“Listening to the perspectives of those with lived experience is key to understanding that disability is not a problem to solve but part of the total human experience to embrace.” —Keith Jones
So how can we improve disability inclusion in social justice and overcome ableism? As our movement seeks anti-racist legal reform, access to economic sustainability and employment, quality education, reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, we must include people with disabilities—who cut across all intersecting demographics. And we must be intentional in that inclusion.
Young people have always met challenges head-on, and contemporary youth activists have an ever-increasing set of issues to address—ongoing systemic racism, economic inequality, gun violence, reproductive and human rights, an accelerating climate crisis and more. The unwavering support of committed adults can help young people in their endeavors to realize their power and promote justice.
To today’s youth activists: We see you, we celebrate you and we encourage your work. You are the agents of change for the future.
It is imperative to provide inclusive education because, as GLSEN’s Executive Director, Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, emphasizes, “Accurate and inclusive lessons not only affirm LGBTQ+ students, but also give non-LGBTQ+ students clear information about the diverse world around them and help prepare all young people to navigate and contribute to a multicultural society.”
Immigrant communities continue to strengthen our diverse democracy. Through community organizing, immigrant children and their families are finding ways to navigate difficult situations. In expanding democracy to ensure inclusivity, there is much that we can learn from these efforts and how we can all support immigrant communities and those harmed by discrimination and bias. These LFJ resources can help.
“The reality of racism must be honestly confronted for our society to build a more equitable future for all children.” —Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.