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Disability Action Center NW

INTERSECTIONALITY- What is it all about?

There has been a lot written about intersectionality over the years – here is a summary:

The term was first coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, an American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory.

Intersectionality means acknowledging that everyone has their own unique experiences of discrimination and privilege. This can come from a combination of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, and other identity markers. And it also includes whether a person has a disability or not.

Intersectionality and how it applies to the Independent Living Movement

Another term comes up when we do this – “cultural competence”. This involves the ability of an individual to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs that differ across cultures as well as the ability to consider and respond appropriately to these differences. How disability is seen and responded to falls into cultural competence. Disability culture acknowledges life with a disability as a way of life and that the life of disabled people is not tragic or devalued. When there is discrimination against a person with a disability, there is also devaluing of the person with that disability.

Many people with disabilities feel that their disability is an integral part of their cultural identity.

1 in 4 adults, 27% of the U.S. adult population, have some sort of a disability. Yet, disability is often left out of conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Earlier this year, Washington State passed the nation’s first Nothing About Us Without Us Act. Nothing About Us Without Us Act (HB 1566) was created to ensure that people with disabilities have full and meaningful participation in decisions that impact them. In the three-year effort to design, promote and pass the bill, the importance of intersectionality helped shape this major Civil Rights milestone. Even though the movement to pass Nothing About Us Without Us began in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) community, the bill benefits all members of every marginalized group in Washington State.

What does the law do?

1. Any group established by the legislature whose activities are related to people with disabilities (PWD) will be required to have at least three members with direct lived experience related to the issues being addressed.

2. The Governors Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE), the WA State Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC), and The Office of Equity must:

· Identify barriers to access and meaningful participation.

· Identify accommodations and changes to stakeholder engagement consistent with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and universal design.

· Ensure that relevant training or guidance is available for legislators.

3. Training material and guidance provided to the legislature must describe the membership requirements, strongly encourage the inclusion of PWD, and include the types of accommodations available.

For More information: TED Talk Video – The urgency of intersectionality | Kimberlé Crenshaw | TED

**Our new address after July 15th will be 222 W Mission Ave Suite 230 in Spokane WA 99201