Schomberg works to end the stigma around disabilities 

One billion people — 16% of the world — have a disability. 

Despite that number, there is a stigma about talking about it. Librarian Jessica Schomberg spoke March 31 over Zoom to give students more information on the 10 principles of Disability Justice and ways Disability Justice can influence work and learning. The event was part of a series hosted by the Disability Alliance Affinity Group. 

“They’re principles identified by the performing arts group, Sins Invalid, which is a performing arts group based in San Francisco that is comprised of disabled people of color who express their worlds and dreams through performing arts,” said Schomberg. “So they worked together to identify 10 principles that are important to the movement to keep in mind as people work toward disability justice to craft the work that’s being done, and prevent it from being commodified.” 

DAAG is trying to build a larger community of students and workers who have disabilities or want to help people who do. They do this by hosting educational events during the spring semester. 

“Disability Justice is an attempt to move the conversation to fully recognize the humanity of disabled people of color, disabled queer people, disabled trans people, disabled people who are incarcerated, disabled poor people and other people who are usually left out of the mainstream movement,” said Schomberg. “So one of the pieces of Disability Justice that I think is valuable to discuss is both how it’s deliberately inclusive of people who had been left out, and also it pushes people to reconsider how our entire social structure exists, and who it benefits, and it challenges people to be more creative and addressing problems.” 

DAAG is an affinity group. An affinity group aims to get people from different parts of the campus community to work toward a shared goal. 

“Any member of the campus community is welcome to join whether they have a disability or not, so long as they want to work toward creating a campus community and a culture that welcomes and supports people with disabilities,” said Schomberg. 

Schomberg said that one of the goals of this event was to “recognize the full humanity of disabled people who feel left out of a lot of disability conversations and also to challenge people to be considered possibilities.”

Schomberg said one misconception about disabled people is they are incomplete humans or deficient. 

“There’s so much stigma against disability that people are uncomfortable talking about it because they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. So they’re silent about it,” said Schomberg. “People with disabilities have a reasonable fear of stigma. That makes it hard again to talk about it, or fear of repercussions.” 

For more information about upcoming events or general information, contact Schomberg; they will be happy to help. 

Header Photo: Jessica Schomberg, pictured above, is a librarian at the Memorial Library on campus. She spoke on Zoom to provide students with information about disabilities. (Courtesy Jessica Schomberg)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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