Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

Welcome to the Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia

On June 10, 2015, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities partnered with the Society for Disability Studies to put on a Summit on Disability and Social Justice in Atlanta, GA. Individuals with varied levels of understanding of disability, disability justice, and social justice and how these concepts interlock came together to develop and deepen our collective understanding of how disability fits into social justice work and how other struggles for justice are intricately connected to disability justice.

Schedule of the day:

  • Welcome - Caitlin Childs of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and Tammy Berberi of the Society for Disability Studies
  • Presentation of plaque to honor Rev. Calvin Peterson – Alvin Dollar
  • Invocation - Naomi Ortiz
  • Disability Justice Day Proclamations -  Atlanta City Councilman, C.T. Martin and Georgia State Senator, Gail Davenport
  • Plenary Panel: What is Disability Justice and Why Do We Need It? – Panelists: Basmat Ahmed, Jess St. Louis, Leroy Moore, Akemi Nishida, Margaret Price, and a written statement from Patty Berne
    Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia-1

    Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

In the afternoon, attendees were divided into smaller groups for loosely facilitated conversations on the following topics:

  • Incarceration and Institutionalization – Facilitators: Dorinda Tatum, Kathryn Hamoudah, Liat Ben-Moshe, Lesa Hope
  • Youth Organizing – Facilitators: Sukie Glick, Michelle Nario-Redmond
  • Food Justice – Facilitators: Jessica Mathis, Johnny Smith, Barry Helmey, Teri Schell, Christopher Schell
  • Sexuality and Reproductive Justice – Facilitators: Charone Pagett, Robin Wilson-Beattie, Ryan Lee Cartwright, Bethany Stevens

At the end of the day, attendees came back as a large group to report back major themes from each of the conversations. This was facilitated by Caitlin Childs with notes taken by Tammy Berberi. These notes as well as notes provided by individual participants and graphic notes taken by Brittany Curry have been transcribed on this page. Photographs of the graphics and flip-charted notes are inserted when available. Additionally, participants were encouraged to complete feedback forms regarding the topics discussed throughout the day. This page was created in order to share this learning and is public, so it can be enjoyed by everyone. Responses are transcribed directly from the forms and notes provided to us and have only been edited for the sake of clarity. This page can be shared with anyone, by anyone, with or without a Wikia account.

Anyone who wishes to submit additional notes may do so by emailing

Opening Panel: What is Disability Justice and Why Do We Need it?

Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia-2

Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

For the opening panel, panel members were first tasked with answering a few guiding questions:

  1. What is Disability Justice?
  2. What does it have to do with other social justice struggles?
  3. What can folks committed to social justice but new to disability do to incorporate this frame into their work?
  4. What can folks committed to justice around disability but not active around other social justice struggles to do make these connections?
  5. What does it look like to build movements and support organizing work that brings folds with and without disabilities together for justice?
    Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia-3

    Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

Panelists used personal experience from their own social justice work as a platform to answer the above questions, and there was no single, definitive answer. In addition, notes were not initially taken on the responses from panelists.

Some words from Margaret Price (panelist):

  • I told a story about my early experiences at Spelman, when I tried to do some queer organizing without realizing that I was making a typical white-feminist move of placing myself at the center. That is, I put myself in charge; did not pay attention to work that had been done before my arrival; and assumed that organizing efforts were not happening, when in fact they simply were not legible / visible to me. I was fortunate at the time that Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall was willing to speak with me in person and begin to explain why my assumptions and actions were problems. I've continued to learn from her, from other Black friends and colleagues, and from other members of the National Black Disability Coalition.
  • A key tenet of disability justice is that efforts must be led by, and center, people of color. This is different from having people of color "involved" in an effort. I have learned through painful experience that if I and other white people are the main organizers / leaders of an event or initiative, we can't claim to be doing disability justice work. That doesn't mean our work is pointless, just that it needs to be recognized for what it is.
  • When I speak as a white person, I don't speak alone. Although I was raised to think of myself as an individual, not accountable for other white people, in fact my voice is part of a chorus of white voices that are over-privileged in academia, government, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and elsewhere. So, to give a concrete example: If I am listening to the Q&A after a conference session, and four white people have just spoken, I need to be mindful that if I speak, I will be the fifth white person speaking. I am not "just me" alone--I am part of a culture and accountable for that, even as I also work daily on anti-racist efforts.

