Op Ed

Juneteenth Reflection

Risa Jaz-Rifkind
June 16, 2022

With Juneteenth just days away, Disability Lead is once again reflecting on our work and role in fighting anti-Blackness. We honor those who are using this now and long overdue federally recognized holiday to celebrate Black culture and liberation. We also want to make clear that our commitment is unwavering.  

We believe that our leaders will change the world. At the heart of our work, we ensure there are strong disability perspectives in leadership spaces. We do this through our Connections. It is our responsibility to make sure we are advancing our leaders equitably. Simply, we want to ensure our most-marginalized leaders are equitably advancing their leadership goals. We track our impact in terms of Connections, so this year we are investing in creating structures to not only help keep ourselves accountable, but to keep our partners accountable as well. We hope the collected data will also reveal how we can support sustained equity by providing specific resources to give specific people what they need.  

Another way we are advancing our commitment is that in 2021 we launched the Collab. The Collab uplifts the work needed to create a truly equitable, inclusive, and just society by holding space for racial justice advocates and disability justice advocates. Today, the Collab is a membership of over 60 individuals, and growing, who are committed to cross-justice movement solidarity.  

In 2022, we are working on systems and structures that allow us to regularly track and evaluate the equity of Connections alongside opportunities to hold our partners accountable. And we are continuing to explore how we, as an organization, can actively push against white supremacist culture by working through our internal operations guided by CROAR and an antiracist transformation team composed of staff, Members, and board members.  

As Audre Lorde said, “Without community, there is no liberation…but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.” So we seek to create a world where our differences are celebrated, cherished, and valued. And we invite you to join us.  

Op Ed