disability justice

History of Disability Justice (Source)

The term disability justice was coined out of conversations between disabled queer women of color activists in 2005, including Patty Berne of Sins Invalid (and Mia Mingus & Stacy Milbern, who eventually united with Leroy Moore, Eli Clare, and Sebastian Margaret) seeking to challenge radical and progressive movements to more fully address ableism.

"Disability Justice was built because the Disability Rights Movement and Disability Studies do not inherently centralize the needs and experiences of folks experiencing intersectional oppression, such as disabled people of color, immigrants with disabilities, queers with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are houseless, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, people with disabilities who have had their ancestral lands stolen, amongst others." (Source)

Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how people's’ bodies and minds are labelled ‘deviant’, ‘unproductive’, ‘disposable’ and/or ‘invalid’.

Introductory Readings

Sick Woman Theory

Wherever You Are is Where I Want to Be: Crip Solidarity, Mia Mingus

A Babe-Licious Healing Justice Statement, BadAss Visionary Healers (BAVH)

Dialogue on Disability Justice Movement Building with Patty Berne

Disability Solidarity: Completing the “Vision for Black Lives”

Addressing the Criminalization of Disability from a Disability Justice Framework: Centring The Experiences of Disabled Queer Trans Indigenous and People of Colour

State Sanctioned: Disability

Introductory Videos

Ableism is The Bane of My Motherfuckin’ Existence

“Is medicine about quality of life, or is it about social control? And perpetuating this idea that you have a good body?” - Stacey Milbern

My Body Doesn’t Oppress Me, Society Does: Barnard Center for Research on Women

  • Impairment: Physical or neurological manifestation vs. Disability: What society creates as barriers because of the impairment

  • “If I’m in a place where my access needs are being met, then my impairment isn’t so significant.” - Stacey Milbern

  • “It’s not easy to live with an impairment. There are time when it’s not convenient to have a body. But that’s not what oppresses us. What oppresses us is living in a system that disregards us, is violent towards us, essentially wants to subjugate our bodies or kill us -- that’s oppressive. My body doesn’t oppress me.” - Patty Berne

  • “There are always going to be people in pain. That’s just the nature of being in a body. But the social body we can change. And I think it requires a power analysis.” - Patty Berne

Disability Justice Curricula (Source)







Other Resources:

Incarceration (Source)

About a third of prison and jail inmates reported a disability in 2011-2012, PR Newswire

‘Ban the Box’: Good for people with disabilities, U.S. Department of Labor blog

Supporting, not imprisoning, Aboriginal people with disabilities, could save millions, The Conversation,

Why are so many mentally ill people imprisoned in PA? The Pittsburgh Courier

A Psychologist as Warden? Jail and Mental Illness Intersect in Chicago, New York Times

In U.S. Prisons, Psychiatric Illness is Often Met with Brute Force, TruthOut

Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline for Students with Disabilities – National Council on Disability

Brave New Films Releases “Over-Criminalized” – film exploring use of prisons to treat mental illness

Deaf in Prison: Examining Social Exclusion within Systems – from Adler University blog

Mental Health Courts: Challenges, Questions, and Tensions – Center for Court Innovation

Callous and Cruel, Human Rights Watch Report

Mentally Ill Inmates are Routinely Physically Abused, Study Says, Timothy Williams for the New York Times

Solitary Confinement Makes Teenagers Depressed and Suicidal, Ian Kysel for Washington Post

Dealing with Dementia Among Aging Criminals, New York Times

Exploring what it means when police refuse to provide medical attention to their victims, Daily Kos

Jails Are No Substitute for a Mental Health System, The Hill

Cook County Jail a ‘mental health provider,’ says Sheriff Tom Dart, threatening lawsuit, The Huffington Post

Police Violence (Source)

Three bills in Florida on police and disability, David Perry (blog)

Black, Autistic, and Killed by Police, Chicago Reader

Risk of being killed by police is 16 times greater for people with mental illness, The Guardian

Is handcuffing special needs kids acceptable discipline? The Herald Times Online

Distraught People; Deadly Results, The Washington Post

Police Brutality, Mental Illness, and Race in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Austin McCoy for Nursing Clio (blog)

Shocking video of police shooting shows why we need to talk about how cops deal with the mentally ill, Fusion

A Tribute to Tanisha Anderson: African American, Schizophrenic, and Lost on the Streets, Huffington Post (see also Cleveland –> Tanisha Anderson)

Man Tries to Inform Police Son is Autistic – Gets Assaulted, Tasered, Cassandra Fairbanks for The Free Thought Project

Race and Disability (Source)

Autism and Race (organization/website)

Kim Discusses Disability, Race, and Infrastructural Neglect, The Wesleyan Argus

What Racial, Disability, and LGBT Justice Have in Common, PBS News Hour

Public Schools’ Disturbing Conflation of Race and Disability, Al-Jazeera America

Race, Depression, and Sandra Bland, The Cavalier Daily

Disabled Black Lives Matter, Huffington Post

We Must Change the Ableist Language Surrounding Sandra Bland’s Death, For Harriet

Mental Illness and Jails: Race is Left Out of the Equation, TruthOut

Police Brutality, Mental Illness, and Race in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Austin McCoy for Nursing Clio (blog)

Shooters of color are called ‘terrorists’ and ‘thugs,’ why are white shooters called ‘mentally ill’? – Anthea Butler op-ed in the Washington Post

Care Under Conditions of Capitalism and White Supremacy: An Interview with Mia Mingus, Bluestockings