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Rising to Disability Justice

May 18 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


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Our justice work is incomplete if it isn’t accessible for all people. Even though most people, at some point in their lives, will become disabled, our communities continue to fail to provide even baseline accommodations for universal access. A solution to this problem cannot rely solely on the goodwill of individuals and organizations—we need deep, systemic changes to transform our culture. The past two years have clearly shown how swiftly we can change workplaces, schools, restaurants and public facilities when we want to. We cannot force our disabled siblings to keep waiting for change we need right now.

Jacqui Lewis will be joined by Talila A. Lewis. This conversation is part of the Freedom Rising Salons, a year-long conversation series that features thought leaders, organizers, artists and modern prophets reflecting on crucial justice issues, and what we all can do to rise and meet them.

Talila Lewis
Talila A. Lewis (no pronouns; please use name in place of pronouns) is an abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer who works to ground all social justice movements in disability justice. Lewis’ current work primarily focuses on helping people understand the inextricable links between ableism, racism, classism, and all forms of systemic oppression and structural inequity.

Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine’s Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Lewis co-founded and serves as director of HEARD (@behearddc), a cross-disability abolitionist organization. Lewis created the only national database of imprisoned deaf/blind people and works to abolish the medical-carceral industrial complex; correct and prevent wrongful convictions of deaf/disabled people; and support multiply-marginalized disabled people affected by all forms of incarceration.

Lewis, a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective and co-creator of the Disability Solidarity praxis, also serves as a consultant for dozens of social justice organizations and as an expert on legal cases involving disabled people. Lewis previously served as the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Lewis has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, the American Association for People with Disabilities, National Black Deaf Advocates, and the Nation Institute, among others. Lewis is a member of the inaugural cohorts for the Roddenberry Fellowship and the Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity.


May 18
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
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