Black History Month is here and with it, comes further realizations that a distinct population within the disability is being neglected: Black Disabled People. On my podcast this month I've had the distinct honor of sitting down with renowned poet, hip hop artist and advocate who fathered Krip Hop Nation, Leroy Moore, Jr. Through his lens, I was able to see how frustrating and dehumanizing it is to not be fully accepted by your community; you're either Black or Disabled, you can't be both, was the unspoken message Leroy heard and experienced time and time again. This should serve as a reminder that once again, your activism isn't as far reaching as you might think if you aren't actively ensuring that underrepresented disabled voices are able to speak alongside you. Leroy will be hosting a variety of workshops this month, including one on Hip Hop and Ableism, which streamed on February 20th.
February also brings notions and sentiments of love that accompany the Hallmark holiday, Valentine's Day. We thought what better way to scratch the surface of relationships in the disability community than talking to our 2011 Ms. Wheelchair Michigan Sister, Sharina Jones who is happily married with a five-year-old. But boy, our conversation ran the gambit of topics, covering her tremendous foundation, "Think Beyond the Chair" this self-proclaimed "Push Goddess" is breaking barriers for disabled people around the world. We hope that, pandemic willing, MWCA Leadership Institute and Sharina will be able to link up in the near future to help continue giving the power of mobility to the disability community around the globe.
I continue to keep my finger on the pulse of the pandemic and the vaccination rollout. It is unconscionable to have a policy in place that doesn't prioritize those most vulnerable to the devastation of the virus. Thankfully, it seems that many counties, including mine, aren't heeding the state guidelines that eliminated people with disabilities ages 16-64 from the class 1C tier. However, this cannot be fully
accepted as a "win" until all those at risk in the disability community are recognized and given priority access to the vaccine.
Looking forward to the coming months as I work to increase the disability presence in global conversations of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We must remember to put disability back in diversity.