DisabilityRightNow is a collaborative blogging effort among members of the disability community. We come from a plethora of different backgrounds, races, ages, gender identities, and sexual orientations. This blog is our attempt to keep our (crip-tastic) fingers on the pulse of disability issues, and provide a place where people, disabled or not, can go to learn about these relevant issues in our community. Below are the bios of the current DisabilityRightNow crew!
Erin Lewy is a writer and activist who organized this blog. She has been involved in the fight for equal rights and visibility for all Americans since she could conceptualize these ideas. Her earliest presence on the web was as administrator of disabledsex.org, a site on disability and sexuality. Her written work has been featured in New Mobility magazine, Box magazine, and Breath and Shadow, a literary magazine by and for people with disabilities, where she also served on the editorial board. Her fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. She lives in New England, where she splits her time between writing, teaching and blogging.
Cara Liebowitz is a proud palsy person, blogger, writer, and activist. She has been involved with disability activism in one form or another since her pre-teens, and hopes to get her Master’s Degree in Disability Studies. Cara serves as the Secretary of the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN), an organization by and for disabled youth, as well as on their Outreach and Awareness committee. She is also one of twenty youth leaders of the I Am Norm campaign, a campaign advocating for inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. You can read her blogs at http://www.candidlycrippled.blogspot.com and http://www.flutterflyinvasion.tumblr.com.
Lateef McLeod is a phenomenal black poet with cerebral palsy who just published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love this year. He is also in process of writing a novel tentatively called The Third Eye Is Crying. He was also a cast member of the 2007 Sins Invalid performance and the 2011 artist-in-residence Sins Invalid performance entitled Resident Alien. He works at United Cerebral Palsy of the Golden Gate as a grant writer and blogger at http://bit.ly/lateefsview and for Sins Invalid as an intern. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College.
Staci Forrest is a Women’s and Disability Rights activist, blogger, budding Feminist Disability Studies scholar, and student majoring in Education with a minor in Women’s Studies. Staci currently serves on the Education and Media Committee at the National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN). She is the Project Leader for the NYLN project Crafting Resilience which strives to end violence against all people with disabilities. She is also a member of the Bender Lead On Team which focuses on ending bullying against people with disabilities through media outlets. In Fall 2012, Staci will be completing her Women’s Studies Independent Research Study on body image issues and young women and girls with disabilities. In the future, she hopes to further pursue her education in Women’s Studies and Disability Studies. You can read Staci’s blog Disability Diaries at http://disabilitydiaries1.tumblr.com/.
Devin Lind is a writer, politician and activist in northern Sweden. As a non-heterosexual intergender person born with spina bifida and living with various other diagnoses, ze works for the inclusion of minorities into main society through educating both people belonging to the norm and minorities.
Meg Mertens is a senior with Cerebral Palsy at a college in Pennsylvania majoring in English with a minor in Education. She hopes to one day get her masters in Disability Studies. Meg has been involved in disability activism since junior high, but only recently started taking a much larger step in getting involved. Meg will graduate in 2013 but until then, all future plans are tentative. She serves as editor for this blog.
Clint Berger has been an activist, in some form for many years. As long as he’s been an activist, he’s been a poet. These two hats he wears are closely connected. In school, he was asked to “write a poem about being different” and he took full advantage of this when he was asked to read this poem to his entire school. He later started blogging about his own experiences in the world and has also continued writing poetry. This year, he found a new opportunity in activism as a member of NYLN’s Outreach and Awareness Committee and is looking forward to more opportunities for activism in the future.
Alejandra Ospina is a woman with a disability who hopes to contribute to a better world, bit by bit. She is a program representative for the GimpGirl Community, which supports women with disabilities and their allies online. She lives in New York City, where she also contributes to local disability advocacy, activism, and culture projects, such as the DISLABELED Film Series, the Largest Minority Radio Show, and the Disability Caucus of Occupy Wall Street.
Kari Lynn Pope has been a writer, performer, and disability community activist who currently attempts to bring disability issues to the world stage by gimping around an ESL classroom. After teaching in several different countries, she returned to the US in 2010, where, as the photo alone should tell you, she can best be summed up in the words of LMFAO: “When I step on the scene/Y’all know me/Cuz I walk with a limp like a old-skool pimp/Or a real OG…”
Josh Rayfield is in his 30s and lives in Pennsylvania. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in January of 2002, and diagnosed as learning disabled in 1st grade. He was in guided learning classes as a child, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Long Island University in New York (1999). He has volunteered for a number of programs and organizations serving People with Disabilities and Older Adults in his area over the years. Josh drives, and likes to read and watch movies in his free time. He is new to blogging, but is very excited to be starting.
Emily Titon is an Autistic from Rhode Island. Emily is actively involved with ASAN, Occupy Providence, TASH, AutCom and Advocates in Action. Emily loves emergency preparedness, aviation, intelligence/security, and cats. Emily also enjoys photography, watching sci-fi like X-Files and Battlestar Galactica, and cooking.