Message from SIG Chair

Disability Studies in Education SIG Statement on Black Lives Matter, Police Brutality, and Anti-Blackness

In an act of resistance and defiance to white supremacy, the Disability Studies in Education SIG leadership is speaking out to condemn all forms of racism, anti-blackness, sexism, ethnic oppression, and other forms of (neo)colonial logic that have been used to justify the recent murders of Ahmaud Aubrey, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, and harassment of Christian Cooper.

No statement is going to be enough; just as no single action is enough. Here, drawing from Black Lives Matter and the BIPOC project (see statements attached), we emphasize the need for collective rebellion against those who embolden racist, sexist, and colonial logics of oppression. Anti-blackness and white supremacy are not new to structures, culture, systems, beliefs, and practices in the U.S. However, they are now so rampant that they are the norm. For us to remain silent is to be complicit with the systematic violence that continues to persist, in particular, among vulnerable multiply marginalized communities. We are in solidarity with our BIPOC friends, colleagues, students, families, neighbors, and peoples that have worked for years/decades/centuries toward abolitionist ends, particularly Black Lives Matters. We reject anti-blackness in all its forms, including within education, inclusion, and DSE itself.

We recognize that racial trauma is real (e.g., PTSE, fear, exhaustion, anger, isolation, etc.) and that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are disproportionately vulnerable to a range of health issues linked consistently to racism, sexism, (neo)colonialism, and ableism. We know change is not achieved by a single individual; It is done among communities uniting together with a shared goal of love, community, respect, and compassion in justice for all. Together, we are stronger. We have much work to do and we recognize that this work will look different for different folx - protesting, reflecting, recognizing, reading, supporting BIPOC businesses and financial contributions to Black Lives Matters, as well as other social justice organizations. Moreover, there is a timely need to support bail funds and cite BIPOC scholars/scholar-activists and community members, while encouraging universities, schools,  corporations, and small businesses to divest from police industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, and all forms of oppressive ideological and repressive state apparatuses. We need to look to our teaching, curriculum, pedagogy, scholarship, and activism as well as our silences and failures.

We encourage all leaders and members within the SIG to make and hold space for BIPOC. To think critically about whiteness and white male heteronormative ableist supremacy, and to take our responsibilities seriously. How do we benefit from, perpetuate, and dismantle the systems and structures that oppress not only ourselves but those most vulnerable? How do we push back against the humans that oppress? How can we structure spaces to (re)center the voices and lived experiences of BIPOC from all walks of life without co-opting their time and energy? These are but a few questions we ask in solidarity for our membership to consider critically.

Say Their Names - Their Lives Matter

We stand/sit/roll/limp/breathe/gaze/gesture/build in solidarity with you

Danielle Cowley, Holly Pearson, Saili Kulkarni, Amanda Miller, Phillip Boda, Katie Newhouse, Keri Rodgers, and María Cioè-Peña

Black Lives Matter, “What We Believe”: Retrieved from

Black Lives Matter began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Our intention from the very beginning was to connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities. The impetus for that commitment was, and still is, the rampant and deliberate violence inflicted on us by the state.

Enraged by the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, and inspired by the 31-day takeover of the Florida State Capitol by POWER U and the Dream Defenders, we took to the streets. A year later, we set out together on the Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson, in search of justice for Mike Brown and all of those who have been torn apart by state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Forever changed, we returned home and began building the infrastructure for the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which, even in its infancy, has become a political home for many.

Ferguson helped to catalyze a movement to which we’ve all helped give life. Organizers who call this network home have ousted anti-Black politicians, won critical legislation to benefit Black lives, and changed the terms of the debate on Blackness around the world. Through movement and relationship building, we have also helped catalyze other movements and shifted culture with an eye toward the dangerous impacts of anti-Blackness.

These are the results of our collective efforts.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network is as powerful as it is because of our membership, our partners, our supporters, our staff, and you. Our continued commitment to liberation for all Black people means we are continuing the work of our ancestors and fighting for our collective freedom because it is our duty.

Every day, we recommit to healing ourselves and each other, and to co-creating alongside comrades, allies, and family a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported.

We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate differences and commonalities.

We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.

We intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.

We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a prerequisite for wanting the same for others.

We see ourselves as part of the global Black family, and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black people who exist in different parts of the world.

We are guided by the fact that all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.

We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.

We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.

We build a space that affirms Black women and is free from sexism, misogyny, and environments in which men are centered.

We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.

We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work.

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.

We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.

The BIPOC Project: Retrieved from

Our Mission

The BIPOC Project aims to build authentic and lasting solidarity among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), in order to undo Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy and advance racial justice.

We use the term BIPOC to highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context. We unapologetically focus on and center relationships among BIPOC folks.

Our Thinking

This nation is firmly entrenched in maintaining white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism. This reality has been resisted in multiple ways, including organizing led by and among various communities of color for survival. However, many efforts still focus only on combating white supremacy, with limited attention to the way communities of color adopt and reinforce these harms amongst ourselves and against other marginalized groups in a “race towards the bottom” for naming our pain.  As a result, many multiracial BIPOC communities continue to be challenged to develop authentic and accountable inter-group relationships despite a shared struggle under white supremacy. These challenges often undermine anti-racist organizing among people of color because each community is differently shaped and situated depending on intersectional issues and identities.

BIPOC Project Solidarity Principles

1.Decolonize Stories - Seek, learn, share and affirm the distinct histories of BIPOC communities; and unlearn dominant narratives

2.Develop a Power Analysis - Consider how each BIPOC community is differently situated in the racial hierarchy and differently affected by issues

3.Uplift Native and Black Humanity - Honor the legacies of Native and Black resistance to colonization and white supremacy; and actively examine how disparities and injustices uniquely affect Native and Black communities

4.Organize Your People – ‘Call in’ your communities to deeper understanding and empathy for all BIPOC communities with love and compassion

5.Build Intergroup Connections and Relationships – Build just relationships; and invest in one another’s liberation

6.Commit to Personal and Collective Healing – Practice both individual and community care; acknowledge ruptures and invite connection; and center healing and transformative justice