPrison. DONATE if you can: paypal.me/HEARDDC. 6th HEARDiversary (with the number 6 in a large pink font). behearddc.org [icons for facebook, twitter, tumblr, and instagram]. HEARD is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID No.: 27-5032142)
  11. (Photo: Empty room showing PowerPoint slide with title of panel and panelist names against a teal blue patterned background, before the panel began.)
  12. (Photos: Three graphics from the Harriet Tubman Collective, consisting of plain text, agains tdark blue, dark purple, and dark green backgrounds.
  13. The first: #DisabilitySolidarity "Disability Solidarity holds the disability community accountable for #IntersectionalJustice & holds all communities accountable for #DisabilityJustice." -Ki'tay D. Davidson
  14. The second: #DisabilityJustice "Disability Justice is a multi-issue political understanding of disability & ableism, moving away from a rights based equality model & beyond just access, to a framework that centers justice & wholeness for all disabled people & communities." -Mia Mingus
  15. The third: #IntersectionalJustice Dynamic love-infused liberation struggle that: - understands relationships between oppressions; - centers the most marginalized, including those most affected by and those on the frontlines of injustice; - addresses root sources/systems of oppression; - practices inclusive, de-centralized organizing to challenge & prevent privileged leadership structures; - advances collective liberation by leaving no group/individual behind & no oppression untouched. (borrowed from writings of Talila "TL" Lewis) )
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