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Dec 22 / Alfonso

Access and Disability Justice at BOLD!

Many folks that were at BOLD! have asked that we share the Accesibility and Disability Justice framing document that guided the Access work at BOLD! Below you can find the the text from the document. Many thanks to the Disability Justice Collective and the many others that helped shape this work.

Being in solidarity with Disability and Language Justice Practices 

The planning committee and organizers of BOLD are committed to a gathering that is informed by Disability and Language justice, politics, access and perspectives.

If you are wondering why disability justice, why language justice?  Are unsure about what precisely they mean -we get that, truly! and offer this up in the spirit of a skill –share, utilizing the incredible opportunity of BOLD to expand our political and cultural values.

So here’s our thinking and process:

In reality what is true for most queer, disabled/chronically ill and/or non-English speaking people of color and working class allies is that we are relegated to the sidelines, marginalized and overlooked within politicized movements, radical service provision and QPOC spaces.

We wanted to shift that- we still have a long way to go, yet wanted to start here and now: with BOLD as a place where passing was not required for credibility and participation wasn’t dependent upon assimilation.

We want BOLD to be a space where disabled/chronically ill and Deaf folks shouldn’t have to pass as being able-bodied, healthy or from hearing culture, in order to be present or to participate fully. Similarly, we sought direction from the truth that we all lose when we assume English alone is the language to use. Its not only inaccurate, it alienates and further isolates migrant folks, devalues their perspectives, brilliance, skill sets and resistance. It serves to keep us in collusion with the genocide of this land: distancing us from whole, just collaborations with migrant QPOC and First Nation Two Spirit peoples.

We came knowing that disability surrounds us in many ways, is so very familiar to our communities and ourselves: bodies and minds with differences, chronic illness and Deafness. It connects us to our familiars; familiars estranged by Ableism effectively working as a mechanism of white supremacy, capitalism and colonization.  Disability and chronic illness live and breathe at the hubs of environmental racism, poverty, Sovereignty, homelessness, police violence, incarceration, and state control. As QPOC and working class allies we live and serve communities that are rich with disability/ illness and Deafness.  Yet as a movement there is struggle to embrace a political perspective about Ableism; and create the space and respect that enables folks to find words and home for our complicated, imperfect bodies and do so without risking rejection, loss or isolation.

Denial about colonization, genocide, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant and First Nations hatred runs deep in the culture of this stolen land. Language justice politics seek to embed ourselves and our movements in truth, by building multi-lingual space, practices and capacity into our work.  This work brings us closer to the power of reparation and the possibility of cross –issue collaborations through creating multilingual spaces where language is used democratically and as a tool of empowerment.

We want to create an environment that pushes back against the negative and connected under-currents about the feebleminded, the illiterate and the ‘accented’ people of our lives. These are layered, deep and important places where disability justice and language justice politics mesh.

BOLD seeks to be a supportive time of learning, challenge and growth about these connections and others; bringing us closer to broad justice-based values. Giving us skills that will nudge us closer to incorporating anti-ableism, disability justice and multi-lingual justice practices into our work.

So with excitement, great hope and respect we ask participants to consider the following requests from disability and multi-lingual participants and activists below. What follows is a conversation about disability and language justice with the invitation to take this away and continue to use it at home. Some of these are practical suggestions and some are points for thought.

  • Understand that no single accommodation or piece of language access will work for all disabled and non- English language folks. One solution never fits all and yet we note that increased disability specific access and multi lingual practice does benefit everyone and that there will be no complete liberation without it.
  • Walkees  (those of us who walk) are asked to be conscious about keeping aisles clear and tracking stuff we have on the floor and the presumption of an upright perspective being the only or best one.
  • We valuemulti -lingual, disability justice and cross-class space. We hold that the responsibility for communication and access is a collective one. If you are having trouble following coz of somebody else’s speech differences or language remember it is okay to be confused. The notion that able-bodied and/or English speaking folks should immediately follow everything all the time, is kind of problematic, right?
    • Be responsive with requests to move away and respect folks boundaries about touch– for many different reasons, body contact and/or proximity can be problematic.
    • Don’t wear perfume, cologne or essential oil; we need you, your input and we need you smelling like a human. For POC specific unscented productshttp://fiercebodies.com/
    • Check out this article that speaks to the importance of scent free spaces and communities

http://creatingcollectiveaccess.wordpress.com/making-space-accessible-is-an-act-of-love-for-our-communities/.

