Common misconceptions from appropriation of Disability Justice
Because of the misappropriation of it by White, Cis, Straight Disabled people, when people hear the words “Disability Justice” some assume I mean justice for only disabled people or Disabled-identifying people, who are mostly white or privileged in other ways. Physical access only, disability access only. Formal systems and service processes treat disability in a way that is informed by white supremacy and colonization. Some could be disabled and not know it for many reasons.
However, when people actually learn about what Disability Justice is, they should also think of White supremacy, ableism, all inaccessibility, racism, homophobia, transphobia, colonialism, intersecting oppressions; all of which are connected and rely on each other to continue. They should think of a commitment to land back, climate justice, reproductive justice, environmental justice, healing justice, racial justice, animal liberation, abolition, gender/queer justice, and other avenues for dismantling systems of oppression and investing in our people.
So, what is Disability Justice?
The disability justice movement-building framework is a critical response to “cliffhangers” of the disability rights movement; including (1) it has a single-issue identity of only focusing on disability in lieu of its intersections, (2) it lacks acknowledgement of white privilege that the most platformed and centered leaders hold whose experiences are most represented and considered, and finally, (3) it focused on mobility impairments and thus, issues relating exclusively to physical accessibility. The movement and framework of disability justice was created by those most targeted by interlocking systems of oppression to respond to criticisms of the disability rights movement. “At its core, the disability rights framework centers people who can achieve status, power and access through a legal or rights-based framework, which we know is not possible for many disabled people, or appropriate for all situations (Sins Invalid 2020).” There is a single-issue and single-identity nature of the disability rights movement, meaning power and privilege is often uncontended for those most centered in and protected by disability advocacy.
“While a concrete and radical move forward toward justice for disabled people, the Disability Rights Movement simultaneously invisibilized the lives of disabled people of color, immigrants with disabilities, disabled people who practice marginalized religions (in particular those experiencing the violence of anti-Islamic beliefs and actions), queers with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are houseless, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, people with disabilities who have had their ancestral lands stolen, amongst others (Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Our Movement is Our People, Sins Invalid 2019 p. 8-9 of plain text version).” Disability justice addresses inaccessibility and ableism in racial justice and other movements.
So, what is ableism?
Talila Lewis, Dustin Gibson, and other Black and otherwise negatively racialized disabled community members annually update a working definition of ableism, which for 2022 is defined as: “A system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, “health/wellness”, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, “excel” and “behave.” You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism (TL, Gibson, & community 2022).”
Disability Justice includes Racial Justice. Talila Lewis says, “The root of racism is ableism; and the root of ableism is anti-Blackness. Ableism & racism have always been inextricably linked. Each of these oppressions informs the other and depends on the other to survive and thrive. Therefore, it is impossible to end racism without ending ableism, and impossible to end ableism without ending racism. Ableism is also at the root of every other oppression (TL, 2019).”
Disability Justice has 10 principles
The 10 principles of disability justice, created by Sins invalid, include intersectionality, leadership of those most impacted, anti-capitalism, cross-movement organizing, recognizing wholeness, sustainability, cross-disability solidarity, interdependence, collective access, & collective liberation (Sins Invalid 2015). In-depth explanations of these principles can be found at TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples. In my work, I use the principles of Disability Justice to enhance my own quality of life, advance individual wellness for those I support, & strive towards social justice. These principles can be used to advance Racial Justice (Rebel Sidney Black 2022).
The present of Disability Justice
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Stacey Park Milbern dreamed of having a Disability Justice Audit for BIPOC-led organizations, which Leah made happen through the Northwest Health Foundation. In this audit, Leah lists the following issues as examples of the variety of what Disability Justice activists have organized around:
- “Police violence and murder of disabled and Deaf BIPOC, and prison justice for disabled and Deaf imprisoned BIPOC
- Medical abuse, denial of care and experimentation on disabled BIPOC communities, including fighting against “ICUgenics” and the denial of care and vaccines to disabled and chronically ill people during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Climate justice, surviving climate catastrophe and fighting for the rights of disabled, elder and medically vulnerable people to survive climate events, in and outside institutions
- Fighting immigrations laws like Trump’s public charge law that excludes disabled people from being able to migrate
- Fighting voter suppression of disabled people, particularly BIPOC
- Equal access to education for BIPOC disabled youth and adults, ending the special-ed-to-prison pipeline
- We are also a movement full of cultural workers, community builders and educators, expressing ourselves through art, performance, zines, online communities, clothing, writing, music, hiphop and many forms of storytelling and creation. The community building, friendships and networks of collective care we create are as much a part of our work as big public campaigns (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha 2022).”
