Mission of Ramp Your Voice!:
The mission of Ramp Your Voice! is to promote empowerment, education, inclusion, and self-advocacy for disabled people across the United States and abroad.
Educate. Inform. Empower: Purpose of the RYV! Services
At Ramp Your Voice!, I am committed to providing services and tools to those within the disability community, and to key stakeholders who have a vested interest in establishing an equal, just, and inclusive world for the largest minority group in the nation, and worldwide.
The services offered are an exceptional combination of my educational backgrounds in social work and psychology; my skills set as a researcher and presenter; and life experiences as a woman of color with a physical disability. This amazing mixture of professional and personal knowledge affords me to possess a unique outlook of how systems work for and against marginalized individuals and communities. Calling for agencies, organizations, professionals, educators/professors, and advocates/activists to be conscious of their biases and prejudices, and the requirement of becoming culturally competent when engaging with multi-marginalized individuals and communities are priorities within my advocacy work.
Leading full-day, half-day, and multi-day customizable workshops and group discussions, and consultations, to a variety of settings for an array of audiences is a significant part of my work. My consulting, public speaking, and presentation abilities are designed for advocates/activists; medical, helping, and academic professionals; and agencies/organizations that provide supports and services to meet the needs of disabled people, particularly disabled girls and women of color. My diverse expertise has been demanded at professional association conferences, disability-focused summits, and civil/social justice entities. I have been featured and interviewed to discuss disability from an intersectional lens for: Huffington Post, NY Times, Buzzfeed, Bitch Media, Upworthy, Black Girl Nerds, No Totally!, Just Add Color, Accessible Media Inc., Daily Dot, Daily Beast, and The Atlantic.
To book me as a consultant or to speak at your next event where your audience will leave with an intersectional, inclusive, and empowering knowledge about the disabled experience, please complete the Consultant, Speaker, & Presenter Request form: http://bit.ly/2nIVWYj
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Vilissa’s Advocacy Niches
Consulting, Speaking, & Presenting Modalities
In-person: Face-to-face (staff trainings/retreats, conferences, symposiums, panels, keynotes, breakout sessions, classroom, community group events, national organizations, etc.); day(s)-long or several hours
Online: Either live or pre-recorded (webinars, online retreats, teleconferences, etc.).
Blended: In-person and online; flexible and cost-effective.
Organizational Engagements & Partnerships
To better understand how Vilissa’s services and expertise may benefit you and your mission, here is a short list of the organizations and initiatives she has engaged with:
Comic Book Conventions
Social Service Organizations
Vilissa’s Most Requested Consulting, Speaking, & Presentation Topics:
#DisabilityTooWhite: Taking The Disability Community to Task About Its Diversity Problem
This workshop discusses the viral effect of the hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite, and the emotional response generated by disabled people of color like myself. The hashtag forced the disabled community to understand how erasure and blatant refusal to discuss race has affected racial minorities in our community. Intersectionality is the elephant in the room for the disabled community, and the hashtag brought to light our inability to be inclusive and accepting of discussing matters beyond disability.
The workshop focuses on the sharing of Black disabled women to illustrate how detrimental the over-whiteness of the disabled community is on its members. Tweets and personal accounts of lack of representation will be shared, as well as an overview of what life is like to possess three marginalized identities – being of color, female, and disabled – and the efforts to confront racism, ableism, and misogynoir (the combined racism and sexism Black women endure).
#WOCwD Matter!: The Call to Empower WoC with Disabilities
Having triple jeopardy status is the experience disabled women of color (WoC) endure in America. The “invisibility cloak” disabled WoC wear affects their ability to successfully achieve their educational, vocational, social, and financial goals, and the intersectional obstacles encountered due to their three identity statuses.
This workshop creates awareness surrounding the intersectionality of being of color, disabled, and female, and the negative impact prejudices and discrimination has on the progression and upliftment of disabled women of color. Attendees will learn how their professions have grossly overlooked and ignored the plight of disabled women in general, and specifically those who are of color, and will be equipped with the knowledge and sensitivity as to how they can be competent practitioners in working with this population by identifying systemic barriers and being better allies for disabled WoC in their communities.
Ain’t I A Girl/Woman, Too?: Sexuality & Womanhood of Disabled Females
Disabled girls and women are typically viewed as asexual, undesirable, and delicate beings. Failure to recognize and respect their sexuality, sensuality, and emerging womanhood hinders their freedoms of sexual expression and disclosure, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.
This workshop delves into how misconceptions about the sexuality and womanhood of disabled girls and women are harmful to their quality of life and well-being. By using the testimonials of disabled girls and women discussing their sexual stories and struggles, the presentation shatters the stereotypes about disability, sexuality, and girlhood and womanhood. Raising the consciousness of medical and helping professionals along with advocates about the conscious or unconscious prejudices they may possess about disability and sexuality is critical. Attendees will be equipped with empowerment and advocacy tools they can use in practice to be culturally competent to addressing the needs of this group, as well as be able to educate and empower disabled female clients of all ages to assist them in making the appropriate decisions pertaining to their sexual health, identity, and owning their sexuality.
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If you have any questions about the services offered, please contact Vilissa via email at Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com.