This is a non-exhaustive list for concerned folks to begin some critical reads into the heart and core and reimaginings of disability justice, from disabled authors and creators of color and co-conspirators. Below are current event articles, blog posts, zines, manifestos, guidelines, handbooks, and podcasts on issues of care, permeated with intersectional wisdom. Texts are linked to free online PDFs/versions available, and if applicable, followed up by options to financially support the creators, independent bookstores, and/or social justice causes (if you are able to purchase.) We center disabled multi-Asian and BIPOC work and narratives. This compilation is not in chronological or hierarchical order, but webbed and interconnected. Feel free to navigate from reading to reading, essential narrative to narrative, from people to people. These readings venture into and/or discuss compounded and complex trauma/lived experiences that are interlocked with structural violence and everyday systemic conditions. For our BIPoC and QTBIPoC readers, please safeguard your peace of mind and take care as you go through these resources. If you encounter triggering content, stop reading and exit immediately.
Disability is a multifaceted word that covers seas of ground, branching into many different ways of living and existing and surviving and resisting. Disability is not a death sentence, nor is it alien or unknown or as unique as people assume. It is, however, greatly (and traumatically) stigmatized—often to the point of death. Ableism is as pervasive as bedrock in today’s world: the idea of who is worthwhile, what kinds of bodies and thought and movement and existence are valid and okay, are embedded in every turn of U.S. society and its brand of capitalism. So I ask that you come here with the basic acknowledgment that people with disabilities are largely made invisible—disabled people of color far more so—and that we have all greatly internalized ableism in the most minute and mundane of ways. For example, there is an obsession with returning to a pre-pandemic world where things were “normal” or reimagining a post-pandemic world of a similar brand of normality. But should we take a long moment to examine what that “normal” refers to—that “normal” is for folks who are systemically welcome to live with their dignities intact and ability to be careless with their bodies—we can come to realize that human rights crises have always existed, been neglected & proactively worsened before the Covid-19 virus even showed up. It is vital to remember that more people will navigate the (ongoing) pandemic with disabilities—people who haven’t experienced chronic or long-term or permanent disabilities and/or who now have multiple disabilities and/or worsened disability directly because of contracting the virus and/or indirectly because of all the systems continually working against us before, during, and beyond this pandemic. This is a reminder that care must be valued and practiced. Caretaking across all arenas must continue.
Many of these texts are U.S.-centric and U.S.-based, and thus much of the cultural/social/structural conditions, conditioning, and analysis discussed will derive from this occupied territory called the United States. Actively seek out work put forth by disabled people of color, by black and indigenous peoples, and by queer and trans people of color in your region. To find out whose land you occupy, utilize this app: Native-Land.ca | Our home on native land. Take your time thinking in the specific, everyday dimensions of your life and ponder about, for example, how you may make your words, skills, passions, and resources more accessible. We invite you to do more research on your own time and hope these resources can allow you to get started or help you along in your work—to strike you, stay with you, and mobilize you, if you will.
- Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California
- Community Resources on Asian Hate Crimes
- Disability Visibility Project – Creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture / Disability Rights Tag / Ableism Tag / Disability Visibility Podcast
- Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People, edited by Alice Wong
- Physical/audio/ebook purchase options and free audio reading via: Resistance and Hope Anthology – Disability Visibility Project
- Disabled Asian Americans Deal With Racism and Ableism – AsAmNews
- What It’s Like Being Disabled And Asian In America | HuffPost
- Alice Wong: Making Space For More Disabled Asians – YouTube
- Sick Woman Theory by Johanna Hedva
- Moving From Survival by Sandy Ho
- We Move Together: Interview with Kelly Fritsch by Megan Linton
- Free, open-source learning guide which offers educators context, vocabulary, discussion questions, learning activities, printable games and templates, and other resources to support conversations about disability, accessibility, social justice, and community building.
- Care in the Time of Coronavirus by Asian American Feminist Collective
- COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ battle for disability benefits – Los Angeles Times
- Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century | Alice Wong (ed.) by Alice Wong
- Consider financially supporting independent bookstores, the creators, and/or good causes by purchasing through The Asian American Justice + Innovation Lab’s Bookshop storefront (book purchases made through this link will send some money back to AAJIL) and Bookshop.org.
- What’s Next in the Culture of Care by Shivani Seth
- The Privilege of Getting to Rest: Let’s Shift the Balance by Dom Chatterjee
- Crip wisdom, gender and self-care for social justice: Interview with Naomi Ortiz
- Discussing Resistance and Hope: Mini-Interviews with Cyree Jarelle Johnson & Naomi Ortiz
- They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist by Jenny Zhang
- Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon
- We are not machines by Juhee Kwon
- Yearning to Belong in my Body by Mimi Zhu
- Post-Non-Profit Survival: How Unemployment Benefits Improved My Mental Health by Eliana Buenrostro
- Disability Tales: PRIDE by Eve Xelestiál Moreno-Luz
- Pride Feelings by J. Logan Smilges
- Disabled Immigrants: Living on the Edge of Barbwire by Qudsiya Naqui
- Bay Area Day of Mourning: Alice Wong – Disability Visibility Project
- Seeking Asylum by Peggy Munson, from The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities.
