The Organizers Forum is a project of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, a national cross-disability coalition of organizations led by disabled people. The forum is coordinated and facilitated by Jessica Lehman, Executive Director of Senior and Disability Action, with support from Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet.
April 2021: Mobilizing Disabled People in Support of HCBS in the Federal Recovery Plan
Thanks to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Arc, and many years of advocacy from disability organizations, the proposed federal recovery plan includes $400 billion for home and community-based services! And President Biden is promoting the fact that this is indeed essential infrastructure. So let’s get organized! On this call, we talk about what is in the bill and how we can mobilize disabled people in support.
Jennifer Lav, Senior Attorney at National Health Law Program
Celeste Faison, Campaigns Director at National Domestic Workers Alliance
Jenn Wolff, Disabled occupational therapist and organizer
Susannah Dyen, Director of Organizing and Field at Caring Across Generations
February 2021: The State of Disability Organizing
December 2020: Part 2 on Outreach to Disabled Voters
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Video link: https://zoom.us/j/158367875
November 2020: Direct Outreach to Disabled Voters
This year, in what has been called the most important election of our lifetimes, disability activists developed new innovative ways to reach out to disabled voters directly. Disability is not labeled in voter lists, making it hard to contact people one-on-one, but experience shows that talking to voters one-on-one is by far the most effective way to ensure that people vote. In addition, reaching disabled people through voter lists can be a way to reach new people to join the movement! On this call, we heard from people in four different organizations, from four different states. They shared what they did, what they learned, and how their methods can be replicated in other areas.
Tova Perlmutter, Detroit Disability Power
C.J. Moit, PAVA Lead/Advocate, Disability Rights South Dakota
Alejandrina Guzman (she/her), People with Disabilities Constituency Organizer, Texas Democratic Party
Ligia Montano (she/her) and Bradley Wiedmaier (he/him), San Francisco Senior and Disability Action
April 2020: Taking Action Against Care Rationing
This conversation focused on how disability communities can take action against the rationing of care for people with COVID-19, against the potential for disabled people and seniors to be deprioritized. We explored how we can organize our communities to fight back and win. Speakers talked about working to get states to change policies, raising public awareness, and making sure that people in I/DD and nursing home facilities aren’t left to die. We addressed the intersections between ageism, ableism, fatphobia and racism involved here.
Angel Miles, PhD (she/her)
Healthcare/Home and Community Based Services Policy Analyst, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
Angel Miles received her doctorate in women’s studies at the University of Maryland College Park. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she joined Access Living. She is responsible for monitoring disability rights developments in healthcare and home and community-based services, and facilitating systems advocacy efforts through an intersectional lens.
Ivanova Smith (she/her/they/theirs)
Chair of Self Advocates in Leadership (SAIL)
Ivanova Smith lives in Tacoma, Washington. They were a plaintiff for a complaint in Washington state about medical care rationing related to COVID-19.
Germán Luis Parodi (he/him)
Co-Executive Director, The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
Germán Parodi is a disabled Puerto Rican, disability rights activist and advocate. He is a first responder and Co-Executive Director of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, an active community organizer with Philly ADAPT, and a leader in disability rights and full inclusion before, during and after disasters.
Max Airborne (they/them)
Max Airborne is an organizer for collective liberation, rooted in fat liberation and disability justice. They co-founded Fat Rose: fatrose.org.
Cathy Costanzo (she/her)
Executive Director, Center for Public Representation
Cathy Costanzo became the Center’s Executive Director in September 2011. She has worked in the mental disability law field since 1977 and has extensive experience in providing representation to institutionalized persons throughout the country and for litigating ADA/Olmstead cases. She is the former director of the Massachusetts PAIMI Project and the former chair of National Disability Rights Network’s Legal Committee. Ms. Costanzo is co-counsel in a number of class action cases in New Mexico, Massachusetts, Oregon and Ohio which seek to promote the integration and to expand the rights of persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.
March 2020: Organizing in the Age of the Coronavirus
Elandria Williams, PeoplesHub
Allegra Heath-Stout, JOIN with Justice