Big Sandy chapter hosts Disability Justice workshop | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Big Sandy chapter hosts Disability Justice workshop

Members of the Big Sandy chapter – inspired by the disability justice workshop at the annual meeting – came together in Prestonsburg to organize a local Disability Justice Workshop.

Led by Tiffany Pyette of Floyd County and Tina Jackson of Lawrence County, the workshop served as a collaborative learning space for participants to ask questions, share their experiences and build community with each other.

As part of the icebreaker, folks shared how they were showing up in the space that evening. The question invites people to check in with their body and mind and to answer the question as honestly as possible so that people can feel comfortable in having a need(s) and also comfortable in having that need met.

“It was so wonderful to discuss how we can use community care to achieve disability justice in our community at our workshop,” shared Pyette. “The room was collaborative and caring, just like the disability justice movement itself.”

After grounding everyone in some history of the disability justice movement and some common terms, people were asked to share what kind of barriers to access that they see in their communities. They brainstormed a wide-ranging list that included things such as the lack of public transportation in eastern Kentucky, telephones that use automated voice recordings, lack of mental health services, and the Kentucky state capitol building. 

Many people in the room shared their experience with the increasing costs of medical care, which Pyette neatly summed up by saying, “As long as care isn’t accessible to the poor, it’s a barrier.”

The workshop closed with a discussion about how everyone can help people participate as their full selves while simultaneously building a society where the barriers people face are eliminated. 

Participants had interpersonal suggestions like getting comfortable checking in with each other, learning sign language, or offering rides or carpooling. Suggestions for the chapter included having events that are sensory friendly or creating group norms where people can ask for clarification around unfamiliar words or ideas.

Participants were excited about continuing to learn about Disability Justice and continuing to integrate it into the chapter and KFTC’s work.

“Disability justice is one way that we can genuinely choose each other and use community care to be the kind of Kentucky that protects, uplifts and values everyone.” Pyette reminded folks.