Why focus on the intersection of race and disability?

Disability is a common human experience, 20% of Americans have some type of disability.  Many disabilities are hidden (such as mental health, intellectual disabilities, autism, chronic illness, traumatic brain injury…).  And many people acquire disabilities at some point in their lives through accident, illness or aging.  Every organization and group includes people with disabilities.

Dr. Kimberle Crenshaw coined the term “Intersectionality” to describe the experience of living with multiple identities (gender, race, culture, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, etc).  We recognize that while there has been more conversation about some intersections (like race and gender) there have been other experiences that are often overlooked, even in conversations about equity (such as the experience of people of color who have disabilities).  There is a growing body of research illustrating specific disadvantages experienced by people of color with disabilities.  This video features local people of color sharing about their experiences with the disability community.


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’re excited to invite you to learn along with us in these upcoming free programs!

Fostering Cultural Humility in Disability Services

Fostering Cultural Humility in Disability Services, webinar, April 7, 2021


This webinar occurred on April 7, 2021, 2-3:30 ET


Description: This workshop is designed to provide 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 will be 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
The session was recorded and the recording will be posted here, as soon as it is captioned.

Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities on Jun8 8, 2021, 2-3:30PM ETDismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color and Students with Disabilities

June 8, 2-3:30pm ET

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.  REGISTER!

Peer exchange: Nonprofit leaders share lessons learned in addressing racial equity in their work – Details coming soon!

NOTE: Not part of this series, but possibly of interest —  9th annual Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Symposium: THE YOUTH DISABILITY EXPERIENCE

April 15, 2021

Featuring Grand Rounds with Alice Wong, Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project.  More details available here.

Hope to see you there!

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