From feedback form:

  • "Popular education:" everyone is a teacher/learner independent of expertise and experiences
  • "Challenge ideas, not people." <--- encourage and ask for this more. Celebrate stories
  • More resources: Latest Frontline episode on prison system (prison state). Young people of color are going through a system without disability services support/community.
  • "The same actions I have been doing thus far. That is to continue to be an advocate by giving out information and resources to the people in my community. I have found that lack of knowledge is what holds people back from moving forward. People seem to not be aware of information and resources that are available to assist them. So, I will continue to do that."
    • Additional resources: " This is a website for people who are losing their vision. It has info on how to talk to an eye doctor about losing sight. How to cook, clean, travel safely, work, deal with technology, interact with family and socialize. There are also message boards where you can ask questions about anything that is eye-related and a group of peer advisors, including myself, will respond. Also, peer advisors, including myself, blog on a weekly basis about our lives as blind and visually impaired people that readers know that we are regular, average people with lives. That we can live with blindness, be happy and fulfill. People need on-line resources because waiting for community/government services takes a long time. This is an on-line resource where you can get support right away."
Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia-1435593760

Welcome graphics for the Disability and Social Justice Summit

Workshop 1: Incarceration and Institutionalization

In this first workshop, participants were divided into smaller groups to discuss the following:

  1. What is mass incarceration?
  2. What is institutionalization?
  3. Why are these issues more important to talk about in relation to disability?
  4. Who else is impacted and how?
  5. How does special education feed the school to prison pipeline? How do race class and gender interplay with this?
  6. How do we build alliances and relationships?
  7. What does that look like in action?
Graphics for Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop-1

Graphics for Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop

From the participant's notes:

Mass incarceration:

  • Explosion of crime
  • criminalizing poverty
  • funneling of people into prison with developmental disabilities.


  • warehousing structures; large facilities that house people, group homes, nursing homes, psychiatric institutions, etc. Often mediated by the state.
  • Institutionalization = Incarceration
  • This affects People of Color, People who live in Poverty, People who have difficulty communicating, People with disabilities, Trans/Gender Nonconforming People, Police, People with Different (Dis)Abilities, Veterans, Children, Transient People, People who have been formally Incarcerated.
  • Trying to treat everyone the same (supposedly), take away personal choice.
  • "They"- the power of "they"- White men- able bodied"
  • privatization of state resources

    Graphics for the Mass Incarceration and Institutionalization Workshop

  • Structures maintain the system of prisons/institutions:
    • Educational Institutions (policing, segregation, case of st. bernard parish in new orleans charter system, special education, )
    • Psychiatric Health Systems
    • Capitalism
    • Police
    • Immigration
    • Pharmaceutical Industry
    • Health Care Industry
    • Legal Advocacy
    • Patriarchy: the system of oppression that supports male domination
    • Families
    • Economy (for profit industry of prisons and institutions Prison and Medical Industrial Complexes)
    • Neighborhoods/Communities
    • Welfare Systems
    • Division of Labor (people most affected are also most likely to be the people working and/or incarcerated by these institutions)
    • Disability Policy and Laws
Graphics for Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop

Graphics for the Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop

Institutionalization and Disability:

  • Certain bodies are valued more than others
  • Body autonomy
  • Solitary confinement, violence, trauma
  • Binary support system who is valuable and who is not based on race, gender, ability and class, etc.
  • role of families interfacing with communities.

Special Ed --> School to Prison Pipeline:

  • Race, Class, Gender
  • What can be done? Limitation of resources
    • individualized evaluation
    • navigating race and ability

Alliances and relationships:

  • being open
  • make sure violence is heard (legislative session big/small gov't)
  • visibility-alliance building within movements
  • Disability Justice intersects with everything
    Graphics for Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop-0

    Graphics for the Incarceration and Institutionalization workshop

Graphic facilitation-

  • The state of Georgia has the highest burden of proof for people with disabilities.
  • Allows young people to be charged, tried and sentenced as an adult.
  • "they use all this language that obscures what is really happening."
  • "The prison system is the largest housing entity of people with disabilities."- Georgia Chief justice
  • It's time to be real about the legacy of slavery and genocide.
  • This is not an isolated event, larger systemic patterns that involve all layers of oppression and intersectionality.
  • How do we take action?
    • We need to redirect funds to inclusive schools
    • we need to set an agenda for disability justice
    • make these institutions less profitable.
    • address the school to prison pipeline