The past of Disability Justice
Sins Invalid has a Disability Justice Timeline that people can add submissions to. “Disability justice history does not start in the 1980s when disability studies entered the academy. Crips have been resisting for hundreds of years. It is important to us to create public knowledge of the history of resistance of disabled people of color and queer and trans disabled people. This is a pushback against our historic erasure due to intersecting systems of oppression. It is a strange experience to be the deciders of what is important enough to be documented in a timeline of resistance. This is something that, historically, disabled people of color and queer and trans disabled people have not had the opportunity to do. Gathering these histories has not been an easy task, especially because so many of our stories have been lost due to our erasure. We decided to ask our community for help. We asked ‘what would you include in a timeline of disability justice?’ (Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Our Movement is Our People, Sins Invalid 2019 p. 66 of plain text version).”
Indigenous. Mexican. Iranian. Child of immigrants. Disabled. Neurodivergent. Mentally ill. Mad. Psychiatric survivor. Brown. Fat. Gender non-binary. Queer. Assigned Female at birth. Previously houseless. These make up the labels, social identities, intersections, identifiers, personal info, and experiences that I hold; take pride in; face stigma for; am oppressed in relation to; am inspired by; draw creative wisdom, resilience, and perseverance from; and all inform my racial, disability, and queer/gender justice; trauma-informed lens through which I work on macro-level issues towards equity, justice, & liberation.
People like me were historically killed; hidden by “ugly laws”; institutionalized; kept at home due to shame; and deemed unworthy of education, employment, health, independence, and a high quality of life. People like me are still more often killed, excluded, discriminated against, not chosen, deemed unworthy, deemed unintelligent, ostracized, gas-lit, abused, neglected, left, bullied, isolated, denied, rejected, and not taken seriously, believed, treated well, or represented. However, people like me are also resilient, wise, empathetic, diligent, passionate, and persevere. We know systems of oppression and its institutions best (i.e., institutionalization, incarceration, houselessness, foster care, poorness, violence, abuse, conservatorships, legally mandated care such as California’s new Care Court, discrimination in education and employment, and more).
The future of Disability Justice
Not only are we all deserving of being able to survive and thrive, but we are also all entitled to self-determination, respect, equity, justice, development, growth, healing, inspiration, care, radical love, pleasure, health, meaningful connection, wellness, and much more. What if we centered the wisdoms of those most marginalized by society and globally to creatively trouble-shoot and problem solve in accordance with environmental and climate justice, disability justice, racial justice, gender and queer justice, abolition, transformative and restorative justice, language justice, animal justice, fat justice, health justice, and other forms of liberation? Why would we even want to go through inaccessible systems to access services when those very services don’t account for people like us, and don’t account for the medical racism and medical gaslighting we experience?
I also believe the following is needed for the future. The disability community can and should center, resource, support, and promote people and issues related to those most marginalized, impacted by, and thus familiar with systems of oppression. Just as we did for this summit.
We need disability justice consultation and education for businesses, organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, groups, families, communities, and individuals. We need to increase prioritization of disability justice as a part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion(+) initiatives.
Let’s engage in cross-movement organizing to ensure collective liberation for all, including incarcerated bodyminds; undocumented immigrants; houseless neighbors; LGBTQ2SIA+ members; Black, Indigenous, and Multiracial People of Color; folks who undergo abortions; parents; students; older and younger individuals; animals; the environment; and more.
Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinh, Leah & Park Milbern, Stacey. (2022). Disability Justice: An Audit Tool. Northwest Health Foundation. Retrieved from NorthWestHealth.org/djaudittool.