  • Let’s help make sure that only one person at a time speaks; the less crosstalk we have the more folks can participate and the less chance we have of creating misunderstandings or parallel processes.
  • We request that the effort and work represented here not be co-opted, or appropriated in any way. We hold ourselves accountable to community and movement first and always. We are mindful of a pattern of harvesting ideas, politics and creativity from disability justice, language justice and other POC and marginalized grassroots efforts. Please ask if you want to share what has been created here.
  • Those of uswho speak fast (we know who we areJ) keep trying to slow… it… down. We recognize this is a lifelong practice – and half your speed is a good target.
    • In resistance to assimilation, we value all the ways we communicate, all the different ways we think, process and learn; all the places we come from, all the experience we bring and all the people we have lost along the way.
    • Consider the truth and politic that disabled/Deaf and chronically ill and non-English language queer people of color (QPOC) are integral to your work, social justice politics, service provision and base building. .
    • Let’s avoid violent, graphic language or stories. We can be detailed about survival and resistance without being explicit to a point of possible triggering trauma for others.
    • When you are speaking to someone using an interpreter, always address the person you are speaking with, not the interpreter. Ensure your body language and typically your eye contact are NOT directed too the interpreter.
    • Allow folks to choose whatever seating best meets their needs, without justification.
    • Be aware that for some this means sitting closer to the front of the room for others its vital to sit outside on the edge of a circle/group and some folks simply need to space to pace, twitch and avoid close physical proximity to others.
    • If you are referring to written material in powerpoints, handouts or in conversation be sure to read them out, if you are using pictures and images describe them.
    • Don’t be misled by what you think you can see –many disabilities and chronic illness are non- apparent. Far, far too many of us pass in political spaces. Everyone has a right to the accommodations they need without questions or justifications.
    • Notice that there is a difference between a multilingual space and an interpreted space. In a multilingual space, no single language is primary and all participants are able to speak their preferred language and to have languages interpreted. Interpreted spaces usually assume there is a primary language and all participants using a language other than the primary language receive interpretation.
    • Recognize that the words “cripple, defect, handicap, spastic, freak, retard, and crazy.” are hate speech that have a direct connection to disability specific violence, state sanctioned genocide and coercion. When disability targeted violence happens these words are in inevitably present. As a community rich and diverse with survivors of this violence–such words have no neutrality for us.
    • Because access for psychiatric and or mental illness impairments is layered, fluid and often relational, with support and participation pivoting often on intimacy and information. We acknowledge that psychiatric (psych) access will likely be built on the go and we request that folks stay open and flexible to what that might create.
    • Don’t comment or reflect or ask questions about the language someone is using unless you are invited to do so. Don’t make assumptions on how or where or why they speak the languages they speak. Similarly, don’t assume anything about other languages participants do or don’t use based on the language they choose to use in your presence.
    • Disability justice activists ground ourselves in the brilliance and necessity of human imperfection. This cultural knowledge is in direct resistance to the dominant belief that names disabled, Deaf, and/or chronically ill bodies and minds as inherently flawed, less than human, and ultimately disposable.
    • Avoid using language that equates the reality of disabled /Deaf/chronically ill peoples bodies/minds with negativity, brokenness, and inferiority. Some examples; “I had a fit when I saw the agenda ”, “ That’s lame ”,  “How blind/stupid can we be? “, “ its a retarded strategy”, “That’s sick!”, “Racism is crippling our movement ” , “they  spazzed out when I suggested collaborating with queer activists  ”  , “The board is crazy, they are out of touch with the reality of our work ” etc.
    • Listen to the stories, experiences and perspectives of non-English language speakers and disabled /chronically ill and Deaf community members.
    • Understand that having a disability does not make our lives any more inspirational, pitiful, heroic, or tragic than yours.
    • Consider why is it that disabled / chronically ill and non-English language community members are not well represented in QPOC conference/gathering space attendance, as workshop trainers, or capacity builders? In staff or leadership position in our organizations? Or pursued as decision makers, stakeholders or crucial skill bringers in our organizing?  Why is there still so much absence?
    • Do use the phrase “disabled people”, “people with disabilities” or “the disability community” and not: handicapped, ability, differently-abled or differently-challenged.
    • Be in solidarity for those of us who cannot or don’t pass as able-bodied; we deal with daily intrusive curiosity about our bodies and minds. This is irritating, exhausting and disrespectful at best, and for us directly linked to hate speech and systemic violence.
    • Ask before you offer help.  If unsure start simple, tone is everything, right?  “Can I provide/ be of assistance?” Be okay and stay open to connection, even if the answer is no.
    • Bottom line with interpretation: if it stops—so does the conversation, no side/off mic , or off-interpreted talk. It’s alienating and comes off as rude.
    • When you encounter someone using a service/ assistance dog, do not interact with the animal in any way.  They are working hard- please don’t distract them.