From feedback form(s):

  • What did you learn?
  • Some disabilities are on a more prison track than others.
  • That children with disabilities are more prone to prison than able body kids; especially if parents don’t advocate.
  • That prison is a money making business than won’t be ending soon.
  • That schools get kids ready for prison with metal detectors and security guards with guns on campus
  • Actions to take in your community: tell more stories about what incarceration means for the lives of disabled persons.
  • Additional resources: Lisa Guenther, "Phenomenology as a Practice of Liberation" and other work on incarceration (

Workshop Two: Youth Organizing

The following questions for the second workshop on Youth Organizing are stated below:

  1. What is youth organizing?
  2. Why is it important to talk about this in relation to disability?
  3. Who else is impacted? How?
  4. How do we build these alliances and relationships?
  5. What does this look like?

From Notes:

  • What is youth organizing? Providing empowerment opportunities/resources giving youth control
  • Who should be involved in youth organizing?
    • youth organized
    • siblings
    • mentors
    • the people who are going to do the work
    • the people who are actually affected
    • community
    • peer support
    • chosen family
    • parents?
    • peer youth
    • organized intervention into adult perceptions/modes of thinking
    • where does adult advocacy end and self advocacy begin?
    • teaching personal experiences of disability and empathy

From graphic facilitation:

Graphics from the Youth Organizing workshop

Graphics from the Youth Organizing workshop

  • Teaching kids how to stand up to authority- say no; resisting constraints/punishment
  • Teaching adults/parents/teachers how to actively listen. How to prompt alternatives.
  • space for disability community for youth (specifically not "parent"/disease model
  • cross impairment disability culture
  • getting consent- asking for yes's vs. waiting for No's.
  • anti-infantilizing- assuming kid has no agency/empowering/interdependence monitoring
  • hiring youth leaderships/personal assistance to be empowered
    • I can choose who helps/who controls/by having a job
  • students for barrier-free access workshops on listening/unpacking ableism
  • circles of care collectives of peers (vs. top down)
    Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia-0

    Graphics from the Youth Organizing workshop

  • opportunities to learn about future beyond employment- disability history
  • social media educating for youth-self advocacy
  • sharing experiences of oppression and advocacy
  • show up/ask for meetings
  • curriculum change-alternate historical accounts of disability

Additional notes:

  • Spaces that are disability positive, conversations
  • Peer support is absolutely key, allyship
  • How to be proud
  • Things that bug us
  • Groups being separated
  • Pressure to identify
  • Frustrations with adults taking over, silencing some voices
  • Lack of concern for cost
  • Strategies: standing up to parents, claiming consent, teaching people how to listen, to seek out disabled people and culture
  • Asking for yeses instead of waiting for nos.
  • Hire youth into leadership roles, peer personal assistants
  • Unpacking ableism for young people and parents developing curricula that empower marginalized youth rather than teach mainstream values of accepting difference. Marginalized youth are not the ‘object’ of study

Workshop Three: Food Justice

The following questions for the Food Justice breakout sessions are provided below:

  1. What is food justice?
  2. Why is it important to talk about this in relation to disability?
  3. Who else is impacted? How?
  4. How do we build these alliance and relationships?
  5. What does that look like?
    Graphics for Food Justice workshop

    Graphics for the Food Justice workshop

Graphic facilitation:

  • What is food justice?
    • Equal access to good food for all
    • Having good quality food available
  • "It can be harder for people with disabilities to have access to good food."
  • "EBT" users are limited in what they can purchase
  • What can we do to address this given the economic gap?
  • Linked to discrimination and shaming
  • " I learned about corn fed v. grass fed in a class."
  • How do we end these myths about food?
    Graphics for Food Justice workshop-0

    Graphics for the Food Justice workshop

  • " He was from New Orleans, so food was very important to him. He made jambalaya and invited everyone to share."- Dr. Lesa Hope
  • Climate change will threaten food security
  • Mixed Greens is in Savannah, Georgia and brought together people with and without disabilities.
    • "The Trustees Garden opened up another world for me."
  • We have to remember the history: let's not forget how corporations changed it all for farmers.
  • Socioeconomic class has to factor into the conversation
  • What other communities are affected?
    • The elderly are affected for the same reasons as folks with disabilities.
      Graphics for the Food Justice workshop

