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  1. Black-ish & Speechless: The Night Primetime TV Got It Right

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    Despite the seemingly limitless TV programming options that exist for our entertainment pleasure, very few target the identities I have in a manner that are affirmative and validating.  However, this month, two shows managed to meet this feat.  Black-ish and Speechless aired episodes that touched on difficult topics that rarely are discussed as candidly as they should – race relations and inspiration porn, respectively.  

    Being that the nature of both episodes resonated with me profoundly, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the significance of both, and why we need more shows to be authentic about the experiences and thoughts of marginalized people.  

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  1. The Woodland Hills High School-to-Prison Pipeline

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    Image of a group of protestors outside of a school building holding signs to show solidarity to the injustice committed to a disabled student.

    The intersection of race and disability is often ignored when we discuss the injustices that disadvantage disabled students of color within our schools.  This oversight can mean grave consequences to students who live within these margins.  The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately impacts disabled students of color (especially Black disabled students), yet very few are addressing what occurs in our schools; a recent incident in Pittsburgh caught my attention as being yet another example of how we are failing to advocate for and protect Black disabled students.  

    On Twitter, disability rights advocate Dustin Gibson shared details about a Black disabled student at Woodland Hills High being victimized and dehumanized by his principal.  Dustin is a revolutionary in training in Pittsburgh that has centered his identity as a Black man with bipolar disorder in his work.  He builds with people impacted by systems both locally and nationally.  Organizing with the perspective that the people closest to the impact are closest to the solution, many of his efforts are grassroot.  

    I asked Dustin if he would tell the story of the Woodland Hills incident, the connections between racism and ableism, and why Black disabled lives matter.  Here are his words:  

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  1. Living in Trump’s America: Thoughts From a Black Disabled Woman

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    It has been a month since the Presidential election, and the dust still has not settled from the shock of Donald Trump winning the coveted seat or the demand for recounts of votes.

    It took me some time to find the words to articulate the reality that I will live in a Trump-led America come January.  This is the America that has no regard for human dignity, empathy, or compassion.  This is the America that we have tried so hard to deny that existed by erroneously stating that we lived in a post-racial society after electing our first Black president.  This is the America that those who are multi-marginalized like myself live in every day, and such realities will only get harsher as officials are appointed who actively support every type of bigotry and offense there is.  

    I was asked by Nora Whelan, a writer for Buzzfeed, to share my thoughts about a Trump presidency as a disabled person, and the grave consequences for our community.  I know that many of us are still gathering our words, but I must continue to use my voice to speak the truth, and remain steadfast in the work that will lie ahead for us all.

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  1. Luke Cage: The Black Disabled Superhero We Need

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    Dark yellow mustard background with Luke Cage in a wheelchair. The following words are in the upper right of the image: "I'm just getting started"

    Luke Cage was one of Netflix’s original series I had waited all summer to watch.  Being a blerd and someone who enjoys comics, I was proudly a part of the #Cagetember fandom seen on Twitter.  What excited me was not just Luke’s amazing abilities, but the fact that he was a Black disabled character, an existence that does not receive enough attention or respect within comic spaces.  Luke represents so much to disabled blerds like myself, and I felt that it would only be justly to share why Luke’s existence matters, and the need for more Black disabled characters.  

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  1. Visiting The National Museum of African American History & Culture: My Disabled Blerd Thoughts

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    14522796_10100921285354016_8664767600768667226_n

    Me in front of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture sign, with the building in the background.

    It is no secret how big of a disabled blerd (black nerd) I am, and my love for anything related to Black culture and history.  During my hiatus from the blog, I took a much-needed trip to Maryland, and over that week and a half, visited the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened late September.  I went to the Museum with two of my awesome Black disabled advocates, and the three of us set out to explore the Museum that was for us, and has been the major talk within our community.

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  1. If I Die in Police Custody…

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    police-car-1349776_1280

    [Content warning:  death, police murder, swearing]

    If I die in police custody,
    I died a soldier, a warrior, a hell-raiser, an instigator, a maker of the good trouble.  

     

    If I die in police custody,
    Make them respect my disabilities in the news reports.  Don’t dare let them erase a damn thing.  I am unapologetically Black and disabled.