Lewis, Talila. (2019). Longmore Lecture: Context, Clarity & Grounding. Retrieved from TalilaLewis.com/blog/longmore-lecture-context-clarity-grounding
Lewis, Talila; Gibson, Dustin; & Community. (2022). Working Definition of Ableism – 2022 Update. Retrieved from TalilaLewis.com/blog/working-definition-of-ableism-january-2022-update (shortened to bit.ly/ableism2022).
Sidney Fayola Black Burnett, Rebel. (2022). Using the 10 Principles of Disability Justice to Advance Racial Equity. Retrieved from RebelBlack.org/2022/09/10/using-the-10-principles-of-disability-justice-to-advance-racial-equity/
Sins Invalid. (2015). 10 Principles of Disability Justice. Retrieved from SinsInvalid.org/blog/10-principles-of-disability-justice (with in-depth explanations at TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).
Sins Invalid. (2019). Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Our Movement is Our People. A Disability Justice Primer (Second Edition). Buy at FlipCause.com/secure/reward_step2/OTMxNQ==/65827.
Sins Invalid. (2020). What is Disability Justice? Retrieved from SinsInvalid.org/news-1/2020/6/16/what-is-disability-justice.
Sins Invalid. (Living Document). Disability Justice Timeline. Retrieved from docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LuNX3cQDLo-4GUFBoAhM93_VsfgY4XzHkcA6NDWwyyI/htmlview. Submissions: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y8cRWMyw8ZH-6FZjGS7OjVYETb21_PvhjUD3YiGBxMo/htmlview.
Disability Justice Glossary & Plain Language Translation
All definitions that are not in quotations are Deanna’s original ideas for defining and explaining terms in plain language.
Appropriation: using something that isn’t yours to use
Misappropriation: misusing something that isn’t yours to use
Disability: “Disability is a word that links people of common overlapping related experiences of oppression based in navigating a world designed and defined by [nondisabled] people. This term has been reclaimed by people whose bodyminds have been medicalized and pathologized, working from an empowered perspective (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).” “Disability is more than the deficit of diagnosis. It is an aesthetic, a series of intersecting cultures, and a creative force (Alice Sheppard).” “When we think of disability, we include sick, mad/mentally ill, Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind, low vision/blind, neurodiverse [or neurodivergent], cognitively or developmentally disabled, or otherwise Chronically Ill people (Leaping Water Consulting).”
Cis: short for cis-gendered which means your gender is the same as the biological gender you were assigned when you were born based on anatomy
Oppression: harm or a way of harming someone, with power and privilege involved; ““when someone is treated badly because of who they are. We define harm as something that injures a person’s heart, mind, spirit, or body; offends a person’s culture; or threatens someone’s sense of safety (defined by Rebel Sidney Black).” “Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment, often based on identity factors including race, immigration status, gender, sexuality, age, class, or ability (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Systems of oppression: “Forms of discrimination and inequality that are backed by laws and policies and work together to compound negative impacts and make it difficult to fight back against them (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Colonization: “the action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area; the action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use (Oxford Languages).” Colonialism: “The formal process of an organized group or government taking land, resources, medicine, histories, and body- and land-autonomy away from the existing Indigenous peoples (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
White supremacy: “A system built on the belief that whiteness and white people are better than everyone else, and should dominate society. This belief system can show up in both subtle and extreme ways depending on context, and is perpetuated in both our actions and inactions when we don’t take time and care to challenge it (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Ableism: “A system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, ‘health/wellness’, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, ‘excel’ and ‘behave.’ You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism (TL, Gibson, & community 2022).”
Inaccessibility: When someone’s access needs are not able to be met. When there’s stairs and no ramp. “what a Deaf, Chronically Ill, or Disabled person needs so that they can do or learn the same things as a person without a disability (examples: wheelchair ramp, iPad, checklists, noise-canceling headphones, captions, moving around, taking a break, eating food, getting support; defined by Rebel Sidney Black).”
Racism: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized (Oxford Languages).”
Homophobia: “the fear, hatred, discomfort with, or mistrust of people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (Planned Parenthood).”
Transphobia: “Transphobia is a collection of ideas and phenomena that encompass a range of negative attitudes, feelings, or actions towards transgender people or transness in general. Transphobia can include fear, aversion, hatred, violence or anger towards people who do not conform to social gender expectations (Wikipedia).”
