PANEL DISCUSSIONS & WORKSHOPS

We have offered interactive workshops & panel discussions since 2016 at universities, colleges, community organizations, and businesses throughout the state. Our work brings a disability justice and kyriarchal (kyriarchy is a term that extends patriarchy to encompass and connect to other structures of oppression and privilege, such as racism, ableism, capitalism, etc.) feminist lens to social justice activism. Informed by our many years of community organizing, we offer nuanced perspectives of resilience and resistance from historically oppressed people.

Our collective members represent a wide breadth of disciplines from library & information science and microbiology to diverse healing modalities and the arts. We are skilled in public speaking, event planning and facilitation, teaching new skills and concepts, and workshop presentation.

All workshops are offered in virtual and in-person formats and can be customized to the needs of your organization.

               

Skip to: Disability Justice 101  ·  Disability Visibility & Erasure in Media  ·  Intersections of Oppression: Disability & Race   · Putting the “I” Back in Our Team: Intersex Solidarity   ·  Body Love for “Imperfect Bodies”  ·  Crafting Justice: Self Care Toolkit   ·   Cuentos: DIY Resilience Storytelling & Zine Making Workshop  ·  Ableism in the Professional Sphere  ·  Care Work From Both Sides

              

Disability Justice 101

Disability, chronic illness, and neurodiversity are present throughout human populations regardless of color, class, or creed. Famed writer Susan Sontag informs us that “we are all subject to dual citizenship in the land of the well and the land of the ill.” Perhaps the most onerous parts of being disabled are due to the oppression disabled folks face at the hands of able-bodied, “sane,” and neurotypical populations.

Join the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective for an informative workshop on the emergence and development of Disability Justice activism; a modern civil rights movement. We will discuss many topics and concepts of ableism and saneism (the forms of marginality disabled people encounter) including: Patty Berne of Sins Invalid’s Principles of Disability Justice, Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory, johanna hedva’s Sick Woman Theory, and more. Our workshop will close with a discussion on how folks can learn to stand in solidarity with disabled people in their lives, and how to appropriately support and affirm disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill people.

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Disability Visibility & Erasure in Media

Media has a powerful influence over how disabled folks are represented in the world and how we see (and don’t see) ourselves. It has the power to shape the public’s understanding of the disabled communities, encourage empathy for disabled folks, and support communication between able-bodied and disabled people by focusing on our similarities. Yet from Charles Dickens’ Tiny Tim Cratchit to Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump the media has often done a disservice to disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill folks, especially those who hold multiple marginalized identities. This workshop will explore topics such as disability erasure, using disabled people as stereotypes, villains and amoral people, whitewashing and Westernizing disabled people, and/or limiting “positive,” representations of disabled people as inspirational and/or tragic.

This workshop will be presented as a decentralized dialogue based around the representations of disability, chronic illness and neurodiversity in the media, with a particular focus on representations of femmes, women and transgender people who are inadequately represented across all forms of media. Our events will create a space for disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent people to express and share their personal experiences, stories and truths. The participatory structure of the conversation is vital for breaking down the hierarchies that often exist within the presenter-listener dynamic and creating an environment where individuals can feel more comfortable being vulnerable. Rather than a traditional workshop or panel where the audience’s primary role is that of the listener, we plan on presenting an event where a variety of stories, experiences, compensations, truths, identities, challenges and successes (to name just a few aspects) from both the audience and the panelists are represented, shared, heard, supported, and affirmed.

While this discussion is open to all and we highly encourage allies to attend this event, this discussion is designed to prioritize centering the voices of disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill LGBTQIA+ folks. We hope that allies will step back and actively listen, engage, reflect, and inquire about how to support and affirm disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill people within this vulnerable space we are hoping to create, while keeping in mind the physical and emotional labor of the audience and presenters. We will, however, provide a brief audience educational grounding on major concepts within disability activism and communities, what makes a good (and poor) ally, and how to create and support positive representations of disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill people in various media. We will also be providing zines (self-published booklets) with additional resources for all participants so that they can further explore these topics and experiences.

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Intersections of Oppression: Disability & Race

The author of intersectionality theory, Dr. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, aptly said that “cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated but are bound together by the intersectional systems of society.” Those who are most marginalized in society are those who fall under multiple forms of radicalize based social stratification. This event aims to provide a brave space for people of color to discuss how systemic and institutional racism effects the bodies and minds of people of color. We will be delving into topics like environmental racism, epigenetic trauma, the prison industrial complex, medical apartheid & eugenics, industrialism & capitalism, and more in our effort to raise community awareness and encourage active resistance.