     

    If I die in police custody,
    Don’t weep for me.  You better NOT shed one fucking tear.
    My name means “to love and cherish life” in French.
    That’s what you are to do for me – share about the love I gave you and how much I cherished the little and big things.

    Don’t play that weak ass sad music at my funeral.  Play Beyonce’s “7/11,” Rihanna’s “S&M,” N SYNC, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, anything by Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz – that is how you are to celebrate my life at my funeral.  

     

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  1. Being a Black Disabled Woman Is An Act of Defiance: Remembering #KorrynGaines

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    Remembering Korryn Gaines

    Being a Black disabled woman in America is a sheer act of defiance.  

    What brought me to this statement was the gross amounts of ableism, racism, and misogynoir I witnessed and read last week during the coverage surrounding Korryn Gaines’ encounter and death at the hands of the police.  

    Korryn’s existence represents me – a Black disabled woman.  Korryn had a developmental disability due to lead exposure from living in housing that had toxic lead paint levels.  Korryn’s life and death made me think back to what I had written about Blackness and police brutality last month regarding Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  

    To be Black, disabled, and female means that you always have eyes on you.  You must be “on” at all times; must be willing to “perform” for White, Black, & non-disabled Americas.  You must be perfect and a good cripple, or be crucified at the cross, as we saw when Korryn’s story unfolded.  

    There were two matters in particular that struck me profoundly about the coverage surrounding Korryn’s fatal police incident:  the way Black men discussed Korryn’s story on social media, and the Black community’s continued miseducation regarding disability.

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  1. #GetWokeADA26: Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part 1

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    White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part One. Vilissa Thompson and Alice Wong. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

    #GetWokeADA26:  Disabled People of Color Speak Out, Part One
    by Vilissa Thompson and Alice Wong

    Introduction

    On July 5th, we published the #GetWokeADA26 Call for Stories, asking for disabled people to share how the Americans with Disabilities Act has impacted their life experiences, gaps in the mandate that fail to support the unique challenges of disabled people or color, and the need for intersectionality in the disability community and how the lack of visibility affects this subgroup.  

    As disabled women of color, we believe the disability community needs to ”get woke” on race, racism, and intersectionality.  The work of getting “woke” can be hard, awkward, and uncomfortable, but this is something disabled people of color expect and deserve.

    For #GetWokeADA26, there were enormous responses to this project through the countless reblogging, sharing, and retweeting across the major social media platforms by disabled advocates, allies, and organizations.  In the two weeks that the Call was open, 50 individuals representing various people of color communities, disability types, ages, and sexual identities and orientations answered our request to share, and we were not disappointed by the rich, emotional, and direct responses to each question on our survey.  The data we were able to collect was extraordinary – there is so much that it is impossible to include everything in our summary, but we will capture the most poignantwerful and moving points of view shared.

    What follows is a description of the themes of the survey questions askedn overview of the survey questions, the representation makeup ofa description of our participantsrespondents, and a breakdown of the responses by specific topics.

    White background with black text that reads: #GetWokeADA26 “I am black. I am a woman. I am disabled. I am magic.” —Joi Meyer Brewer. On the left-hand side is an image of a Black Wonder Woman character in a wheelchair. She has rainbow wristbands and a golden lasso by her wheel. Image: Mike Mort @MikeeMort. On the lower right-hand side: Full report: RampYouVoice.com DisabilityVisibilityProject.com

     

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  1. Black America is Hurting & Tired. White America, Do You Even Care?

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    BlackLivesMatter

    I am tired.

    Black America is tired.  

    We are at our boiling point in this country.  The police violence that transpired within the last week set off a deep fire within all of us with the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.  To see two Black men murdered during encounters with the police in such savage regards was sickening to watch and comprehend.  

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  1. #DisabilityTooWhite: Making the “Good Trouble” in Advocacy

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    DisabilityTooWhite

    By now, many of you may have heard of the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite.  It was created last Wednesday on Twitter impromptu by me, and has gained a lot of support, resistance, and interest from those within and outside of the disability community.  I have been interviewed by many pertaining to the hashtag, and felt that it was very much appropriate to discuss it on my blog, and to be very candid on how I felt about what has transpired in the past week.

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