Fighting The War: Strategies For Disability Activism in a Post-COVID World

Fri, 4 December 2020 19:00 – 21:00 GMT

Fighting The War: Disability Resistance Heading Into A Post-COVID Age.

2020 has been an unprecedented year in human history, with the outbreak of the COVID 19 epidemic across the globe. At the centre of this as one of the most exposed groups is the disabled, with many disabled people still facing the bleak circumstances of institutionalisation despite deaths in care/residential homes being among the highest when it comes to the pandemic. In the UK this situation has been aggravated due to a decade of Tory austerity, with sweeping cuts to welfare, public transport and the closure of the independent living fund among other targeted government actions against the disabled. Running alongside this and the pandemic this year was a wave of protests by Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesting institutional racism after the killing of Brenna Taylor and George Floyd in the U.S. this has led to protests demanding an overhaul of entrenched racist practices globally, and the demand to critically examine colonial crimes committed by powers such as the U.K.

With minority groups rightfully distraught and angry at the rapidly detreating situation brought on by COVID, climate change, the far right etc. It seems to be a good time to bring some of these threads together and to discuss what strategies can be adopted for the future in order to try to bring about the change we want to see. How can the Disabled People’s Movement (DPM) sustain itself in an increasingly hostile setting? How can the DPM, BLM and other groups work together to find common ground and fight under the much needed banner of intersectionality? These are questions that should be asked and discussed and this event hosted by Leeds Disabled People’s Organisation (LDPO) Leeds Black Lives Matter (BLM) and oversaw by Physical and Sensory Impairment (PSI) Volition, a Leeds based, third sector umbrella organisation on Friday 4th, December, 7pm via Zoom aims to do that.

If you are interested in attending please e-mail and you will be e-mailed a zoom link nearer the time of the event.

Speakers and their bios:

1. Ellen Clifford:

Ellen is a disabled activist and author of ‘The War on Disabled People: capitalism, welfare and the making of a human catastrophe’ published by Zed Books in June 2020. She sits on the Disabled People Against Cuts National Steering Group and has worked in the disability sector for over twenty years, predominantly within user led organisations. She is currently co-chair of the experts by experience Commission on Social Security.

2. Dennis Queen:

Mx Dennis Queen is a Manchester based musician and has been involved in the disabled people’s movement for 20 years campaigning, performing and volunteering at disabled people’s organisations. Dennis is now co-chair of Disability Arts Online, and a member of the executive committee at Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People. Dennis also campaigns with Manchester Disabled People Against Cuts and Not Dead Yet U.K.

3. Anzir Boodoo:

Anzir Boodoo is Treasurer of Leeds Disabled People’s Organisation and West & North Yorkshire Chair of The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport. His introduction to the Social Model of Disability was as a Board Member of Disability Support DS in Bradford, and as a co-founder of the Disability Action Group at the University of Leeds. He has recently worked to create accessible craft workshops and, through his Policy work with LDPO, CILT and Living Streets, in trying to improve accessibility in Leeds City Centre. He also works with Our Future Leeds on helping to develop a civic response to the Climate Emergency, and is part of the Transport and Buildings Groups at Zero Carbon Yorkshire.

4. Marvina Ese Newton:

Marvina, is the co-founder of the Leeds branch of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and a major anti-racist campaigner and organiser in Leeds, who also identifies as disabled.

5. Michelle Daley:

Michelle is the Director of Alliance For Inclusive Education (ALFIE) and also a member of the Reclaiming Our Future Alliance (ROFA) steering group and the chair of its subcommittee ROFAIC – Reclaiming Our Future Alliance International Committee. She has set on the board of Equality 2025 – United Kingdom Advisory Network For Disability Equality and the Office For Disability Issues: Independent Living Scrutiny Group. In addition to this she and is a Trustee of National Independent Living Alternatives.

6. Miro Griffiths:

Miro Griffiths is a Research Fellow in Disability Studies at the University of Leeds and is interested in disability activism and social movements. Miro sits on the Disability Advisory Committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is on the board of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Independent Living Institute (Sweden), and DadaFest.

7. Lucy Dunhill:

Lucy is the Founder of Dujo, an interdisciplinary consultancy using Architecture, Technology, Commercial & Project Management. She utilises her lived experiences as an autistic woman and her professional in Modern Methods of Construction, to enable human-centred and inclusive design. She is a Local Pathways Fellow as a part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth. Lucy sits on the RIBA Committee for the Humber region and is a board member of the Autism Partnership Board in her city of Kingston upon Hull.

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