2020 Conference

2020 Conference

As We Are: Disability Justice and Community Care Conference (webinar)

DECEMBER 5-6, 2020 10:30 am-3 pm PST (GMT-8) 

 Registration is closed.

Take our pre-conference survey here!

This conference will feature guest speakers such as:

  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Disability Justice 101)
  • Koko Thomas (DeafBlind Cultures)
  • Vo Vo (Trauma Informed Care)
  • Galadriel Mozee (Black Lives Matter Memorial Garden)
  • Dorian Taylor (Anti-Black Roots of Mental Health Systems)
  • Shilo George (Body Sovereignty)
  • Nico Serra (Safer Protest Strategies)
  • W. Kibler Hidalgo Rodriguez (Community Healing).

Check out our PRESENTER BIOS below!.

The conference is FREE for everyone who wishes to participate.

Em Cee

Rebel Black (they/them) is descended from African, Choctaw, French, German, and Irish ancestors who lived on land originally inhabited by the Miami, Shawnee, Osage, Chahta Yakni, Chitimacha, Houma, and Atakapa peoples.

They identify as Black and as the multiracial child of multiracial parents. They are also zami (all gender loving, celibate), agender femme, and disabled. They identify as an occupant of liminal between-worlds, doorway, and crossroads spaces. They grew up poor, but are newly middle class by marriage. They are a citizen of the so-called United States. They speak english as a first language. They live on colonized lands. They have white skin privilege.

Rebel founded the Portland Disability Justice Collective and is in training to become a trauma therapist. Their goal is to create a BIPOC therapist collective that integrates the best in evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence and uses traditional, cultural, and spiritual practices, as well as systemic change work, to support our Black, Indigenous, multi-racial, and People of Color communities heal from intergenerational, systemic, and interpersonal trauma.

L’eau est la vie!

Rebel Black Portrait
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Disability Justice 101

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (they/she) is a queer disabled femme writer, organizer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of Tonguebreaker, Bridge of FlowersCare Work: Dreaming Disability JusticeDirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home (ALA Above the Rainbow List, short-listed for the Lambda and Publishing Triangle Awards), Bodymap (short-listed for the Publishing Triangle Award), Love Cake (Lambda Literary Award winner), and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities.  Beyond Survival: Stories and Strategies from the Transformative Justice Movement, which Leah co-edited with Ejeris Dixon, is forthcoming January 21, 2019 (and available for pre-order now.)

Black Lives Matter Memorial Garden

Galadriel Mozee (they/them) is a fat black stemme. A writer, plant whisperer and artist who walks supported by and in honor of their Wolayta, Gullah, Jamaican, Samoan, Russian and Missourian ancestors. They believe in a benevolent universe that holds them tenderly in the cradle of its heart. Galadriel connects to their center through a strong connection to plant medicine and aims to help other disabled, black and queer people stretch their roots into soil and thrive. IG @jockey_coxswain

Vo Vo

Trauma Informed Care in Communities

Vo Vo (they/them) is a radical educator of 10 years in over 20 countries in Inclusion, Refugee Support, Trauma-Informed Care, and Racial Justice. Editor of an internationally renowned publication for People of Color, speaker, curator and musician who has toured in Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the States. Anarchist and local festival organizer. They have trained staff and Board members from over 200 organizations in WA and OR, and worked as a long term Equity consultant for ten local organizations.

STEW: Indigenous Wisdom for Food and Community Care

W Kibler Hidalgo Rodriguez (she/her) is a mother, daughter, wife, auntie, niece and homegirl. She is an Urban NDN, German Jew, queer 2Spirit woman. She is neurodivergent and disabled, lives with chronic pain, all while excelling as a matriarch, survivor, activist, life long learner, artist and generational trauma breaker.

She has a gift for research, sharing information with intention, and being authentic to herself. Her educational background is a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, with a minor in Peace Studies from Manchester University. 

