Autistic Disability Rights Activist Lydia X. Z. Brown to Speak at St. Mary's College

Disability Justice is a radically intersectional framework necessary to sharpen our political analysis, clarify our policy demands, and shape our everyday activism and organizing practice. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Disability Justice offers urgent and vital interventions for addressing and ending the myriad harms of race science/eugenics, the medical/carceral industrial complex, and capitalist oppression. Co-created by Black and Brown and queer and trans disabled people, Disability Justice enables us to understand and examine interpersonal, systemic, structural, and institutional ableism and its intersections with gender based oppressions, capitalism, settler-colonialism, and white supremacy.

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work has largely focused on interpersonal and state violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and language. They are Policy Counsel for the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Adjunct Lecturer in Disability Studies for Georgetown University's Department of English; and Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They are also founder and volunteer director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. Currently, they serve as a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports, presidential appointee to the American Bar Association's Commission on Disability Rights, and chairperson of the American Bar Association's Section on Civil Rights & Social Justice, Disability Rights Committee. Lydia is co-editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu.

Previously, Lydia worked on disability rights and algorithmic fairness at Georgetown Law's Institute for Tech Law and Policy, served as Justice Catalyst Legal Fellow for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and worked at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network as a member of the national policy team. They are former Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University, Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

In 2015, Lydia was named to Pacific Standard's 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 list, and to Mic's list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. In 2018, NBC featured them as one of 26 Asian Pacific American breakthrough leaders for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Amplifier featured them as part of the We The Future campaign for youth activism. Most recently, Lydia was named to Gold House Foundation's A100 list of the most impactful Asians in America for 2020. Their work appears in numerous scholarly and community publications, and they have received many awards for their work, including from the Obama White House, the Society for Disability Studies, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Washington Peace Center, the Disability Policy Consortium, and the National Council on Independent Living. 

Lydia is nonbinary, queer, and ace, and an East Asian, Chinese American survivor of transracial and transnational adoption. They are currently creating art and written offerings for their own tarot deck, titled Disability Justice Wisdom Tarot. Often, their most important work in their communities has no title, job description, or funding, and probably never will.

Disability Justice Is Our Liberation: Understanding Ableism Across Movements & Freedom Struggles


Wednesday, January 20, 2021 - 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Zoom Link:
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