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Law, Politics, Ethics, Philosophy, Disability Culture, Disability Rights, Criticism, Race, LGBQT, Disability Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex. Currently, Lydia is a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, working on defending and advancing the educational civil rights of Maryland students with psychosocial, intellectual, and developmental disabilities facing various forms of disproportionate discipline, restraint and seclusion, and school pushout. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, Lydia is also co-editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color and otherwise negatively racialized autistic people, published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. Lydia and Morénike also co-direct the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides direct support, mutual aid, and community reparations to individual autistic people of color. Lydia is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Services. Lydia recently completed a term as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, serving in that role from 2015 to 2017 as the youngest appointee nationally to chair any state developmental disabilities council. They also designed and taught a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements as a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College. Previously, Lydia served as TASH New England’s co-president and its stakeholder representative to the Massachusetts One Care Implementation Council overseeing health care for people who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. They were formerly staff at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network for several years, working on programs and policy matters. They have also been a Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and a Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. Lydia has been honored by the White House, Washington Peace Center, National Council on Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts, National Association for Law Placement/Public Service Jobs Directory, Society for Disability Studies, and American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2015, Pacific Standard named Lydia a Top 30 Thinker under 30, and Mic named Lydia to its inaugural list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. Their work has been featured in scholarly publications including Disability Studies Quarterly; Addressing Ableism: Philosophical Questions via Disability Studies; Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence; Barriers & Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability; Feminist Perspectives on Orange is the New Black; Torture in Healthcare Settings; and Films for the Feminist Classroom; and community publications including The Asian American Literary Review; All In Your Head Zine: To The Bone; QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology; Criptiques; Disability Intersections; Black Girl Dangerous; hardboiled magazine; POOR Magazine; and NOS Magazine. Lydia recently graduated from Northeastern University School of Law as a Public Interest Law Scholar. While at Northeastern, they served as an active member of the Committee Against Institutional Racism (representing the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association), the Transgender Justice Task Force, and the Faculty Appointments Committee, and are a founding core collective member of the Disability Justice Caucus. Earlier, while at Georgetown University, Lydia co-founded the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective for intersectional disability justice organizing, led multiple campaigns to reform university policies on disability access that led to creation of a dedicated pool of funding for sign language interpretation and real-time captioning as well as an access coordinator position responsible for public and non-academic programming, single-handedly founded and coordinated the first Lecture and Performance Series on Disability Justice, served two terms as Undersecretary for Disability Affairs with the Georgetown University Students Association, spurred the university to convene a Disability Justice Working Group, provided training to numerous student groups and university departments and offices, and served on the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities’ consumer advisory council. They have served on advisory boards to a number of research projects, including the National Center for Cultural Competence’s Embedding Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence: A Guide for UCEDD Curricula and Training Activities Project; a postdoctoral Advanced Rehabilitation and Research Training Program on Health and Functioning of People with Disabilities hosted at Brandeis University’s Lurie Institute for Disability Policy within the Heller School for Social Policy and Management; and Drexel University’s Ethical Autism Research Cultures and Community Engagement project. They have also served as peer reviewer for Journal of Homosexuality, Autism in Adulthood, and Disability Studies Quarterly.