      Graphics for the Food Justice workshop

    • "I noticed there are certain practices that line up with capitalism.
    • "A lot of knowledge has been lost thru generations."- Dr. Lesa Hope
  • Communities of color need some education about healthy food.
  • We need to not judge each other about comfort food

Taken from specific notes:

  • FJ is collective, community based
    • For example: Savannah mixed grains, gardening, mobile farmers market
    • Food is community, pleasure "comfort food."
    • Quality, close to you, affordable.
      IMG 0009

      Graphics for the Food Justice workshop

  • Health can be weaponized
  • How does food justice intersect with body positivity?
  • Do we have access via accessible public transit?
  • What assumptions are made about people of color? People with disabilities?
    • Markets inaccessible to Blind people, dyslexics
    • Unhealthy foods stocked on lower shelves for kids, little people
  • What kinds of foods qualify in SNAP program?
    • Program to get double snap points at the market
  • EBT cards not accepted for online shopping

From feedback form(s):

  • Major themes: "There are numerous injustices in the food industry; too many to mention. But I was impressed with what they are doing in Savannah. The presenter shares the work there and how they are trying hard to equal the playing field."
  • Actions to take home: "Keep doing what I am doing already; educate people, myself, friends and family. Speak up in my local grocery store."

Workshop Four: Sexual and Reproductive Justice

Questions for the final workshop on Sexual and Reproductive justice are below:

  1. What is sexual and reproductive justice?
  2. Why is it important to talk about this in relation to disability?
  3. Who else is impacted? How?
  4. How do we build these alliance and relationships?
  5. What does that look like?
Graphics for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice workshop

Graphics for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice workshop

Taken from graphic facilitation:

  • What do you think sexual and reproductive justice means?
    • The right to be a parent, able to access sexuality and sex education
    • need for assistance or an attendant
    • "Seeing yourself as someone who deserves pleasure."
    • Surrogate committees that advocate for/protect people
    • seeing through the image of sexuality that is constructed by ableism
    • "My heart goes out to all the people whose parents believe the doctors."
  • What is a sexologist?
    • one who studies, researches and educates others
  • The cultural taboo on sexuality and disability
    • There is an assumption that people with disabilities have no need for privacy.
    • "People seem more okay saying stuff about people with disabilities that they'd never say about marginalized groups."
      • People ask all kinds of questions about your body.
        • "Can you have sex?".... "Right now?"
          IMG 0008

          Graphics for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice workshop

  • "Sexual pleasure helps fight the negative effects of systems of power."
    • You also sleep better and your hypertension goes down
  • How could sexuality be used to help build communities?
    • "We must continue to support our brothers and sisters with intellectual disabilities."
    • Australia is making brothels accessible.
  • Eugenics --> aggressions on a daily basis
    • People with disabilities discouraged from having kids.
      • "Why do you have a child?" (entangled with law)
      • "Sterilization being used under the guise of protection."
      • Children not knowing they have a say-so over their own bodies.
  • Why is it so important to talk about this in relation to disability?
    • Because of relationships of power and it shows up in the workplace
    • Princeton professor promoting killing the disabled
Disability and Social Justice Summit Wikia

Graphics for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice workshop

Taken from notes:

  • Why is sexual and reproductive justice important?
  • Fighting dehumanizations and eugenics Sex is not an ability. It is about sex, pleasure. Sex is good for you!
  • Bodies being objectified , medicalization may make touching difficult
  • Negotiating boundaries between being open about sex, but having a right to privacy
  • Making sex accessible, facilitating meetings, relationships to bridge isolation that many people feel around these issues
  • Keep humor at hand to continue justice work
  • Where do we find sex positivity?
  • Slow and intentional movement together
  • Recognize other experience to connect and build political capital
  • Stereotypes- pwds (people with disabilities) are not sexual and there also very high rates of sexual abuse among people with disabilities
  • Issues about consent, Sex Ed in alternative formats
  • Criminalization of sex
  • What do we reveal?
    • Identity disclosure of all kinds can be an issue of personal safety for many
  • Rejection and its psychological impact
    • How do we make ourselves more desiring as opposed to desirable for others?
    • How do we empower ourselves given these narratives that disempower?
  • The separation of the public and the private serves ableism
    IMG 0005

    Graphics for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice workshop

Additional Notes:

