#WOCwD, the Official Hashtag for Women of Color with Disabilities

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#WOCwD hashtag

Last month, I decided to create a hashtag for disabled women of color that would allow us to connect with each other, and build our sisterhood and empower one another.  I wanted to share the hashtag officially on the RYV! blog so that my readers whom fall under the hashtag’s purpose would know about it, and hopefully start using it on social media.

The #WOCwD Hashtag:  Why It Was Created

My main focus of RYV! is to uplift the well-being, quality of life, and visibility of disabled women of color like myself.  It is a challenge to find other people of color within the disability advocacy realm to connect with, and establish a powerful support system.  Online advocacy/activism is huge for disabled young people like myself, and this particular platform within its first two years have connected me with several disabled young women of color who shared similar passions surrounding this work.  

Hashtags are an incredible way to find individuals with similar ideas and thoughts about subjects and topics that matter to you.  They are also used to “tag” articles or posts about a particular group of people or minority groups you may be a member of or an ally for.  The second use of hashtags is what I was aiming for – I wanted something catchy, easy to remember, and short so that it would not be cumbersome to type out, especially on a space like Twitter that has a limited number of characters to use per message.  

I researched several variations, from “DWoC” to “WOCD,” both of which were already in use for other purposes.  I decided on WOCwD when I saw that there was very little use of it on social media.  I registered WOCwD on Twubs, and it now has an “official” social media purpose.  I shared an announcement on Tumblr, and it received an amazing response, something that I was completely blown away by.  

#WOCwD Matters

So far, many disabled women of color have used the hashtag to share photos of themselves so that they could display their pride of their triple minority status.  Being of color, disabled, and female presents quite a challenge to bear when you have to fight three different “-isms” – the hashtag lets us know that we are not alone within our complex battles and that there are disabled women out there who understand, and can act as motivators and supporters when you need it.  

#WOCwD is for all women of color within the disability spectrum; it crosses all of the diverse ability lines in our community.  If you are a disabled woman of color, then this hashtag is yours to use.  This was created for us, by us – this is our time to have our faces, lives, and stories heard and respected within and outside of the community.  Our invisibility and silence has lasted too long, with us paying the deep consequences.  

Final Thoughts

I want #WOCwD to be a movement for young and older women of color with disabilities, as we have seen other hashtags take center stage over the past year.  The excitement of what this hashtag means to not only myself, but for others who have expressed their enthusiasm regarding its creation, is astounding.  I look forward to seeing the reach of the hashtag, and the many lives who will discover and embrace it, and call it theirs.  

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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