“Liberation must be led by those who know the most about these systems and how they work” (Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, p. 27).
The Disabled Rights Action Committee recognizes that a history of racism and oppression has created ongoing disparities for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in our community and beyond. As a grassroots organization of activists, we share a commitment to dismantling systems of oppression of every variety. We believe that we must confront our history of racial injustice before we can repair its painful legacy.
We are committed to cross-identity solidarity and intersectionality. As a group that committed to amplifying marginalized voices, we know that cross-identity solidarity is a win-win. When we support each other, we can all achieve liberation together. We acknowledge that our many of our members bring multiple identities to the table, of which disability may be only one. We believe that intersectionality is a framework through which we can better understand how our identities – race, disability, gender, sexuality, immigration status, class, and more – affect our lived experiences. Each of us experience our identities as complex sites of oppression and privilege. We believe that privilege gives us power that we can leverage to demand change in our communities and spheres of influence. We are committed to using our privilege to challenge systems of oppression, amplify BIPOC disabled voices in our membership, and support our BIPOC members in their various endeavors.
We believe in leadership by the most impacted. Historically, many disabled communities and spaces have been created by white people with disabilities, and BIPOC have not always felt welcome. Our organization is led by people with disabilities, for people with disabilities, including BIPOC in our leadership and our membership. We are committed to holding space where our BIPOC members feel safe, respected, and welcomed. Going forward, we are committed to maintaining and expanding the racial diversity of our membership, our leadership, and any individuals that we employ. We will be recruiting employees from historically black universities, including racial justice groups in our membership outreach campaigns, and nominating additional BIPOC members to our board in our next election. We recognize that racist systems of oppression disadvantage our BIPOC members in ways that our white disabled members do not experience. We know that we have a lot to learn from these experiences and we are committed to being excellent listeners.
We will take accountability. We know that we will make mistakes, and we will take responsibility for corrective action. We will listen, acknowledge our own biases, and make adjustments. When we make mistakes, we will take the time to reflect on them thoughtfully and figure out how to do better in the future. We will not let the possibility for error prevent us from continuing this work – we know that there is too much at stake.
We will not stop. We know that intention alone is not enough – impact matters. To do this work, we will challenge ourselves to deconstruct frameworks of oppression while building opportunities for learning, change, and accountability. We will accept feedback graciously and with humility. If you would like provide to provide suggestions for improvement, please fill out this anonymous survey. We are listening.