Intersecting/interlocking (systems of) oppression(s): when there are more than one “ism” or form of discrimination (bad, unequal treatment) present based on someone’s identity
Land back: “LANDBACK is a movement that has existed for generations with a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice to get Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous hands (LandBack.org – which has its manifesto and organizing principles).”
Climate justice: “a concept that addresses the just division, fair sharing, and equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of climate change and responsibilities to deal with climate change (Wikipedia).” “Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution (GreenAmerica.org/divided-we-fall/how-environmental-justice-can-work-everyone).”
Reproductive justice: “SisterSong defines [it] as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. It is a term that links reproductive rights and social justice, coined by Loretta Ross of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective (SisterSong.net/reproductive-justice).” Reproductive Justice Is Disability Justice in ASL by Sins Invalid: YouTube.com/watch?v=gxezHaP2CU0; “Reproductive Justice addresses the ways race, gender, class, ability, and sexuality intersect and impact reproductive health and the options available (Skin, Tooth, & Bones, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Environmental justice: the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies (Gov. Code, § 65040.12, subd.; oag.ca.gov).” “a social movement to address the unfair exposure of poor and marginalized communities to harms associated with resource extraction, hazardous waste, and other land uses (Wikipedia).” “The struggle to protect the natural world, with specific attention to the perspectives of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, who often live, work and play closest to the sources of pollution (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Healing justice: “According to Cara Page (AstraeaFoundation.org/team/cara-page/), [it] is a framework that identifies how we can holistically respond to and intervene on generational trauma and violence to bring collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression on our bodies, hearts and minds … we continue to build political and philosophical convergences of healing inside of liberation movements and organizations … we all deserve to heal on our terms and we confront oppressive systems that get in our way. We honor the trauma and resilience of generations that came before us and use interactive, daily practices that anyone can do. Healing Justice is a reminder to social movements that the concept of action should be expanded to support the self-determination, interdependence, resilience & resistance of those most impacted by oppression. Healing Justice is revolutionary in confronting the capitalist, colonial, individualistic paradigms that tell us we are alone when we seek out healing. – Young Women’s Empowerment Project and the Chicago Healing Justice Learning Circle (TransformHarm.org/category/healing-justice/).”
Racial justice: justice and fairness for Black, brown, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, and other people of color, people of the global majority, non-white people
Animal liberation: the movement for treating animals well and ensuring they are free from harm, abuse, domestication, killing, cruelty, testing, and more
Abolition: the movement or belief that harmful systems should be abolished or done away with (often for prisons, mental health treatments)
Queer: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Asexual, and more; being homosexual (loving or being sexually attracted to people with the same gender as yours if your gender identity now matches what it was assigned at birth for both you and the other person) or otherwise not heterosexual (man and woman); in other words, sexually attracted to, interested in, or loving someone whose gender isn’t the opposite of yours when your gender is what it was assigned at birth, or not being interested in or sexually attracted to anyone; “an umbrella term used by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or other sexual or gender minorities to describe themselves; the term has been reclaimed from people who would use it as an insult against LGBT+ people (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Gender non-conforming: “Behavior or appearance that does not conform to dominant cultural and social ideas about what is appropriate to a person’s gender (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Trans/transgender: “A person whose gender does not correspond with the sex they were coercively assigned at birth (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Dismantling: breaking / tearing down
Critical/critique: to evaluate or analyze something; to (or to be in a state of) find(ing) things wrong with something or that you’d like to change
Cliffhanger: in this context, symbolism for a place where something was left off, usually excitingly to make you look forward to the continuation
Movement-building: “Movement building means coming together to advocate for a common cause (defined by Rebel Sidney Black).”
Radical: “Relating to or impacting the fundamental nature of something; getting to the root (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Rights-based framework: “A system for working on issues that centers around trying to obtain certain rights or guarantees from existing power structures (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
In lieu of: instead of / without
Intersectionality/intersecting/intersections: “Simply put, this principle says that we are many things, and they all impact us. We are not only disabled, we are also each coming from a specific experience of race, class, sexuality, age, religious background, geographical location, immigration status, and more. Depending on context, we all have areas where we experience privilege, as well as areas of oppression. The term “intersectionality” was first introduced by feminist theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe the experiences of Black women, who experience both racism and sexism in specific ways. We gratefully embrace the nuance that this principle brings to our lived experiences, and the ways it shapes the perspectives we offer (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Disability Rights Movement: “a global social movement that seeks to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for all disabled people (Wikipedia).”
