Creating Community: U.S. Alliance Launches

It’s official: the U.S. Alliance of Women, Nonbinary Persons, and Other Gender Minorities with Disabilities has launched!  Following months of research, community organizing, and steering meetings spearheaded by Women Enabled International, a diverse and dedicated group of feminists with disabilities in the U.S. has formed an Alliance to advocate on the critical human rights issues that affect the lives, experiences and opportunities of our community in the United States. 

WEI hosted a March 11 virtual gathering that was part launch event and part happy hour. In addition to formal remarks about the Alliance’s initial priorities and reflections on the process of building the Alliance, there were fun activities and socializing. Through a unanimous vote, members selected WEI to be Coordinator of the Alliance for the first three years. 

During a ‘scavenger hunt,’ Alliance members shared items connected to the disability rights and justice movement, which included voicing hopes for the Alliance, introducing service animals and pets, and recommending favorites. One-member shared Disability Rights Activist Laura Hershey’s resonant poem “You Get Proud by Practicing.” 

The event culminated in a dance/listening party with a playlist compiled by Alliance member Shameka Andrew, featuring anthems and rallying cries such as: “Talkin Bout a Revolution” by Tracy Chapman, “Warrior” by Scandal, and Cheryl Crow’s version of the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.”  The YouTube playlist included lyric captioning for each song to ensure that the music was accessible to all. 

By all accounts, the event was a success, and the community is energized. Here is what they had to say:

“I’ve been part of the disability community for a while and I’ve never been a part of such an intersectional group of women.  I’m really excited about that and I’m really hoping that we’re able to start some real change.”

Ashley Volion, Policy Analyst at Disability Rights Louisiana, who identifies as a Filipina/White with Cerebral Palsy.


“The best part about this [Alliance] and the work we get to do is since we are starting brand new, we literally get to mold it!” Jessica Jimenez, board member at the World Independent Living Center Network (WIN), who identifies as a Mexican female/gender-nonconforming person with epilepsy.


“A lot of disability-led organizations are still very top-down, and the way that this group is being developed has been led by the whole group…With this being such an intersectional group, the priorities reflect our community as a whole and not just the priorities and the goals of a small section of those with the most privilege.  So that really excites me… the work that we do is going to be really in touch with what the community wants and what we want.” 

Lindsay Baran, disability activist and Policy Director at NCIL, chronically ill and hard of hearing.

In the weeks following the event, the Alliance adopted a collective leadership model and, through a unanimous vote, members selected WEI to be Coordinator of the Alliance for the first three years. 

Next steps for the Alliance include initiating collective advocacy activities, such as working on a written submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and collaborating on educational and information-sharing efforts with partners in the racial justice movement. 

Join us! Contact WEI U.S. Organizer Janie Mejias at