This event is based upon a decentralized dialogue around the intersections of disability, chronic illness and neurodiversity within transgender, queer, and intersex communities with a primary focus upon the experiences of people of color. So often these topics and intersections are silenced within spaces or avoided. We always hope that our dialogue will create a space focused upon overcoming this silence by expressing, sharing, learning and hopefully healing while also opening doors to further dialogues and events. This event will create a space for disabled people of color to express and share their personal experiences, stories and truths. The participatory structure of the conversation is vital for breaking down the hierarchies that often exist within the presenter-listener dynamic. Rather than a traditional workshop or panel where the audience’s primary role is that of the listener, we plan on presenting an event where a variety of stories, experiences, compensations, truths, identities, challenges and successes (to name just a few aspects) from both the audience and the panelists are represented, shared, heard, supported, and affirmed.

This workshop will be a closed space for people of color, and will also prioritize centering the voices of disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill LGBTQIA+ folks. We hope that allies will step back and actively listen, engage, reflect, and inquire about how to support and affirm disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill people within this vulnerable space we are hoping to create. These conversations are frequently emotionally charged events that may be difficult for some marginalized folks to participate in. Despite being a space centering disabled, neurodivergent, and chronically ill people we will be providing a brief audience-lead educational grounding on major concepts of disability justice, a group discussion on what makes a good (and a poor) able-bodied ally, and a zine (educational booklet) with resources for participants to further explore these topics and experiences. We encourage all who attend to prioritize their mental and physical wellbeing. Our facilitating panelists are experienced in fostering a safe environment for community dialogue and healing for queer, trans, and intersex disabled communities of color, and will do their utmost to assure that the space remains a safe place for vulnerable sharing and learning.

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Putting the “I” Back in Our Team: Intersex Solidarity

Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics (chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals) that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies, and comprise 4% of the total human population. Strangely though despite left handed people and redheads making up similar proportions of the population, neither of these groups face the same stigma or state-sanctioned violence that the intersex community and people face. Join us for a deep discussion on the intersex identity and experience including a brief medical and historical overview, and discussion of current community issues of visibility and erasure both within and outside of the LGBTQIA+ Community. Facilitators will help lead a group discussion among all in attendance fostering a non-hierarchical horizontal power structure where everyone’s voice is valued. This structures allows attendees to ask respectful questions of the facilitators, and allow the facilitators to pose questions to the attendees. This structure also allows the facilitators to guide the conversation in order to build better intercommunity and intersectional connections within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and allies.

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Body Love for “Imperfect Bodies”

CrimethInc’s Nigel Davis wrote that “beauty must be defined as what we are, or else the concept itself is our enemy.” Who gets to embody beauty, desire, power, and strength? How do we navigate the world with bodies which are not given inherent value and worth as marginalized people? How do we heal and reconcile with our bodies and minds on our own terms? Join us for a workshop and community discussion on body love that explores how ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation intersect. We will also be discussing how these factors are influenced by oppression, and how we can use them with a kyriarchal (multi-identity based) feminist framework to develop a resistance and resilience within ourselves and our communities to protect and honor our bodies and our self-worth.

This event is a dialogue based around the intersections of disability, chronic illness and neurodiversity within transgender, queer, and intersex communities with a focus upon body issues such as: desirability politics, ableism, fat acceptance, how we see our bodies, what the body means to us, and body love. We will facilitate a nuanced discussion on the politics of gender and the body through the use of kyriarchal feminist and disability justice framework in order to facilitate a community deconstruction of societal standards imposed upon bodies and genders, and encourage a reevaluation of our worth and our bodies as marginalized individuals. The event will close with a reflection and reconciliatory creative writing exercise that participants can take home.

The event will create a space for disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent people to express and share their personal experiences, stories and truths. The participatory structure of our conversation will be vital for breaking down the hierarchies that often exist within the presenter-listener dynamic. Rather than a traditional workshop or panel where the audience’s primary role is that of the listener, we plan on presenting an event where a variety of stories, experiences, compensations, truths, identities, challenges and successes (to name just a few aspects) from both the audience and the panelists are represented, shared, heard, supported, and affirmed.

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Crafting Justice: Self Care Toolkit

Audre Lorde taught us that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Self-care has become a phrase that has often become synonymous especially within millennial culture with passé sentiments. For many Self Care conjures images of bath bombs, facial sheet masks, and large amounts of ice cream or sweets, and not the calling towards self-preservation that Lorde intended. As marginalized people our access to the types of self-indulgence that modern self-care culture suggests is limited, yet our need for radical acts of personal maintenance is greater than for others because we wrestle with more hardships than our more privileged counterparts. This brings up the question, how do we reconcile our need for self-care with the demands of an oppressive world? Perhaps the answer lies inside the concept of decolonizing and decapitalizing of self-care. By the removal of the Instagram hashtag and instead replacing it with earnest efforts at self-love and compassion.

This workshop is an interactive crafting experience and community discussion where participants to build and decorate their own self-care toolkit using a multitude of crafting supplies provided by the facilitators. It will also include an honest group exchange on developing realistic self-care strategies that honor our body, mind, and spirit’s need to rest, heal, and regenerate to create a wellspring of wholeness that supports us as we navigate through life’s challenges.