Centered: focused on
White privilege: the way that life is easier for white people in history and now due to racism, colonization, colorism, and other oppressions
Privilege: “When a person benefits from systemic power. Privilege does not mean a person has never had anything bad happen to them. It means that their culture, food, language, history, hairstyles, gender, sexuality, and more are considered ‘normal.’ It means that there has only been 1 Black president in the history of the USA (defined by Rebel Sidney Black).” “Special rights and advantages available only to certain people or groups (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Platformed: given attention and an audience, popular and listened to, noticed
Mobility impairments: “Variations in ability to walk, move, or navigate spaces physically. People with mobility impairments may use assistive devices including wheelchairs, prosthetics, canes, walkers, transfer benches and lifts (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Targeted: “marginalized / pushed to the sized / tokenized / uncomfortably centered (defined by Rebel Sidney Black).”
Framework: “The supporting structure for a building or object; can also refer to the structure used to create an idea (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Power: “(systemic) power is when a person’s … identity group as a whole has access to and influence over institutions and the way things are structured to be seen as normal. Examples: Worldviews, Culture, Education, Healthcare, Housing, Mortgages, Military, Immigration, Affirmative Action, etc. Our society has been made for people who have systemic power: First, these were white land owning men only, then gradually other groups were assimilated into whiteness. Today, many groups are still excluded, such as Black, Indigenous, Multiracial, and other People of Color (defined by Rebel Sidney Black).”
Uncontended: not wrestled with / not thought through / uncritically or passively accepted
Simultaneously invisibilized: at the same time “Having been made invisible; having erased the voices, perspectives, and contributions of certain people (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Marginalized: excluded from society and put at disadvantages, discriminated against / treated differently and poorly; “A person or group who is treated as unimportant or outside the range of normal perspective or experience (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Incarcerated or institutionalized: in jail or a psychiatric hospital against their will / not by their own decision; “Imprisoned or confined, whether in jails, prisons, detention centers, ICE facilities, mental hospitals or nursing homes (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Normalcy: how much you are thought of as normal, average, typical and not different / unique
Productivity: how much you are able to get done, often requiring focus
Desirability: how much you are desired or wanted and valued
Intelligence: how “smart” you are, historically tested, assessed, and measured in biased ways against Black people
Excellence: how “good” you are
Fitness: how athletic you are, or how well you fit in and can survive
Constructed: created; “A social construct is a concept that exists not in objective reality, but as a result of human interaction. It exists because humans agree that it exists (VeryWellMind.com/definition-of-social-construct-1448922).”
Deeply rooted: based in / inspired by / a product of / originated from
Eugenics: the systematic preventing, killing, and dying off of disabled and other people deemed unworthy of life, e.g., choosing to have an abortion based on a pregnancy screening showing Down Syndrome; “the study of how to arrange reproduction within a human population to increase the occurrence of heritable characteristics regarded as desirable. Developed largely by Sir Francis Galton as a method of improving the human race, eugenics was increasingly discredited as unscientific and racially biased during the 20th century, especially after the adoption of its doctrines by the Nazis in order to justify their treatment of Jews, disabled people, and other minority groups (Oxford Languages).” “The practice of controlling a population by deciding who is born, who is able to have kids, who is given healthcare, and who is allowed or encouraged to die, in order to create a specific ‘desirable’ population. Eugenics can include genetic engineering, forced sterilization and birth control, assisted suicide, and other mechanisms through which people in power get to decide who is worth exising (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Anti-Blackness: against Black people, thought, and culture; often referring to a specific type of racism
Misogyny: “dislike of or prejudice against women (Oxford Languages).”