- An older version of the book, The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Partner Abuse in Activist Communities, is available here for free PDF download.
- The most recent reprint of the book, The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities, can be purchased through Bookshop.org.
- 10 Ways Your Social Justice Work Might Be Inaccessible and Elitist (And Why That’s a Problem) by Hari Ziyad
- Why mental health is a political issue by Mark Fisher
- The politics of depression: Mark Fisher on mental health and class confidence
- 12 Signs Your Exhaustion Is Due to Emotional Labor — And How to Create Healthy Boundaries by Ramona Rio (thebodyisnotanapology.com)
- Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (And the Next) by Dean Spade
- The Care Manifesto by The Care Collective (PDF here.) For folks who want to listen to the book presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_jPptWDOgQ.
- The Nap Ministry (@thenapministry) / 40 Rest as Reparations with Tricia Hersey of The Nap Ministry – Irresistible (fka Healing Justice Podcast) / Atlanta-Based Organization Advocates For Rest As A Form Of Social Justice
For more updates on disability pride flag iterations and community dialogue that has happened over the course of the month of July 2021 and is continuing to happen, follow Ann Magil on Tumblr: From the Edge of the Map.
How to make your content (online and otherwise) readable by old folks and/or folks with seizures, migraines, photosensitivity, color blindness, blindness, low vision, and dyslexia:
- Dyslexia friendly style guide – British Dyslexia Association
- Use a readable font that’s at least 16 pixels. – Health Literacy Online
- Websites and Seizures: Developing for Accessibility – WeCo Digital Accessibility
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1
- Guidelines on how to make the use of PowerPoint and other visual presentations accessible to audience members who have a vision or print impairment – WBU PowerPoint guidelines Word.doc
- Shortened summary: Microsoft Word – WBU PowerPoint guidelines Short.doc
- Accessible communication formats – GOV.UK
On the severe inadequacies of the current Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
“The income support that SSI provides is nothing short of critical for the roughly 8 million disabled and older Americans currently receiving benefits, who are disproportionately Black, Latinx, and people of color. But due to decades of federal neglect, SSI’s income protections have withered over time — and the program now consigns millions of disabled people and older adults to deep and enduring poverty, despite the fact that it was enacted to give them a lifeline out of it. Benefits top out at just three-quarters of the federal poverty line, and the program’s rigid income and asset limits have not been updated for inflation for more than 30 years, penalizing savings and work.”“Building Back Better” for Older and Disabled Americans Requires Bringing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) into the 21st Century – National Academy of Social Insurance
“Other recipients say they cannot pursue meaningful work because it could cost them their SSI and accompanying Medicaid coverage without providing enough income or insurance to compensate. Some want to test their ability to hold a job but do not want to risk having nothing to fall back on if they cannot.”
“It can be very hard to get your SSI or your Medicaid back once you do lose those benefits,” said Mia Ives-Rublee, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, who uses a wheelchair and relied on SSI in college. “There’s a real trap of having to balance your health needs versus your willingness and ability to work.”
“The amount of benefits that we lose is thousands; it’s not anything that a normal spouse can afford,” said a disabled SSI recipient who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she fears retaliation for speaking against the rules of the program she relies on. “Most of us, myself included, are not getting married because I literally would die. I would lose everything.”
“Once, that recipient said, she was too sick to leave her home for two months, and because her daily expenses fell, her bank account balance increased to $2,135 from just under $2,000 without her noticing. When the Social Security Administration found out, she had to repay her entire SSI benefit for those months, which took two years.”How Disabled Americans Are Pushing to Overhaul a Key Benefits Program (Originally posted on the New York Times)
- Outdated SSI rules leave millions in poverty — the reconciliation package can change that
- Disability advocates fighting for poverty level benefits
- Where a push to bring SSI benefits up to federal poverty level stands
- *Note: this article includes a speaker that mentions that this piece of legislation would improve the well-being “for a group of people who do not expect to work and support themselves”; to that end, here’s a reminder that even if disabled folks did want to work and earn more income to “support themselves” by themselves, the current state of the SSI actively prevents and punishes that. Under the current severely inadequate state of the SSI, people with disabilities risk losing their benefits and therefore their access to basic needs (which actually aren’t being fully met through the program because, again, it has not been updated to this day and age) if they earn more than a certain amount of money.
Sample template for calling your local representatives:
Hello, my name is [INSERT NAME] calling from the zip code [INSERT ZIP CODE]. Almost 8 million Americans rely on the SSI to meet their basic needs, and it is the very same punitive policy that forces seniors and disabled Americans to live in poverty and unjust conditions. I’m calling to say [INSERT LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE] must act now to increase payments to at least 100% of the federal poverty line and get rid of the marriage ban, the “in support and maintenance” rule, and other penalties. “Build back better” and don’t leave disabled people behind this time. Thanks.