• March 14, 2018
  • 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • California Institute of Integral Studies
    1453 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
Add to Calendar 03/14/2018 7:00 pm 03/14/2018 9:00 pm America/Los_Angeles Living Disability Living Disability, A BIG IDEAS Talk with Sara Acevedo California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
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Pre-registration - $10
Members - $8
At the Door - $15

This is the first event in the current BIG IDEAS series.
Click here for details and save when you purchase a series pass.


How often do we hear directly from members of disabled communities about their experience? How does the language we use to talk about disability affect our own mindsets, and on a larger scale, the way society treats disabled communities?

Mainstream narratives of disability often exclude the experiences and perspectives of the various disability communities, which results in misinformation and erasure. Even the language used to describe disability, and the terminology used to refer to disabled people, erases and excludes. Common vocabulary around disability is based on an understanding of disability as an individual ‘problem' or ‘deficit' that must be cured or hidden. This mindset and language make disability synonymous with systematic social exclusion, particularly in Western modern societies, where disabled people are routinely perceived as a burden and accordingly subjected to everyday stigma, structural and physical violence, and cultural neglect.

Join Sara Acevedo for this talk inviting participants to learn about disability culture and identity, including language use, from the perspective of grassroots and scholarly disability communities themselves. She brings her own experiences as a brown, disabled (autistic) scholar and disability justice advocate working hand in hand with local, national, and transnational grassroots disability communities.

This event is wheelchair accessible and strictly scent and fragrance free. ASL Interpretation is available upon request. Please contact CIIS Public Programs at (415) 575-6175 or publicprograms@ciis.edu for access needs and accommodations.

Sara M. Acevedo (Neurowitch) is an autistic mestiza, educator, and disability justice advocate born and raised in Colombia. Her background is in disability studies and activist anthropology. Sara is adjunct faculty in interdisciplinary studies and a doctoral candidate in Anthropology and Social Change at the CIIS. She also currently serves as diversity and disability advocacy fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at CIIS.

Her dissertation work revolves around the experiences of autistic grassroots leaders, educators and public intellectuals based in Berkeley, California. The work of these leaders is unprecedented in disability service provision, since they themselves design, implement and oversee two community-based transition programs serving autistic and otherwise neurodivergent youth in the Bay Area. They do so by following a model of education that they have themselves created and applied in practice, the principles of liberatory education, multiple voices in the neurodiversity movement as well as a set of other disability justice strategies. With their work, they are bringing a whole new set of possibilities for intellectually and developmentally disabled youth to safely engage in their own communities of choice.

Sara has recently collaborated with US grassroots leaders in the Mental Health movement, The Mad Pride Movement, and the Neurodiversity Movement in order to potentialize cross-dialogue and coalition building. This collaboration emphasizes shared political and educational aims while honoring the multiplicity of lived experiences that each bring to the table.

Sara is co-founder of the Spanish blog Autismo, Liberación y Orgullo, alongside co-author Mónica Vidal Gutiérrez, another autistic Colombian woman and mother to an autistic son. The blog is a political, educational and informational response to the lack of literature, resources, grassroots materials and activist narratives authored by Spanish-speaking autistics and otherwise neurodivergent people in Spanish speaking countries, where the primacy of the medical and the charity model of disability is still strong.

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