White People with Disabilities — We Must Show Up for Black Lives

by Amanda Stahl, SURJ Disability Access Co-Coordinator

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We as white folks with disabilities must show up in this moment with Black disabled folks and examine the police state that we are living in. As white disabled folks, we are called to put these connections together and take action to further our collective liberation.

50 percent of black men killed by the police are disabled. Police use their medical conditions as justification for violence against them. In the most extreme cases, this results in death. Many Black disabled folks don’t have the privilege to speak openly about their disabled identity because of the already-perceived threat that their Blackness brings. Putting another label on them makes them even more of a target.

The system is ableist and racist. It’s all about compliance and control of the body. The state does not fund these programs that people with disabilities need, and instead fund the police force and the military. This leads to abuse and neglect, and lack of choice in what we can do. This leads to people being numbers and not people. It is a profit-based system.

Society has the best intentions of wanting to protect disabled folks. As a result, they end up hurting us because they disconnect us from our communities. We need to build better social networks and social support for people. The state tries to separate marginalized people by saying that we need different things. We all need the same things, like emotional support. We are stronger together, but they are trying to keep us separated. When we are together then we have more power. We must realize that the way that society polices people in the Black and disabled communities is not by accident. They make profit off of their policing.They profit off policing the bodies of all marginalized people.

1. Share this piece on social media with the hashtags:


2. Post and comment about the connections you experience between ableism and white supremacy.

3. Join the #SixNineteen mobilization on Juneteenth weekend, June 19–21, 2020. Take action in front of the White House, in your community, or at home.

4. Join Showing Up for Racial Justice — we are building a base of white people with disabilities who are showing up to dismantle white supremacy. Join us by signing up and we’ll be in touch about ways to build with us for the long-haul.

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SURJ is a national network that moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice.

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