RACE + DISABILITY upcoming programs

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.

Below you’ll find some introductory programming, “deep dive” topics, and opportunities to connect with peers in discussion.  NOTE: These sessions are organized thematically and not by date.  

Race, Disability, Organizational Culture, and Social Change: Promising Practices from Centers for Independent Living

Race, Disability, Organizational Culture and Social Change: Best Practices from Centers for Independent Living. Webinar on October 28, 2021, 2-3:30pm ET. Part of the Race and Disability seriesThu, Oct 28, 2021 2:00 -3:30 pm ET

Historically, disability services were designed to accommodate a singular identity: person with a disability; all other aspects of an individual’s experience were considered secondary. But structuring services that ignore the lived experience of racism has created and exacerbated inequities within disability services. Treating disability as race-neutral has also created unwelcoming and sometimes unsafe working conditions for people of color with disabilities who are on staff.

This session will explore promising practices in cultivating a welcoming and equitable culture, designed to include people of color with disabilities who are both consumers of services and staff offering support. Presenters represent various Centers for Independent Living. All panelists are multiply marginalized people with disabilities who are recognized for their efforts to advocate for equity in both the provision of supports and the leadership of staff.


Race + Disability Check-In: Cultivating Strategic Partnerships

Race + Disability Check in: Cultivating Strategic Partnerships on November 1 noon-1:30pmMonday, November 1, 2021; 12:00 – 1:30 PM ET

Creating a world free of ableism and racism is collaborative work, but how are strategic partnerships formed and maintained? In this interactive lunchtime conversation, you’ll be able to exchange ideas with your peers and ask questions related to the challenges of building strategic partnerships. We will discuss approaches to forming these relationships as well as cultivating skills to help your existing partnerships deepen. By talking with and hearing from peers, you will not only be able to expand your network but you will also fine-tune your skills as a partner and collaborator.


Transformative Justice in the Lives of Survivors with Disabilities

Transformative Justice in the Lives of Survivors with Disabilities, background is a sketch of a crowd of people of various ages, genders and disabilitiesNovember 18, 2-3:30ET 

With high rates of victimization and incarceration, people with disabilities have an elevated likelihood of having contact with the criminal legal system. This contact can be deadly, with 50% of people killed by police in the United States having a disability. This long history of being harmed by the state-sponsored justice system has led people with disabilities, and specifically people of color with disabilities, to seek alternative ways to heal and promote accountability. Transformative Justice (TJ) was created by and for people from marginalized communities to respond to violence when calling the police may not be a viable or safe option.


Race + Disability: The Student Experience of School Policing

December 1, 2021; 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST

When police are present in schools, what are the consequences for students of color and students with disabilities? This webinar will focus on the experience of students who are disproportionately impacted by school policing and the external efforts to elevate their experiences. Dr. Claire Cohen, who has practiced child and adolescent psychiatry in Pittsburgh for over 30 years, will discuss the psychiatric trauma that students of color face when police are present in schools. West Resendes, from the American Civil Liberties Union, will showcase the Disability Rights project, which aims to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and advocates for additional school-based support.


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