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. The new form for exhibiting can be found here.
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.
The Disability Pride Madison Team