The 2023 YWCA South Florida Community Justice Challenge kicked off this week, focusing on disability rights and justice. We heard from inspiring speakers, shared thought-provoking dialogues and explored resources to be used in our continued fight for justice. Our conversations and lessons during week one of this challenge were an important reminder of why the rights of our differently-abled friends, neighbors and loved one must remain at the forefront of our vision for a more equitable and just society.
Day One: Eugenics
We began by diving deep into eugenics. Through difficult but necessary conversations, we learned more about the history of unjust wars on the reproductive rights of differently-abled individuals in our nation. Our modules also covered the othering of those with physical and mental disabilities and the long-standing institutionalized effects of these actions in our nation.
- Eugenics: In the Shadow of Fairview (Video)
- Disabled People Never Had Full Autonomy Over Our Reproductive Rights (Article)
- Why Buck v. Bell Still Matters (Article)
Day Two: Disability Rights Movement
On day two, our focus shifted to the Disability Rights Movement. We listened to inspiring, first-hand activist recounts of the fight for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Through our ability privilege checklist, we learned to identify how “the system” leaves people with disabilities at a disadvantage. Overall, our shared dialogues helped create an understanding of how everyone has a role to play in building a more just and equitable world.
Disability Rights Movement Resources:
- Fighting for 504 | HISTORY This Week (Podcast)
- Examples of Ability Privilege (Download/Document)
- Your Voice, Your Vote: Accessible Vote By Mail (Podcast)
Day Three: The Intersection of Race and Disability
On day three of Disability Week, we explored the intersection between race and disability. Through readings and videos, we discussed how structural racism creates added barriers for people with disabilities and how this disproportionately affects people of Black and Brown and Asian and Native American communities. Together, participants experienced stories of hope and resilience as we learned about the work being done to create a truly inclusive and accessible society.
Intersection of Race and Disability Resources:
- Understanding the Policing of Black, Disabled Bodies (Article)
- The Overlooked Reality of Police Violence Against Disabled Black Americans (Article)
- Native Americans with disabilities strive to overcome disadvantages (Video)
- Alice Wong Wants To Make Space For More Disabled Asian Americans Like Her (Article/Video)
Day Four: Sexual Violence and Disability
On day four, our challenge focused on the disproportionate impact of sexual violence on disabled communities, which are three times more likely to experience assault than others. In discussing the unique challenges people with disabilities face, our community identified ways to best support survivors and explored resources available for those who have experienced this traumatic form of violence. Through this topic, we explored paths to establishing a free from violence and discrimination.
Sexual Violence and Disability Resources:
- Sexual Violence and the Disability Community (Article)
- Working with Male Survivors: Talking to Men with Disabilities About Sexual Assault (Podcast)
- Alarming rates of violence and abuse against disabled women and girls (Video)
- The Rape of a Disabled Arizona Woman Is Not an Isolated Incident (Article)
Day Five: COVID and Accessibility
We concluded Disability Week with a discussion about the unique challenges faced by people with disabilities as a result of COVID-19 and, importantly, how societal changes caused by the pandemic have both impacted and altered the disabled American experience. We listened to government specialists and learned firsthand how remote work created new levels of accessibility for those with disabilities and explored the trans, disabled American experience.
COVID and Accessibility Resources:
- Remote work made life easier for many people with disabilities. They want the option to stay. (Article)
- Disability and Remote Work (Podcast)
- Pandemic means Americans with disabilities aren’t getting the services they need (Video)
- I’m a Trans, Disabled Young Person, Not One or the Other (Article)
The journey to putting the needs of our neighbors with disabilities at the forefront of our community and making South Florida an equitable environment for all doesn’t stop here. Here are some ways you can put your learning this week into action:
- Attend YWCA’s A New View: Disability Awareness Workshop event on Friday, April 21.
- Follow the Advocacy Network on Disabilities and learn more about changing systems
- Make your next event or meeting more accessible with these local resources.
- Learn about the ways Arc Broward supports people with disabilities live, work, play and thrive every day.
Week Two Preview: Housing
Are you enjoying the challenge so far? Help us spread the word to those in our community and encourage them to register before next week’s conversations begin. Join us next week to explore how redlining continues to impact housing access and how homophobia, racism, transphobia and other forms of discrimination are driving forces behind homelessness and its criminalization.