Please feel free to contact us with any clarifying questions you may have

Sebastian Margaret: Disability justice collective accesschange7@gmail.com

Susan Raffo: executivedirector@pfundonline.org, 612-245-4056

Thank you all for this vital solidarity work!

Oct 26 / Alfonso

The fourth and last BOLD Conversation Recording is Available!

BOLD BB Teleconf 4 of 4 Art and Cultural Organizing by user2994519

An Organizing Model:  Cultural Work and Organizing

Social Change requires changing hearts and minds, developing power, and taking action.  Cultural work, in all of its expressions, goes directly to hearts and minds—bringing the power of words, the visual intimacy of movies, the emotions of freedom and despair through movement, and the vitality of music. It reminds us of our history and culture, helps define and motivate us, and leads us toward wholeness.  Without the full integration of arts and culture in our work, our politics can be confined to the mind, without direct connection to the body and spirit, and all three are necessary for wholeness.  In this conversation we will discuss the critical importance of cultural work and how it can be made central to our movement work in both rural and urban communities. 

Panelists: Graciela Sánchez, Wendi O’Neal, Oskar Ly

 

Oct 18 / Alfonso

The third BOLD Conversation Recording is Available!

BOLD BB Teleconf 3 of 4 Spirituality CP.SB.MP by user8554555

An Organizing Model:  Spirituality and Healing

Great numbers of QTPOC people have been injured by two of our most central institutions:  Family and Faith—two places where we have had perhaps the greatest expectation of being accepted and safe. In our individual lives, as well as in our organizations, many of us are struggling to heal these injuries, reclaim our spirituality, and work toward healthier communities.  In this conversation, we will discuss the ways organizing can incorporate healing and spiritual practices, from Two Spirit Indigenous practices, church-based queer organizing, traditional healing, and more. 

Panelists:  Cara Page, Mike Perez, Steven Barrios 

Sep 28 / Alfonso

The second BOLD Conversation Recording is Available!

BOLD Gathering Teleconference: What Is This Movement Moment by user6393373

What is this Movement Moment?

This moment we are in, when the world is undergoing great upheaval and change, offers great opportunities and challenges for us.  Some examples of opportunities are the fast ways to communicate and connect through technology; anUSthat will soon be majority people of color; an increased interest in queer relationships and their place in society; people rising up around the world to claim their freedom.  Some examples of challenges are the failed economy and the increase of unemployed and poor people; the attack on immigrants; the growth of the rightwing and the power it has found in the Tea Party; and tensions between and among communities of color.  What’s our movement moment?  What skills and understandings do we need to meet it?

Panelists: Trishala Deb, Kenyon Farrow

Sep 15 / Alfonso

The first BOLD Conversation Recording is Available!

BOLD Gathering Teleconference: Locating Ourselves within Movement(s) by user5157065

Where We Are – Locating Ourselves within Movement(s)

Are we, as QTPOC, a strong arm of a bigger movement (such as the mainstream gay movement) or are we leading a movement of our own?  At our national BOLD Gathering, we will talk about movements and organizing and leadership as theUSpopulation changes to majority people of color.  How can we, as QTPOC people, affect the creation and direction of a movement that brings about the change for which we dream and work?  What do we need to know?

Panelists:  Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, Malachi Larrabee-Garza

Don’t forget to join us for our next call on Tuesday, September 27 at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT

What is this Movement Moment?

This moment we are in, when the world is undergoing great upheaval and change, offers great opportunities and challenges for us.  Some examples of opportunities are the fast ways to communicate and connect through technology; anUSthat will soon be majority people of color; an increased interest in queer relationships and their place in society; people rising up around the world to claim their freedom.  Some examples of challenges are the failed economy and the increase of unemployed and poor people; the attack on immigrants; the growth of the rightwing and the power it has found in the Tea Party; and tensions between and among communities of color.  What’s our movement moment?  What skills and understandings do we need to meet it?

Panelists: Trishala Deb, Kenyon Farrow

Call into our conference call line (218) 936-7979 and enter pass code 5763551#.  Everyone will be automatically muted during the presentation.  If you would like to ask a question or make a comment during the discussion that follows, please hit *6 to un-mute yourself.

Aug 30 / Alfonso

FOUR BOLD CONVERSATIONS

SAVE THE DATES!