  1. What do you think, and/or what has your experience been around, what “reproductive justice” means?
  • Access to sexual education
  • Access to facilitated sex: assistance (personal/technological) in the bedroom
  • Someone who deserves the right to experience pleasure - pleasure as a human right
  • Blaming the victim/blaming theory
  • Sterilization versus Birth Control
  • Who is constructed as a sexual being by society?
    • How is the construct of sexuality and sexiness affected by racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc.
  • Medical industrial complex teaches the disabled that they do not and should not have control over their bodies.
    • Medical Colonization of Disabled Sexuality
    • “You must be fixed, you are not right the way you are”
  • Sexual Abuse, Assault and Violence should not be normative/expected
  • Equity in relationships.
  • Right to Have Children, to Stay a Parent, and/or Give Birth: Becoming parents and reproducing being disabled
  • Intersectionality: Histories and realities for people of color’s bodies
  • Protecting our children from medical abuse
  • Police entrapment via prostitution

2. Why is it important to talk about this in relation to Disability?

  • How you see yourself and how others see you
  • Access to opportunities
  • Desexing = Dehumanizing
  • Disabled sex workers
  • The ability to refuse to be sexualized, asexuality
  • Dating Services for the Disabled?
  • Right to be seen as desirable
  • Safe Spaces for Disabled Sex
  • "There is no expectation that we have private lives. We are public bodies and the public believes it has a right to our bodies and information about our bodies is a public (not a private) good."
  • Fetishization of disabled bodies as contagious, as curative, as fetishistic, etc.
  • How this relates to other populations?
  • They are not expected to date people of a marginalized/stigmatized status.
  • Ableism in dating/relationship formation
  • How do we build coalitions?
    • Talking about seeking/experiencing the pleasure we are told we are not allowed to have is revolutionary
    • working toward agency over our bodies
    • Plato’s Retreat,Toronto’s Accessible Orgy,Australia’s Accessible Brothels, and Accessible Sex Training for Sex Workers, Our Dungeon, HAI, Polyamory
  • Students labeled disabled to create the school to prison pipeline
  • Lack of sex education for people with intellectual disabilities also is a direct
  • school to prison pipeline

Major takeaways from this workshop:

  1. Sexual and reproductive justice is about much more than access to birth control an abortion rights.
  • gender and double-standards: workplace discrimination, family leave
  • access to care for disabled people, poor people
  • stereotypes about disability and sexuality- the assumption disabled people are not sexual
  • history of sterilization, institutionalization
  • issues of consent
  • right to be born
  • youth in group homes: sexual education and opportunities to safely have sexual experiences
  • sex education that fits disability- presented in alternative formats
  • both self-determination and consent are necessary.
  • incarcerated women losing parental rights; giving birth in shackles.
  • sexuality and violence
  • surveillance, criminalization, social and moral policing. Criminalization of HIV/AIDS, sex work, pornography
  • What do we reveal and when do we reveal it? Why are some things mandated to be revealed and others are not? Disclosure isn't just about HIV or STDs --> and how and when we disclose varies. Trans disclosure
  • Stigma and shame. The forces that complicate disclosure.
  • disability and consent- not all of us can communicate our desires.
  • Rejection and its psychological impact, no one is talking about this.
  • What is sex positivity when we are facing all these social justice issues? Where is sex positivity in our culture?
  • To what extent are our desires determined by cultural narratives of desire, normalcy, etc.?
  • Sexuality as a human right
  • How did the history of colonization impact human rights? How did it determine which humans count as people?
  • Sexuality and race- sex as a weapon.
  • How do we build alliances and relationships to make us more self-desiring?
  • Disability and trans pornography, consumption of non-normative bodies, difference between sex and relationships, fetishization, invisibility.
  • is all objectification the same? (No.) Agency
  • Kink. The separation of the public and private services ableism.

From feedback form(s):

  • Reinforced: "Slow movement is intentional."
  • Openness to/conscious stretch to know those different than me. How important coalition can be.
  • Practices to take back to community: Extending/politicizing myself [attendee] as a parent
  • Additional resources: SNAZ! Special Needs Accommodation Zones
  • Candace Aaron's Organization -
  • "We talked about disabled women and abortions; access to an abortion and cultural differences around it, W partnering with an abled-bodied person and social perception, and a lack of access to sexual educational materials for disabled youth and adults."
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