Imperialism: “a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through diplomacy or military force (Oxford Languages).” “A policy or practice of extending the power of a nation over other lands and peoples, through colonization or by gaining control over the political or economic life of another area; the extension or imposition of power, authority or influence (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Capitalism: “An economic system in which certain people or companies own the majority of the wealth and resources, and are able to make decisions that impact those who need money, food, shelter, etc. In capitalism, the world is divided into two categories: those who have things/ those who want things; those who sell things/ those who buy things. One common feature of capitalism is a high level of competition; the idea that there isn’t enough to go around and that you have to fight to get what you need, by being better/faster/smarter/stronger than other people (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Determine/determination/determining: choose/choice/choosing or decide/decision/deciding
Appearance: how you look
“Health/wellness”: a critique on being healthy, which is often ableist because it is thought of as (being a good thing, and) the opposite of being disabled (often thought of as a bad thing to be)
Satisfactorily re/produce: creating well (producing) and have children (reproducing)
“Excel”: a critique of doing well or being successful, passing the average person in a goal, social standards for what it looks like to do well
“Behave”: a critique on how you act, like doing a “good job”
Inextricably linked: connected in a way that cannot be separated
Impacted: in this context, affected by oppression and harm, being targeted by racism, ableism, and other “ism”s or oppressions
Organizing: advocating and being an activist
Wholeness: being a full person and being enough as you are no matter what; “Each person is full of history and life experience. Each person has an internal experience composed of our own thoughts, sensations, emotions, sexual fantasies, perceptions, and quirks. Disabled people are whole people (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Sustainability: “We learn to pace ourselves, individually and collectively, to be sustained long-term. We value the teachings of our bodies and experiences, and use them as a critical guide and reference point to help us move away from urgency and into a deep, slow, transformative, unstoppable wave of justice and liberation (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Solidarity: “Unity and mutual support amongst those who have common interests (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Interdependence: “Before the massive colonial project of Western European expansion, we understood the nature of interdependence within our communities. We see the liberation of all living systems and the land as integral to the liberation of our own communities, as we all share one planet. We work to meet each other’s needs as we build toward liberation, without always reaching for state solutions which inevitably extend state control further into our lives (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Collective: everyone’s put together
Liberation: freedom / being liberated is being free
BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color
Indigenous: “Being of, arising from, or having ancestors who have always lived in a specific place; native (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
The academy: colleges and universities; academia; higher education study
Crips: reclaimed slang referring to (often only used among) Disabled people
Resistance: pushing back against something
Community: a group of people, either with similarities like the same social identity or interests, or the same neighborhood or local geographic location
Immigrants: people who have moved away from where they were born, usually in referring to people moving to another country
Psychiatric survivor: “People who have either willingly or nonconsensually been committed to mental hospitals, been medicated for mental health reasons, or experienced other types of psychiatric intervention (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).” “The psychiatric user/survivor movement evolved out of the larger mental patient’s liberation movement and emphasized its strong opposition to human rights violations … [and they often believe their] treatment was more harmful than helpful (MadInAmerica.com/2021/09/mad-activists-langauge/).”
Neurodivergent: “variations [from what is considered “typical”] in the human brain and cognition, for instance in sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions (Wikipedia).” “Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. Neurodivergent people experience, interact with, and interpret the world in unique ways. This concept can help reduce stigma around learning and thinking differences (understood.org/en/articles/neurodiversity-what-you-need-to-know).”
Mad: mentally ill, a reference to the Mad Pride movement dealing with issues like forced treatment and medication or stigma, and reclamation and undermining of the negative use of “mad” which is another version of “crazy”, “Mad Pride is a mass movement of the users of mental health services, former users, and the aligned, which advocates that individuals with mental illness should be proud of their ‘mad’ identity (Wikipedia).”