Four BOLD Conversations

                    About Movement Building

                                                           and Organizing

 

WHAT: In advance of the BOLD Gathering being held in Minneapolis December 2-4, 2011, we will be holding four teleconferences to begin exploring some of the themes that will emerge during the Gathering.

WHY:  This is an opportunity for us to develop some shared language and understanding in advance of the BOLD Gathering.  These teleconferences offer opportunities to hear from speakers within our communities, get to know each other, and start digging into the conversations we will be having together inMinneapolis in December.   

WHO: All members of the Racial Equity Initiative grantee organizations are invited to join these teleconferences.  We especially encourage members of your organization who will be attending the BOLD Gathering to be on these calls. 

WHEN: All of these hour-long teleconferences will be held at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT.

The facilitators of all four teleconferences are Amanda Haas of the Esperanza Center for Peace and Justice in San Antonio and Marcos Martinez of Entre Hermanos in Seattle.  

 

Here are descriptions of the four teleconferences:

Where We Are – Locating Ourselves within Movement(s)

Tuesday, September 13 at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT

Are we, as QTPOC, a strong arm of a bigger movement (such as the mainstream gay movement) or are we leading a movement of our own?  At our national BOLD Gathering, we will talk about movements and organizing and leadership as theUSpopulation changes to majority people of color.  How can we, as QTPOC people, affect the creation and direction of a movement that brings about the change for which we dream and work?  What do we need to know?

Panelists:  Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, Malachi Larrabee-Garza 

Call into our conference call line (218) 936-7979 and enter pass code 5763551#.  Everyone will be automatically muted during the presentation.  If you would like to ask a question or make a comment during the discussion that follows, please hit *6 to un-mute yourself. 

________________________________________________

What is this Movement Moment?

Tuesday, September 27 at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT

This moment we are in, when the world is undergoing great upheaval and change, offers great opportunities and challenges for us.  Some examples of opportunities are the fast ways to communicate and connect through technology; a US that will soon be majority people of color; an increased interest in queer relationships and their place in society; people rising up around the world to claim their freedom.  Some examples of challenges are the failed economy and the increase of unemployed and poor people; the attack on immigrants; the growth of the rightwing and the power it has found in the Tea Party; and tensions between and among communities of color.  What’s our movement moment?  What skills and understandings do we need to meet it?

Panelists: Trishala Deb, Kenyon Farrow

Call into our conference call line (218) 936-7979 and enter pass code 5763551#.  Everyone will be automatically muted during the presentation.  If you would like to ask a question or make a comment during the discussion that follows, please hit *6 to un-mute yourself. 

________________________________________________

An Organizing Model:  Spirituality and Healing

Tuesday, October 11 at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT 

Great numbers of QTPOC people have been injured by two of our most central institutions:  Family and Faith—two places where we have had perhaps the greatest expectation of being accepted and safe. In our individual lives, as well as in our organizations, many of us are struggling to heal these injuries, reclaim our spirituality, and work toward healthier communities.  In this conversation, we will discuss the ways organizing can incorporate healing and spiritual practices, from Two Spirit Indigenous practices, church-based queer organizing, traditional healing, and more. 

Panelists:  Cara Page, Mike Perez, Steven Barrios

Call into our conference call line (218) 936-7979 and enter pass code 5763551#.  Everyone will be automatically muted during the presentation.  If you would like to ask a question or make a comment during the discussion that follows, please hit *6 to un-mute yourself. 

________________________________________________

An Organizing Model:  Cultural Work and Organizing

Tuesday, October 25 at 4PM ET/ 3PM CT/ 2PM MT/ 1PM PT

Social Change requires changing hearts and minds, developing power, and taking action.  Cultural work, in all of its expressions, goes directly to hearts and minds—bringing the power of words, the visual intimacy of movies, the emotions of freedom and despair through movement, and the vitality of music. It reminds us of our history and culture, helps define and motivate us, and leads us toward wholeness.  Without the full integration of arts and culture in our work, our politics can be confined to the mind, without direct connection to the body and spirit, and all three are necessary for wholeness.  In this conversation we will discuss the critical importance of cultural work and how it can be made central to our movement work in both rural and urban communities. 

Panelists: Graciela Sánchez, Wendi O’Neal, Oskar Ly

Call into our conference call line (218) 936-7979 and enter pass code 5763551#.  Everyone will be automatically muted during the presentation.  If you would like to ask a question or make a comment during the discussion that follows, please hit *6 to un-mute yourself. 

 

Questions:  BOLDgathering2011@gmail.com