Media, Pop Culture, Medicine, Film, Television, Politics, Accessibility, Feminism Jenn Heater is a sometime government affairs professional who is currently learning how to take time to focus on her health. She is the Resources and Advocacy Editor for My Chronic Brain (—a magazine dedicated to enriching your the lives of those living with Chronic Migraine-and is a vocal patient advocate. With her Yorkie Gracie by her side, she is finding new ways to fill her days and reinvent herself. Jenn enjoys finding humor in the inanities of being chronically ill battling Cushing’s disease, CRPS, trigeminal neuralgia, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Migraine and more. Blogs, pictures and more Contact Jenn: Talesofamedicaloddity at
Media, Pop Culture, Books, Television, Theatre, Fiction, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Feminism, Disability, Relationships Angela is The Sunday Times bestselling author of On My Life, and the Social Media Murder Series, including Follow Me, Watch Me, and Trust Me. Her latest novel, On My Life, is out now.Follow Me was named Amazon’s Rising Star Debut of the Month January 2016, long listed for the Crime Writer’s Association Dagger in the Library 2016, and short listed for the Dead Good Page Turner Award 2016. Follow Me has been optioned by a TV production company. Angela’s humorous memoir Confessions of a Fashionista is an Amazon Fashion Chart bestseller. The horror screenplay, Lure, which Angela co-wrote with Cal Moriarty, under the name Clark Moriarty won the First Scene Screenplay Festival 2017, placed third in the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival 2017 and is a quarterfinalist in the First Blood Screenwriting Contest. Her play, The Legacy, enjoyed a sell-out run at The Hope Theatre in June 2015. Angela featured on CBS Reality’s real life crime series Written in Blood, appeared on the BBC Ouch’s Edinburgh Festival Stage in Tales of The Misunderstood, The Guilty Feminist Podcast (on tour at Warwick Arts Centre). She hosted the book show Tales From Your Life on BBC 3 Counties in 2017, and currently hosts the Three Books show on Womens’ Radio Station. Angela also features regularly as a panel guest on BBC 3 Counties, BBC Radio 4, and the BBC World Service, among others. Angela has given talks and masterclasses for many, including City University’s Crime Writing MA, Noirwich Crime Writing Festival, Camp Bestival, Panic! (in partnership with Create, the Barbican, Goldsmiths University and The Guardian), Meet a Mentor (in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts), Northwich Lit Fest, St Albans Lit Fest, BeaconLit, and the London College of Fashion. In 2015 Angela was awarded the Young Stationers' Prize for achievement and promise in writing and publishing. Angela, a sufferer of the debilitating chronic condition Ehlers Danlos III, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, volunteers with Womentoring, Meet a Mentor and at HM Prisons. She is passionate about bringing marginalised voices into the creative industries.
Media, Sciences, Books, Fiction, Politics, Ethics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, History, Criticism, Feminism, LGBQT, Disability, Technology Nicola Griffith is a multiple award-winning novelist, essayist, narrator, interviewer, and cultural activist in Seattle, WA. Founder and copartner of #CripLit. Dual US/UK citizen with multiple sclerosis and a PhD. Specializes in: 1. Public speaking 2. Public interviews with authors 3. Exploration of narrative and narrative empathy, with consequences for historicity and gender discourse 4. Linking data to opinion 5. Tracing of intersectional construction of oppressive structures Married to novelist and screenwriter writer Kelley Eskridge.
Media, Books, Film, Television, Theatre, Poetry, Fiction, Art, Dance, Music, Politics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Criticism, Feminism, LGBQT, Disability, Sexuality Sandra is a writer, filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist. She recently completed a four-part series on criticism of D/deaf and disabled arts, 'Quality' and the Marginalised Artist (Disability Arts Online). Sandra is co-editor, with Khairani Barokka and Daniel Sluman, of the anthology Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches, UK, 2017). She has published widely, including three books of poetry in Toronto. Recent short story commissions include several anthologies from Manchester's Comma Press, and British Council's Discover Project. Sandra's live short story with film, Equivalence, was featured on the big screen/stage at Edinburgh Filmhouse in 2017 and Barbican (Transpose) in 2016. Besides publishing stories and poetry, Sandra directs short DIY documentaries and experimental poetry films. In 2016-17, she was commissioned to co-create five new short docs and a curated playlist as part of Disability Arts Online's Viewfinder project, in collaboration with Lisa Mattocks and SICK! Festival. She also co-made four short films (three in BSL) with Ania Urbanowska. Sandra curates events, including Scotland's accessible queer and trans arts project, Cachín Cachán Cachunga! Most recently, she has programmed widely-accessible film screenings featuring LGBTQ+ disabled and D/deaf filmmakers and performers at Glasgow Short Film Festival (with Oska Bright's Matthew Hellett), BFI Flare and Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Sciences, Poetry, Ethics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Education, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Religion, LGBQT, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality I am a 27-year-old native Brooklynite currently living in Denver, CO and learning what it means to move through the world within multiple identities. As a former English major and current social work student, I am currently exploring ways to bridge those paths. In April 2018, I completed a year-long certificate program in Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy (IFOT), which is a modality of complex trauma therapy rooted in indigenous knowledge and practice. My areas of interest and experience are many, and they include: complex trauma, chronic illness, ableism, spiritual abuse, family dynamics, developmental psychology, social work education and employment, trauma-informed care, radical empathy, creativity, movement, somatic therapy, healthcare, self-care, and advocacy in these areas. I have three poems forthcoming in the anthology edition of True Girl magazine.