Kibler Hidalgo
Dorian Taylor

Anti-Black Roots of Psychiatry and Mental Health Systems

Dorian Taylor (they/he) has been advocating for the rights of folks living with disabilities and surviving the experiences of institutional violence since their life was changed by that same reality. For the past 7 years, Dorian has paved the way for their own health and well-being, leading by example and supporting others in the community to advocate for themselves for medical and housing needs, conducting interpersonal outreach and community advocacy, and improving relationships between disabled riders and bus drivers. Dorian uses their personal experiences as education to help those in need and serves on the Disability Rights Washington Advisory
Board and Seattle Disability Commission. Dorian is a paralegal supporting incarcerated queer and trans prisoners and abolitionist His other passion is adaptive athletics ,he is a former member of the USA paracanoe team.

Body Sovereignty

Shilo George—who identifies as mixed-race Indigenous, queer, and a person of size—is a social worker with more than twenty years of experience and a master’s degree in adult learning and education from Portland State University. With values rooted in Native cultural and spiritual practices, Shilo praises her communities as the sources of her inspiration, resiliency, and drive.

While seeking her graduate degree, Shilo found herself confronted with depression and in a state of despair, as though she had fallen in a “deep dark hole.” She couldn’t find her way out—therapy, medication, nothing seemed to help. In this time of desperation, she called on her ancestors for help. They answered, encouraging the use of her creative skills to build a way out of the darkness. From this her healing framework, the Body Sovereignty Project, was born.

Drawing from her experiences as a survivor of abuse, Shilo created the Body Sovereignty Project as a trauma-informed framework that focuses on healing relationships with food, being in-body for movement, and healing around sexual trauma. Realizing the positive impact the Body Sovereignty Project could have in her communities, Shilo sought opportunities to share the framework and increase the availability of equitable health care for deviant body types.

Shilo George
Koko Thomas

DeafBlind Cultures

Korian “Koko” DeMont Thomas was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. A true Texan at heart! They are Black DeafBlind. 

Koko attended mainstreamed schools and Gallaudet University and earned a Bachelor’s in Social Work specialized in HIV education. Then attended University of North Texas and earned a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling. And also earned a second Master of Public Administration from Gallaudet University. 

They have been actively involved in diverse projects to educate and advocate more than twenty years. 

Safer Protest Strategies

Nico Serra (they/them) By any means necessary, Nico works to profoundly improve the lives of Black and brown Elders, people with Disabilities, the sick and other oppressed individuals using strategic direct action, systematic policy work and passionate advocacy.

While Nico’s Mother is white, they were born in Detroit to a brown Father of Sicilian, Libyan, Tunisian and Spanish ancestry. Their first memory in life was knowing they’re transgender but it took 30 years to begin tranistion.

Nico was born with a connective tissue disorder that impacts 80% of their body but went undiagnosed until five years after being severely disabled in a bicycle accident that left them unable to pursue life as they knew it.

Previously, they were a certified teacher in Michigan holding a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Nico was a professional touring musician as well as a public middle and high school band director. They worked in the restaurant business and were a Wilderness Guide for several years near Moab, Utah.

Now Nico does prison abolish work as a Board member at Real Choice Initiative (RCI). This young nonprofit has led the effort to get hundreds of Mainstream Section 8 Vouchers for people living in institutions throughout Oregon.

Additionally, RCI recently passed its first state law during the long session of 2019. This groundbreaking legislation provides a real path to independent living for people often forced into institutions simply because they use a wheelchair or have a so-called ‘low intelligence’.

RCI has helped pass numerous ordinances in the City of Portland and is currently working to establish a rental registry system so renters can easily find housing that fits their accessibility needs within their price range. RCI is also conducting the first ever study of people with Disabilities for the City of Portland in collaboration with Portland State University School of Government.

Nico Serra

The Portland Disability Justice Collective would like to thank 
Northwest Health Foundation, Ori Gallery, and The Starling Collective, and generous donors like you 
for supporting us in creating the As We Are: Disability Justice and Community Care conference.

Note: Any monies from individual donors that exceeds the needs of the conference will be used to support access for the PDX DJ Collective activities, events, and gatherings. Thank you again!

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