Festival 2020


Posted June 27th, 2020.

Dear friends of Disability Pride Madison,

We know folks have been waiting to hear more information about the Disability Pride Madison 2020 Festival. Members of DPM have been in conversation since the beginning of the year about what changes need to be made to move forward in the current landscape. That being said, the festival is going to look different this year.

We will NOT be hosting an in person festival. Disabled communities continue to be some of the hardest hit by COVID-19, and endangering the lives of anyone with a festival is an irresponsible, unnecessary, and potentially deadly risk we are not willing to take.

We recognize the need to continue community building; we WILL be hosting virtual opportunities now through the month of August (and beyond). At this time, we must build a community that resists the increasing police violence against Black people. It is estimated that one third to one half of Black people killed by police are people with disabilities or in a mental health crisis. We mourn the loss of Ethan Saylor, Charleena Lyles, Stephon Watts, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tanisha Anderson, Deborah Danner, Ezell Ford, Alfred Olango, Tony Robinson and Keith Lamont Scott, along with many, many others. Police violence also has caused or increased the disabilities of Black people like Fannie Lou Hamer, Reginald “Neli” Latson and Gilberto Powell. The disability community needs to support all people with disabilities, especially those of us that are most vulnerable.

To that end, these virtual opportunities WILL be centering the voices, art, needs, experiences, and lives of Black people and Black Disabled people and communities, in Madison and beyond.

What does that look like?

First, we will be following the leadership of Freedom Inc, Urban Triage, and other Black-led organizations during this critical time- including Black disability justice advocates at a national level. When they put out a call, we will be amplifying it to the disabled communities of Madison and doing what we can to participate. Some of the actions and conversations we have will be local - Madison based, Wisconsin based. Some will not be.

Second, we’ll be doing a short political education series the month of August to center the voices of Black Disabled people. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page for more information on this.

Third, we’ll be hosting a virtual gallery of Black Disabled creators and artists. All artists will be paid a stipend from the grant funds that we typically would have used during a physical festival to pay for space, equipment, etc.

We want to emphasize now and commit once more to the racial justice work that is critical to existing as a predominantly white organization that seeks to root itself in disability justice. If you have any questions, please DM our pagel. We’re also available to take calls with questions - just send us some times you’re available and we will have one of our members call you.

Thank you for being patient with this news and for your support in our commitment to Black Disabled lives.

In solidarity,

The Disability Pride Madison Team

A stylized timeline labeled "Disability Pride Madison 2019-2020 Annual Report".   August 2019 - Evaluation. Evaluated 2019 festival over the course of several meetings, rested, and began planning for next year.  September 2019 - Municipal Protest. Members attended a city council meeting to protest implementation of a city-wide straw ban that would overwhelmingly impact disabled communities.  November 2019 - Grant Proposal. Turned in an grant proposal for just short of $120,000 to the Wisconsin Idea; ultimately not accepted.  December 2019 - K-12 Activism. Members spoke in protest at the Madison Metropolitan School Board meeting that they were buying a building to house only students with disability in a non-integrated setting.  February 2020 - Bringing Talent to Madison. Planned with UW GSCC to bring Cuba Cub & Rebirth Garments in April. Co-sponsored Gaelynn Lea at the High Noon Saloon.  March 2020 - Conference. Accepted to do a panel discussion at  State Gender and Women’s Studies Conference.  April 2020 - Virtual Festival Pivot. As it became clear a physical festival would not be possible due to COVID-19, began researching options for hosting a virtual festival.  May 2020 - Black Disabled Virtual Showcase. Opened applications for showcase for Black Disabled Creatives; hosting 26 artists who are each being paid a $250 stipend.  July 2020 - New Membership. Gained one new member and received interest for joining from another member.  August 2020 - #ADA30. Hosted a watch party of 13th; membership continued to be hard-hit by pandemic so group worked on sharing resources via social media and Black Disabled Virtual Showcase.  At the bottom is the logo for Disability Pride Madison and the text "Thank you to our incredible sponsors, collaborators, donors and community for a wonderful year! We're so excited to continue celebrating Disability Pride with you!"