Disability Justice is a movement started by and meant to center disabled, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Ableism encourages the centering of “normal” and “productive” and devalues disabled bodies, brains, and senses, seeing them as “invalid”, “unnatural”, and “unworthy”, leading to exclusion and oppression. Disability Justice works to move away from segregation, isolation, and ableism and move towards accessibility, equity connection, and interdependence.
Disability justice is an ongoing practice that recognizes the inherent worth of every person and sees us as whole beings with differing strengths and needs. Disability justice challenges the ways we think about, and label, bodies/minds/senses.
Increase your disability knowledge and engage in dialogue as we explore new ways of doing and perceiving, including the ten principles of disability justice and how they can be utilized in daily life. Also covered, how these practices and principles impact the daily lives of disabled people.
This workshop is co-faciliated by Heather (disabled, neurodivergent, queer, trans, asexual, aromantic) and Harmony (disabled, queer, person of colour) who can speak to their lived experiences as well as to experiences of the broader disability and neurodivergent community.
Heather McCain (they/them) is Executive Director of Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods, a non-profit they founded in 2005. Heather is also a Crip Doula. This is a Disability Justice term for someone who helps disabled people navigate our complex systems, providing resources, support, and building community.
Heather’s own experiences with multiple types of disabilities, inaccessibility, and ableism led them to become a well-known and respected advocate, speaker, educator, and activist. Heather recognizes that those within the disability community have intersecting identities. In recognition of this, Heather works hard to ensure a multitude of voices and experiences inform their work. Heather is committed to centering decolonialization, using an intersectional lens and disability justice framework, and engaging in cross-movement organizing.
Harmony Bongat (she/her) is a researcher, facilitator, workshop creator, and advocate for Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods. Harmony became involved with CAN after attending Chronically Queer, a support group Heather facilitates for 2SLGBTQIA+ folk with chronic health conditions. Harmony’s experiences as a disabled person with multiple intersecting identities informs her work. Harmony is passionate about disability awareness, queer + trans history, and sharing her lived experience to further conversation about how we can better meet the needs of disabled people, build community, and empower those currently pushed to the margins.
“The Intro to Disability Justice workshop held by Heather McCain was one of the most thought-provoking, in-depth, and necessary workshops I’ve ever taken. Heather grounded teachings on disability justice in the context of the systems of oppression created by colonialism, and held firm solidarity with Indigenous, Black, and people of colour. In addition to creating a welcome and judgement-free space, Heather seemed to create the workshop with a care for themselves, their community, and all the participants involved. The workshop wasn’t a box to check in allyship; the workshop was, instead, empowering in its transformative call to action. It left me feeling like I had the tools to ask questions, dig deeper, and do the work in my own life and organization to prioritize accessibility and inclusion in an intentional and meaningful way.”