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Cuentos: DIY Resilience Storytelling & Zine Making Workshop

Some argue that when Martin Luther hammered his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the door at Castle Church in 1517, he created the first zine. Zines are independent, informal, self-published works created for the purpose of recreation or as a means of sharing ideas using words, images, art, and other tools of production. In the US, zines can be traced all the way back to the Revolutionary War colonial pamphlets, and broadsides produced by Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin. While some say that zines had their heyday in the early to mid-twentieth century through pop- and sub-culture fan zines for science fiction and horror films, comic books, and rock music, they have also been widely repurposed in modern times as an accessible form of storytelling that fosters connections among often socially disenfranchised and oppressed communities. Zines continue to be a powerful agent of social and political change.

Today zines are often used as a multi-media healing modality that employ an art therapy approach to express, and validate the experiences of hardship and trauma. Zine making facilitates a healthy method of processing and recording stories that honor and empower the creator’s voice; allowing them the chance to reframe sometimes difficult memories as resilience narratives.

Come join culture worker, historian, and community organizer Lilac Vylette Maldonado, librarians and community archivists within the Hatfield System, and fellow seasoned zinesters from the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective for a workshop that is both a brief Zine History 101 and an Interactive Zine-Crafting Experience in which participants will have the opportunity to learn about and create their own personal resilience narrative mini-zine. The members of Los Angeles Spoonie Collective are community organizers and educators, and while not licensed mental health professionals we are a professional organization centered on disability justice, and our members are all experts in our own experiences with disability, neurodiversity, and chronic illness.

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Ableism in the Professional Sphere

Disabled, Chronically Ill, and Neurodivergent people work and struggle twice as hard, and get half as far as their able bodied and neurotypical peers in the professional sphere. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report, only 17.5% of disabled folks are gainfully employed, and this statistic plummets as other marginalized identities are considered. Disabled people experience discrimination in every aspect of their professional lives, starting from the interview process and accommodation requests and beyond; they are frequently underestimated and undervalued, treated paternalistically by teachers and superiors, denied opportunities and promotions, and doubted for their abilities, achievements or intelligence. According to Gabel and Connor, authors of the essay “Theorizing Disability: Implications and Applications for Social Justice Education,”the widespread practice of ability-based segregation of students with disabilities perpetuates stigma, leads to low expectations and a watered down curriculum, and renders children with disabilities a marginalized group within schools.” In our panel we hope to address the concept of ableism in professional settings within a panel that is designed by and for disabled, neurodiverse, and chronically ill communities. This panel will include the topics of addressing and working to fight ableism within schools, workplaces, medical establishment, government and governmental spaces, businesses, and other professional settings. Also hope to help our community support and advocate with finding ways to advocate for changes in these problematic settings. 

This workshop will be presented as a decentralized dialogue based around the representations of disability, chronic illness and neurodiversity in the professional and academic sector, with a particular focus on representations of femmes, women and transgender people who experience ableism, along with other intersecting forms of oppression in school or the workplace. Our events will create a space for disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent people to express and share their personal experiences, stories and truths. The participatory structure of the conversation is vital for breaking down the hierarchies that often exist within the presenter-listener dynamic and creating an environment where individuals can feel more comfortable being vulnerable. Rather than a traditional panel where the audience’s primary role is that of the listener, we plan on presenting an event where a variety of stories, experiences, compensations, truths, identities, challenges and successes (to name just a few aspects) from both the audience and the panelists are represented, shared, heard, supported, and affirmed. We can structure this workshop as a closed space panel and community dialogue for disabled folks only in order to create an event that is by and for the communities we represent, and so the space can be as affirming and supportive as possible of a place where people can feel safe being vulnerable.

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Care Work from Both Sides

The topic of Care Work is seldom addressed by social justice spaces, perhaps because our society devalues Care Work as it does all “women’s work,” yet there is so much nuance to be discussed at this intersection of disability and labor. Our collective presents a 60 minute panel discussion, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session led by disabled individuals who have worked as caregivers to sick and disabled folks, or have received services from caregivers. We will dive into the topics of ableism, community interdependence, vulnerability and shame of care recipients, accessibility, emotional and invisible labor, and more.

This panel will be presented as a decentralized dialogue based around the representations of disability, chronic illness and neurodiversity in the professional and academic sector, with a particular focus on representations of femmes, women and transgender people who experience ableism, along with other intersecting forms of oppression in Care Work. Our events will create a space for disabled, chronically ill, and neurodivergent people to express and share their personal experiences, stories and truths. The participatory structure of the conversation is vital for breaking down the hierarchies that often exist within the presenter-listener dynamic and creating an environment where individuals can feel more comfortable being vulnerable. Rather than a traditional panel where the audience’s primary role is that of the listener, we plan on presenting an event where a variety of stories, experiences, compensations, truths, identities, challenges and successes (to name just a few aspects) from both the audience and the panelists are represented, shared, heard, supported, and affirmed. Potential attendees include both disabled and able-bodied individuals with an interest in kyriarchal social justice community discussion on Care Work. We anticipate mostly women and femme caregivers of color will attend, since Care Work, paid or unpaid, is often relegated to them.

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