Friday marks the final discussion as a part of the Disability Conversation Series.
Hosted on the last Friday of each month, the series is sponsored and hosted by the Disability Alliance, a campus affinity group made up of disabled and non-disabled people.
Librarian Jessica Schomberg said the series started as a way to provide educational opportunities for the campus.
“Often these kinds of conversations are shaped by caregivers or other professionals who aren’t themselves disabled and we wanted to make sure that any educational opportunities we have are led by people with disabilities,” Schomberg said.
Friday’s discussion will be covering the disability justice movement. The movement started after disabled people of color and disabled queer people were left out of disability rights conversations. Schomberg said the discussion will be aimed at critiquing social structures and social expectations.
“It’s focusing on people who are often left behind or forgotten or considered an inconvenience and making sure that they are centered and included in everything that we do,” Schomberg said.
Each meeting has a guest speaker or a facilitator to assist in the discussion. Professor Dani Scott is not only a member of the Disability Alliance but teaches courses on diversity, equity and inclusion. Scott said she wanted to join the conversation as a facilitator to help deconstruct stigmas and bring all marginalized voices to the table.
“I think that disability is oftentimes excluded from conversations. We talk about race or are nervous about talking about race, but we also aren’t really intersectional in our approach,” Scott said. “This has been a wonderful learning experience for me and I’ve been humbled to be a part of it.”
Scott said the discussion will start out with a previous overview leading into discussion questions.
“We want it to be more of an organic conversation. Then the first part is more of a lecture style and then we’ll be processing and talking about the information, especially in regard to how disabilities are directly connected to Equity 2030,” Scott said.
Schomberg said that, since the series started, more and more people have started to sign up and participate and they would like to see the series return in the fall.
“We’re sort of a growing group and we are looking forward to continuing to expand. The interest that people have expressed is just continuing to grow, and I hope more people join to help us shape future events,” Schomberg said.
Scott said students should attend the event as a way to shed light and to invoke students to continue their own research on the topic.
“Students need to realize these conversations happen a lot, but they’re like ‘I don’t know how to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it with my family.’ Watching others engage in a conversation can be uncomfortable,” Scott said. “Sometimes it doesn’t kill you. You’re better for it on the other side. They need to be a part of that and they need to see that.”
Students can register for free online or attend in person. The discussion is Friday from 12-1 p.m.
Librarian Jessica Schomberg hosts the Disability Conversation series which wraps up its first year on Friday with a justice discussion. (Courtesy Jessica Schomberg)
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