RACE + DISABILITY recordings of past programs

FISA Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation are partnering to strengthening our work at the intersection of race and disability, and to better address the needs of people of color with disabilities.

We hosted a series of webinars between March-June, 2021 and the recordings and materials are posted below.

Panel discussion: RACE + DISABILITY

Local advocates speak about the barriers and discrimination encountered by people of color with disabilities.  Panelists include:

  • Paula Davis, Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
  • Jamie Upshaw, Executive Director, Autism Urban Connections
  • Tiffany Sizemore, Esq., Director, Youth Advocacy Clinic at Duquesne University
  • Aurelia Carter, Executive Director, Multicultural Disability Leadership Center
  • Chaz Kellem, Director, PittServes



Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities

Description: In schools across the United States, Black students and other student of color are being harshly punished, arrested and issued citations at school for behavior that is not very different from white students. Students with disabilities are being excluded from the classroom through suspensions and expulsions and referred to the police for manifestations of their disabilities. And students of color who have disabilities experience compounded harms of racism and ableism in schools.

  • Students with disabilities are referred to juvenile justice at rates 5 times higher than students without disabilities.
  • Pennsylvania has the 2nd highest arrest rate in the country for Black students.
  • 45% of Black boys and 26% of Black girls that Pittsburgh Public School Police refer to juvenile justice have disabilities.

Most of the infractions that result in criminal charges are minor and do not threaten school safety: being “disruptive,” using “offensive” language, arguments where no one is injured. These patterns of over-policing further the myth that students of color engage in actions that are more dangerous than their white peers, which is unsupported by data. When police become involved in non-criminal disciplinary matters, the consequences for students, particularly students of color and those with disabilities can be profound and long-lasting.

Materials from the session:

View the recording:

School-to-Prison Pipeline: Examining the Role of Police in Schools and the Impacts of Policing on Students of Color and Students with Disabilities.

Recording coming soon!

School to prison pipeline: Examining the role of police in schools and impact on students of color and students with disabilities

Nationally and locally, Black students and other students of color are being harshly punished, arrested and issued citations at school for behavior that is not very different from white students. Students with disabilities are being excluded from the classroom through suspensions and expulsions and referred to the police for manifestations of their disabilities. Arrest rates for Allegheny County public school students are more than double the state average and 3.5 times the rate of Philadelphia. This session will share new local data on disparities in school arrests by race, gender and disability status. Presenters will explore the consequences for students when police become involved in non-criminal disciplinary matters and discuss the steps school administrators can take to better define the role of police and to limit police involvement to criminal matters.

Sizemore slides about Police in schools 10.5.21

Fostering Cultural Humility in Disability Services

Description: This workshop provided tools and strategies to increase multicultural awareness, knowledge, and the skills necessary to effectively work with and relate to ethnically and culturally diverse clients receiving disability services. Topics covered include intersectionality, disability justice and advocacy, implicit bias, cross-cultural communication, and microaggressions. Cultural Humility was introduced as a process to help build authentic cross-cultural relationships and will provide a culturally relevant strategic approach to reducing disparities. Presented by Dr. Channing Moreland, Director of the Wellness Pavilion at the University of Pittsburgh Community Engagement Center in Homewood.

You can access the slides here: Fostering Cultural Humility Workshop 04 07 2021

View the recording:


Inside-out work: Embedding racial equity in organizational culture

In recent years, many organizations have expressed a commitment to racial equity and justice and taken important first steps.  Truly integrating this commitment into the fabric of a nonprofit’s mission takes leadership, intentionality, and tangible, practical work. The journey requires authenticity, vulnerability, and a willingness to make mistakes, learn and do better. Please join us for this conversation between Michelle McMurray, Vice President of Program and Community Engagement at The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Tricia Gadson, CEO of Macedonia FACE, about what it takes to embed equity into organizational culture.  Speakers will share progress that organizations have made in this area and note challenges associated with this work.

View the recording:

Meeting the Needs of Human Trafficking Victims with Disabilities

People with disabilities (including autism and intellectual disabilities) are at high risk for both sex and labor trafficking, with many cases including an element that is unique to people with disabilities: traffickers stealing their government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. This session will explore the issues facing victims of trafficking who have disabilities, including the unique ways they are trafficked and implications for service providers.

Materials from the session:

From Classroom to Dorm Room: Serving Survivors with Disabilities on Campus

Recording coming soon!

Undergraduate students who have disabilities are nearly twice as likely as those without to report sexual violence. However, survivors with disabilities have been historically excluded by campus programs designed to prevent abuse and support survivors. This session will provide an overview on the barriers that student survivors with disabilities face in seeking out and receiving services on campus as well as solutions that educational institutions can implement to meet the needs of all students who experience sexual assault.


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