Women Enabled International (WEI) strongly condemns the continued police violence and murder of members of the Black community in the United States that has led to days of protests across the country and around the world.
The racist murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and numerous other men, women, trans and non-binary persons—with and without disabilities—is a human rights violation of the highest order.
Our staff, fellows and interns mourn their deaths and commit to fighting for racial justice in the United States and globally. We stand with protestors around the world in demanding justice and action to address the systemic human rights violations in the United States that contribute to the ongoing oppression of members of the Black community in any form—from police violence, police failures to address gender-based violence and the government failures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which disproportionally impact the Black community. WEI also strongly supports the U.S. Constitution and its provisions on freedom of expression and assembly and deplores calls by some to bring weapons to this struggle.
Disability and gender justice do not exist separate from racial justice. Now—more than ever—is the time to invest in and follow the leadership of Black women with disabilities.
WEI’s leadership and staff are currently reflecting on how we can better address racial justice in our work, confront our own privileges, and support and follow the lead of Black women with disabilities and their organizations. We invite you to join us in these reflections and to share your thoughts with us directly and on social media.
Below are just a few of the brilliant experts and resources out there. Please study their resources and support them and other activists who are doing important work to surface the intersecting concerns of race, gender, and disability:
- Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Writer and Founder #EverywhereAccessible & #DisabledBlackTalk
- Imani Barbarin, Founder of Crutches and Spice and Creator of #DisTheOscars #AbledsAreWeird #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow
- Morénike Giwa Onaiwu and the Autistic Women & Non-Binary Network
- Talila A. Lewis and Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf Communities – HEARD
- Vilissa Thompson, Writer and #DisabilityTooWhite Creator and Founder of @RampYourVoice
- Sins Invalid
In addition, please consider signing on to Color of Change’s #JusticeforFloyd petition and #JusticeforBre petition; joining the NAACP’s #WeAreDoneDying campaign; reading the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s statement against police killings and use of excessive force; and if you are able, donating to a local United States bail fund through the National Bail Fund Network to assist arrested protesters in the United States to post bail.
WEI is fighting for a world where women and girls with disabilities claim their human rights, act in solidarity, and lead self-determined lives. This future will never be achieved as long as our Black sisters remain oppressed. We stand with you today and everyday – Black Lives Matter.
Yours in solidarity,
Stephanie Ortoleva and the Women Enabled International Team