Non-binary: “In the context of gender, non-binary describes the experience of not being confined to a choice between two opposite (binary) genders (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Trouble-shoot: problem solving or fixing with trial and error
Gender and queer justice: justice for queer people, justice for people who are not cisgender men
Transformative justice: “a series of practices and philosophies designed to create change in social systems. Mostly, they are alternatives to criminal justice in cases of interpersonal violence, or are used for dealing with socioeconomic issues in societies transitioning away from conflict or repression (Wikipedia).” “a political framework and approach for responding to violence, harm and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence. TJ can be thought of as a way of ‘making things right,’ getting in ‘right relation,’ or creating justice together. Transformative justice responses and interventions 1) do not rely on the state (e.g. police, prisons, the criminal legal system, I.C.E., foster care system (though some TJ responses do rely on or incorporate social services like counseling); 2) do not reinforce or perpetuate violence such as oppressive norms or vigilantism; and most importantly, 3) actively cultivate the things we know prevent violence such as healing, accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved (Mia Mingus, TransformHarm.org/transformative-justice-a-brief-description/).” “A strategy for responding to conflict without involving the criminal justice system. Transformative justice looks for root causes of social problems and seeks to address those rather than relying on punishment to control populations (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Restorative justice: “an approach to justice where one of the responses to a crime is to organize a meeting between the victim and the offender, sometimes with representatives of the wider community (Wikipedia).”
Language justice: “In a legal context, language justice is a commitment to ensuring individuals marginalized based on their national origin, ethnic identification, and language are not denied equal access to services, remedies, and justice overall (AmericanBar.org/groups/young_lawyers/projects/disaster-legal-services/language-justice-during-covid-19/).” Language Justice Is Disability Justice in ASL by Sins Invalid: YouTube.com/watch?v=JTDLjQo6R5o
Animal justice: movement for animal rights and freedom from cruelty
Fat justice: movement for justice for fat folks, including fat acceptance and fat liberation; fighting against “the oppression of fat bodies and fat people through medical, social, governmental and economic systems (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Health justice: “more than just creating health equity, it’s recognizing the barriers that stand in the way of access to healthcare and working to remove them. To identify these barriers, we study social determinants of health, or SDOH, which are non-medical factors that influence health. Things like economic status, housing, transportation, and education all have an impact on a person’s ability to access healthcare, purchase healthy foods, and care for oneself (HeyJane.co/articles/what-is-health-justice).”
Medical gaslighting: dismissal and criticism of a patient’s symptoms by medical providers
Wisdom: knowledge usually acquired over time or with lived experience
Resilience / perseverance: not giving up, to keep going
Trauma-informed: “having a basic understanding of trauma and its impact, and how it contributes to interactions between people, and accommodating people based on their trauma (William Rain-Shadid)”
Macro-level: large-scale problems, systems of oppression, big picture issues impacting many people, not on an individual and group level
Conservatorships: being legally under someone’s control and responsibility, like a child would be under their legal guardian(s) until the age of 18
Ostracized: discriminated against, usually on the basis of an identity, treated poorly, left out
Isolated: left alone or separate for a long time, often not by choice
Rejected: not chosen or accepted
Stigma: bad reputation based on negative social attitudes resulting in negative consequences surrounding an issue, topic, or identity
Entitled: in this context, being deserving of something unconditionally or inherently
Self-determination: the ability to make choices for oneself; idea you can set goals and control your own future; part of the independent living movement
Radical love: Radical love to me means acceptance of ourselves and each other genuinely and fully as we are. Fromm (2000) defines radical love as “the combination of respect, responsibility, knowledge and care.”
Consultation: “picking someone’s brain” so-to-speak (usually experts) on something they are familiar with and passionate about
Initiatives: focused projects
Cross-movement organizing: “Disability justice can only grow into its potential as a movement by aligning itself with racial justice, reproductive justice, queer and trans liberation, prison abolition, environmental justice, anti-police terror, Deaf activism, fat liberation, and other movements working for justice and liberation. This means challenging white disability communities around racism and challenging other movements to confront ableism. Through cross-movement solidarity, we create a united front (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Collective liberation: “We move together as people with mixed abilities, multiracial, multi-gendered, mixed class, across the sexual spectrum, with a vision that leaves no bodymind behind (Sins Invalid, TinyUrl.com/10DJPrinciples).”
Abortion: a legal and safe way to end a pregnancy (Planned Parenthood)
Bodymind: “The relationship between the human body and mind as a single integrated entity. This term is used instead of saying “body and mind” to affirm the reality that our minds and bodies cannot be separated (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”
Equity: “Giving everyone what they need in order to have equal opportunities. This might mean some people are given more than others in certain situations, in order to make things more fair (Skin, Tooth, & Bone, Sins Invalid, Glossary).”