Media, Pop Culture, Books, Film, Television, Poetry, Fiction, Politics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Religion, Disability, Relationships, Service Animals, Technology, Travel, Lifestyle Brianna Albers is a content creator living in Minneapolis-St. Paul. In 2016, she founded Monstering, a magazine for disabled women and nonbinary people; in 2017, she co-founded ZRIE, a private new media collective. She is also on staff at SMA News Today and writes the column “The Wolf Finally Frees Itself.” A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work can be found in Gravel, Shakespeare and Punk, and Fanzine, among others. Find her online at and on social media @briehalbers.
Disability Culture, Disability Rights Historian Steven E. Brown (PhD, University of Oklahoma, 1981) is Co-Founder, Institute on Disability Culture and retired Professor of Disability Studies, Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii . Brown encountered disability-based employment discrimination based shortly after earning his doctorate, which changed his career path. In the 1980s, Brown worked at and directed an independent living center in Oklahoma, organized numerous community advocacy coalitions, and represented regional Independent Living Centers in legislative education about the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 1990, Brown moved to California to become Training Director at the World Institute on Disability (WID). In 1993, Brown received the first federal funding to research disability culture, which resulted in the monograph, Investigating A Culture of Disability: Final Report. After relocating to New Mexico, with his wife and partner Lillian Gonzales Brown, in 1994, they co-founded the non-profit Institute on Disability Culture. In 2002, they moved to Hawaii, where Brown joined the Center on Disability Studies (CDS). Brown has published many articles about disability rights and is a national and international speaker. His books include Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame to Disability Pride (2003); Surprised to be Standing: A Spiritual Journey (2011); and Ed Roberts: Wheelchair Genius (2015), a Middle Grade biography of the late 20th century disability rights pioneer. He is also a co-editor of the anthology, Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society (2016). He has presented on disability rights and culture throughout the U.S. and in Canada; Germany; Hungary; Korea (via remote video) Japan; Norway; Saipan; Sweden; Taiwan; and Thailand. Brown retired from his full-time Professor position at CDS in 2014. He continues to write, advocate, speak, and teach. Brown’s work remains driven by the Institute on Disability Culture mission/vision: “Promoting pride in the history, activities, and cultural identity of individuals with disabilities throughout the world.” This includes ReConnective Therapy (RCT) energy healing work, or which Brown is a practitioner. Brown blogs periodically at and is on Twitter @disculture.
Media, Pop Culture, Books, Film, Television, Theatre, Fiction, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Feminism, LGBQT, Disability Rosemary Collins studied English Literature at the University of York and gained an NCTJ Multimedia Journalism Diploma at Manchester News Associates. She currently works at Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Her articles have been published in The New Statesman, DIVA and The Establishment, among other outlets.
Media, Pop Culture, Law, Books, Film, Television, Theatre, Poetry, Fiction, Art, Music, Politics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Criticism, Education, Americans with Disabilities Act, Food, Feminism, Race, Religion, LGBQT, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality, Service Animals, Technology, Travel, Lifestyle, Beauty I was born in Abbotsford, BC, and I now reside in New Westminster. I am not a journalism student but I am a writer. Writing is a true passion of mine, in fact, I have published three books. My first two books are both volumes of poetry, and my most recent publication is a children’s Christmas story. I have the second installment of the Christmas story coming up at the end of summer 2019. I invite you to check out my portfolio and blog! Jillian is available for personal essays Additional communication availability: Phone, Videoconference (Video and Voice) Languages: English