Today is the 157th anniversary of the day that news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas. It’s also the 1st anniversary of the day as a U.S. federal holiday. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, but its enforcement relied on Union troops that would not reach the most remote parts of the former confederacy until 1865.
Today I’m thinking about that lag between the legal and effective ends of state-sponsored ableism, all too common still. I’m thinking about the incitements to diagnosis that legitimate cultures of domination and remain with us. I’m thinking about intersectional policy-making led by disabled Black women who give care, receive care, and organize all at once. And I’m thinking about the unique ways that disabled mutual aid can lead us to ways of knowing if we have what we need.
Kennedy Center Awards
After a pandemic delay, the VSA Emerging Young Artists program, a national juried competition of works by disabled artists between 16 and 25 years old, has released the list of those selected for its 2020-2021 MERGE exhibition. Moriah Faith from Black Forest, CO was awarded the Grand Prize for Tough Love (2020) and Panteha Abareshi from Los Angeles was awarded First Prize for Methods of Care for the Precarious Body (2021). The other winning artists are Joshua Ben-Dylan, Mike Cannata, Miranda Chao, MJ Cooper, Sky Dai, James de Guzman Lee, Maiya Lea Hartman, Dominic Killiany, Taylor Koedyker, May Ling Kopecky, Maya Milton, Mia Neill, and Jasina Yu.
The 3x Grammy Award-winning, platinum selling artist with the longest running #1 song by a solo rap artist in herstory (“Truth Hurts”) and an amazing reality show that elevates incredible fat women dancers heard the hurt about her new single, “GRRRLS.” Many disabled people, especially those unfamiliar with AAVE, were upset about a derogatory term she used in the lyrics. “As a fat black woman in America,” she wrote on Twitter, “I’ve had many hurtful words used against me so I understand the power words can have.” She released a new version of the song and we are moving on.
The Battle Over Cars in SF’s Golden Gate Park
Disability activist Howard Chabner and the parent organization of the De Young Museum have filed a ballot measure to partially reverse the city’s Board of Supervisors’ decision in April to make JFK Drive car-free in perpetuity. The Museum has helped form a campaign called Access for All that foregrounds the ways the decision has affected disabled people’s access to the museum. If the measure receives 9,000 signatures, it will appear on the ballot on Nov. 8th.
Monkeypox, Homophobia, Ableism
At least 2 strains of monkeypox have been identified in the U.S., suggesting undetected spread. And it’s been felt in gay communities, during Pride month, where saunas and raves have been the source of the biggest outbreaks. It’s not a gay disease, nor is it specifically sexually transmitted. But gay men could still be a group of experts who can supplement the excellent science of African researchers that has been ignored for months. Writing in Scientific American, Steven Thrasher calls our attention to a particular kind of ableism that creates what he calls the “viral underclass.” Naming and understanding this kind of ableism would help us identify the similarities between HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, and monkeypox, explain why only some experts get broad recognition, and build solidarity networks that can make a difference.
In the “Colloquium” section of the journal Panorama, Jessica Cooley and Ann Fox have guest edited a collection of short creative pieces on “the entanglements of crip art.” It features work by Indira Allegra, Kevin Quiles Bonilla, Jill Casid, Allison Leigh Holt, Heather Lynn Johnson, Alex Dolores Salerno, Ellen Samuels, and Pamela Sneed.
Ryan Haddad’s autobiographical play Dark Disabled Stories will be coming to the Public Theater in NYC in winter 2023.
Criptic Arts has released the “Being Hybrid Guide” to support small organizations developing feasible and inexpensive interactive programming models. And it’s available in several formats, including plain language and an abridged video with audio, BSL, and captions.
An Instagram post by @Tangled_Arts: Graphic that says “Call for Submissions. Deadline: July 8, 2022” in hot pink text on a pale pink background. The Tangled logo is on the top-right. The background photo is of a blank white wall in the gallery, with wood floors. Info session on June 23rd.
Fireweed Collective and People’s Hub are seeking responses to a survey about internalized ableism.
Barnard film student Daisy Friedman is seeking NYC-based disabled crew members for a short film called Unconditional “about an interabeld queer couple that comes to terms with their individual fears of intimacy when they spend the night together for the first time.” Paid roles including Production Designer and 1st Assistant Director for shooting July 29 & 30 and an Editor for the month of August. Email email@example.com for more information and donate to support the project here.
Richard III (NYC)
A major lineup of disabled artists – Maleni Chaitoo, Monique Holt, Matthew August Jeffers, Gregg Mozgala, and Ali Stroker, with Neil Sprouse as Director of Artistic Sign Language and interpreter coordination from Patrick Michael – will star in the Public Theater’s production of Richard III for this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park. June 21st through July 17th. More info here.
Disabled Down Center (NYC)
Playbill, joined by Brennan Srisirikul, Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick, and Aaron Glick, will present Disabled Down Center, a benefit cabaret featuring classic songs performed by disabled artists, June 27th at 7pm ET at Green Room 42 in Manhattan. Performers will include Treshelle Edmond (for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf), Rachel Handler (NCIS: New Orleans), Dickie Hearts (Tales of the City), Anita Hollander (Spectacular Falls), Ethan Mathias (The Last Boy), Sebastian Ortiz (A Christmas Carol on Broadway), Fred Scheff (Phantom of the Opera), Brennan Srisirikul (Pillowman), and Nicholas Vivar (Christmas Story). Hosted by Pavar Snipe. Tickets are free and can be reserved by emailing DisabledDownCenter@gmail.com.
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