Growing Up Disabled & Of Color: Call to Share the Voices of Disabled People of Color in New Blog Series

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This year, I have written about growing up disabled and being of color, and how those dual identities have affected the opportunities and experiences I have had in my 30 years of life.  On social media, I have seen disabled people of color share their stories about embracing their identities, and overcoming the internalized self-hate for who and what they are.

I know that many of us feel invisible within both our racial groups and the disabled community, but we possess the power to change that by creating safe and empowering spaces where we are welcomed to discuss our plights, and what actions can be done to uplift disabled people of color.  Today, I am putting out a call of action for disabled people of color to share their stories regarding their dual identities:  being of color and disabled.  I know that for me, my race and disability have intertwined in so many ways that it is hard to distinguish which has truly influenced certain moments and interactions I have had.  My goal is to feature these stories on the RYV blog, as part of the new “Growing Up Disabled & Of Color” series.  I want more diverse opportunities within our communities, and this is my way of doing my part to make that a reality.  

How to Participate & Guidelines

There are only two requirements to participate in this new blog series:  you must be disabled and of color.  

All ages, disability types, racial/ethnic minority groups, genders, sexual orientations/identities, religions, national origins, and so forth, are welcomed to submit their stories for this series.  

Writing Pieces

There is no set “topic” for entries for this new blog series – the overall aim is to allow disabled people of color to ramp their voices about having dual or multiple identities, and how those experiences shaped the way they view the world, and the way the world views and responses to them.  

You may submit more than one piece, if you desire.  

Word count limit:  400 – 1,500 words per written piece.  

I will try to group together certain stories that share similar themes, which is why there is a word count limit.  (For example, entries about being Latina & disabled, growing up transracial & disabled, etc.)  (Transracial means being adopted by parents/caregivers who are of a different race than you are… not the Rachel Dolezal version.)

Where to Submit:  Submit your stories to the following email address:  Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com.  

For those who use screen readers:  Vilissa [at] rampyourvoice [dot] com

Email Subject Header:  Please use the following title in your email subject heading:  “Growing Up Disabled and Of Color.”

Authoring Options for Your Submission(s):  Do specify how you want your submission(s) to be authored.  Here are your options:  

  • Use real first name (no last names will be used).
  • Use pen name (please provide if you have a specific name you use for writing or online monikers).
  • If you would rather me to pick a random name for you, I am willing to do that if requested.

Final Thoughts

The voices of disabled people of color is crucial so that we can empower each other as adults, but also the disabled children of color who need to know that who they are is perfect – they do not need to wish to be another race or have another body to be happy in this world.  All of our stories matter, and have value – it is time to ramp our voices to the world and make it take notice that we are here, and have something to say.  

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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