By: Constanza and Matt (YAC)
Are you a young person 25 and under living with a disability? If so, we invite you to keep reading because this post is for you!
If you are a youth living with a disability chances are a lot of your experiences have been anything but typical. And you may or may not identify as having a disability. So first, a note on what disability is.
For reasons that go beyond the scope of this post, societies have gone to great lengths to define and reinforce what “normal” bodies and minds are. Anyone that is different then falls in the “disabled” category. As disability justice organizer Mia Mingus puts it, “people usually think of disability as an individual flaw or problem, rather than as something partly created by the world we live in”. Navigating a disability is not easy but you don’t have to do it alone. There is an armour we sometimes must wear to survive in the “real” world, but that takes a toll. I cannot begin to tell you what a difference it makes when you enter a space where you can take that armour off. Where you are free to be. Free to come as you are. Free to be a full, dynamic, and complex human in an eqully dynamic and complex world.
Here at the YAC we spend a lot (A LOT) of time challenging the ways in which the world disables people. As a social justice organizer, I would lie to you if I said this entirely unique to our group ( there are lots of amazing social movements, groups, and organizations). What I can tell you, is that our group has gone where few have. We have learned to care for one another. We have cultivated connections. We get through hard times together and we celebrate each other. We communicate, learn and grow together. This is the sort of community we have created in DJNO’s Youth Action Council, and we would like to share it with you.
This is why we started our FRIDAY series - Friends Rocking the Intersection of Disability and Youth. Got to love a long acronym you will probably forget. And that is okay! Just remember that every Friday we will be co-creating a safe space with you at 5:00 pm EDT. Our series is intended to be a reflection of our youth collective. Some sessions will be light and fun and others will be deep and heavy. All we ask is that you come with an open heart and mind and be respectful of the space.
So what’s next? Well, while we are still in the apocalypse, all sessions will happen online, which means there will be some logistics to go over. You can find that information in the Q/A section below. This month, we will get things started by holding a screening of Crip Camp in collaboration with MSU Maccess. This will be open to anyone and it’s a great chance to get to know us and this series better as well.
The following Friday we officially start! We have a meet & greet (with a special guest!), games night ( there will be prizes!), and a radical mental health workshop + check in lined up. We will brainstorm future activities with you! By becoming a part of FRIDAY you also have the opportunity to be added to our super awesome and private Group Chat.
We are excited to meet you and connect with you - Friday at Five for our FRIDAY series:
Who is this open to?
Youth under 25 who identify as having a disability
What about accessibility needs?
You can let us know when you register or email us and we can set up a time to talk about your accessibility needs by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is creating the programming, coordinating, and facilitating?
Stay tuned for a short blog post series introducing the core FRIDAY team from YAC. Special guests will be introduced before each session.
Where do I find out more/ sign up?
For the movie + discussion event (open to all)
For the FRIDAY series:
What do I need to participate?
You will need a computer, tablet, or smartphone and internet connection. We recommend you download the video conferencing platform Zoom in advance.
Do I have to stay the whole time?
Nope! Stay for as long as you want. You can come to one or all of the sessions. It is entirely up to you.
What do we expect from you?
Treat others with respect, dignity and kindness.
We have no tolerance for acts of discrimination, harassment, or violence.
No racism, sexism, transphobia, classism, ableism, or bigotry of any kind.
If I have a question where can I get in touch?