An Invitation for #AccessibilityAugust: Building a Movement for Everyone

[Image description: A black and grey background with a white block of text that reads:

[Image description: A black and grey background with a white block of text that reads: “The revolution will be accessible or it’s no revolution at all. – Mia Mingus, Access is Love.” There’s a large open quotation mark in red at the top.]

“A Disability Justice framework understands that all bodies are unique and essential, that all bodies have strengths and needs that must be met. We know that we are powerful not despite the complexities of our bodies, but because of them. We understand that all bodies are caught in these bindings of ability, race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, state, and imperialism, and that we cannot separate them. These are the positions from where we struggle. We are in a global system that is incompatible with life. There is no way [to] stop a single gear in motion – we must dismantle this machine.” – Patty Berne, Sins Invalid

Dear Resister,

This global pandemic has forced many of us to shift and adapt how we operate and move through life in ways that were once unimaginable. Social distancing, wearing masks in public, working from home, self quarantines, holding in-person events digitally, organizing mutual aid networks, making telehealth appointments, and advocating for better healthcare to keep ourselves safe were not commonplace practices until COVID-19 hit. But the reality is that these “safety measures” that have been essential for our survival have always been critical for the survival of people with disabilities. This pandemic has revealed that making life accessible for everyone is not impossible, too difficult, or inconsequential and, instead, should be central to how we function.

I, myself, am in a wheelchair and Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, sites, and buildings are incredibly challenging for wheelchair users like myself. Many times we organize workshops and have a hard time finding accessible venues. We are thinking of ways around it, but it’s not easy to do the organizing work when movements don’t recognize their ableist practices and hold events at inaccessible venues. I am trying to create more awareness, but we have a long way to go.

Here at Resist, we intimately understand the impact that movements for justice and liberation have on our communities. They connect us, they grow us, they help us move closer to love, liberation, and the world we deserve. There are folks on the frontlines, like some of our grantees, already working to ensure that movements are for everyone.

Now more than ever, we are committed to supporting projects that enable all people to participate in the movement for justice and liberation. Resist’s Accessibility grant is available to support organizations and collectives with up to $4,000 to fund the essential costs of making projects or events more accessible to their community members.

Read on to learn about how Resist grantees have used this grant in the past:

  • Two of Carrizo Comecrudo Nation of Texas’ 2 campsite villages (Yalui and Somi Se’k) have added wheelchair accessible ramps, portable toilets, and have structured their camps to be open-spaced to allow for vehicle and motorized, or manual, wheelchair access.
  • To support full participation and engagement in the work, Creating Freedom Movements: more justice, more joy 3 invested in a Meeting Owl, which enables group communication that is clear and accessible. This technology is a game-changer for folks who need to be able to attend meetings remotely due to disability-related reasons.
  • As an organization representing over 200 immigrant and refugee families throughout central Massachusetts and the surrounding areas, El Comite de Vecinos 4 provided language interpretation services for members and leadership in meetings with government representatives and other partners to ensure that all voices can be heard.
  • The Outlaw Project 5 used their accessibility funds to research, summarize, connect to and honor past and current resources and efforts to address able-ism in sex worker rights organizing. Their goal was to ultimately create a resource page on their website and host a nationally focused webinar series centered on their findings with the leadership of sex workers with disabilities.

Know of powerful work that could benefit from funds and support to help make movements more accessible for all?

Click here to learn more and apply!

 

In Spirit,
Kathy Lebron
Co-director, Resist (Communications and Storytelling)
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p.s. For those of us who are able to survive (and even thrive) during this time, consider a gift to Resist to help support organizations who are power-building and imagining their world anew. Invest in the new world today.

2-Carrizo Comecrudo Nation of Texas: http://www.carrizocomecrudonation.com/
3-Creating Freedom Movements: more justice, more joy: https://resist.org/grantees/creating-freedom-movements-more-justice-more-joy
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