Disability justice in the fight for racial equity

Join us for a transformative multisession, multiday, forum centering in-depth, action-oriented conversations on the intersections of racial equity and disability justice.

Disability justice* is a cross-disability and cross-social justice movement that centers intersectional identities led by those who have been most impacted by systemic oppression. It insists that our worth is inherent and tied to the liberation of all people.

Disability exists in every facet of society including in immigrant communities, in Black and Brown communities, in LGBTQIA+ communities, in Indigenous Communities and every community in between.

This four-part series cements the connection between racial equity and disability justice. Local and nationally recognized social justice activists will share their stories, strategies, and hopes for the future. Following each panel discussion and presentation, we invite you to join breakout groups that will be facilitated by Advancing Leadership Members:

  • Adam Ballard, Access Living
  • Timotheus Gordon Jr., University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Angel Miles, Access Living
  • Anne Nash, Google
  • Jewel Holly Ware, Jewels of Success

Registration for each day is required and separate. Though we encourage you to attend the entire forum, you can attend however your schedule allows as they can be standalone discussions.

Who should participate?

We believe we should all be active in antiracism and disability justice work. This forum is for:

  • Social justice activists
  • Nonprofit leaders and staff
  • Philanthropy leaders and staff
  • Government workers
  • Emerging leaders in any sector
  • Private sector leaders
  • Those who want to be part of change

The forum is developed in partnership with Andraéa LaVant

Andraéa LaVant is founder and president of LaVant Consulting, Inc. (LCI), a social impact communications firm that offers cutting-edge corporate development and content marketing for brands and nonprofits. LCI's specialty is helping brands "speak disability with confidence." As a communications consultant and inclusion specialist, Andraéa has over a decade of experience working with programs that support youth and adults with disabilities and other underserved populations. Her professional roles and personal advocacy have presented her with a variety of notable opportunities to share messages and prompt change for people with disabilities across the globe. She currently serves as the impact producer for Netflix’s feature-length documentary, Crip Camp, where she is charged with leading the campaign’s efforts to promote understanding of disability as a social justice issue and build across lines of difference. Andraéa is a strong advocate for exploring disability from an intersectional lens and offers a unique perspective on the initiatives that she supports.

Smiling African-American woman wearing black turquoise and purple cat-eye glasses. She is wearing a black dress with red, purple, peach and turquoise flowers on it as well as peach floral earrings and red lipstick. Her hair is chin length natural curls. Although not depicted, she's a power wheelchair user.
Andraéa LaVant

Session 1 details with headshots of Derrick and Jared.

From access to liberation: race and disability, racism and ableism

Courageous Conversation
September 29, 4-5:30pm CST
—This event has passed—

Speaking authentically about race and disability requires courage and intention. Presented by Chicago ROAR, the first session explores the strong connection and history of race, disability, and the intersectional justice movements that have advanced the rights of people of color and people with disabilities. This groundwork will provide a common understanding for the rest of the series.

ASL and CART captioning provided.


  • Derrick Dawson, Chicago ROAR
  • Jared Sprowls, Chicago ROAR

Breakout conversation: How is racism and ableism experienced in our communities, policymaking, and social systems?

Recap, video, and transcript

From Access to Liberation recap

From Access to Liberation video

From Access to Liberation transcript

Session 2 flyer with purple, pink, and orange chevron theme,  with event details and headshots of Leroy, Xavier, Jae, Benji, and Dior.

Building intersectional movements: disability justice and racial equity

October 14, 4–5:30 p.m, CST
—This event has passed—

Organizers from the disability justice and racial equity movements will discuss current successes and losses, and how a cross-justice framework liberates all of us. Personal stories will underscore the power and need for intersectional movements.

The roundtable will begin with a reading by Leroy Moore.

ASL and CART captioning provided.


  • Leroy Moore, Krip-Hop Nation


  • Xavier Ramey, Justice Informed


  • Jae Jin Pak, social justice advocate
  • Benji Hart, author, artist, and educator
  • Dior Vargas, queer Latina feminist mental health activist

Breakout conversation: How can we better align race and disability in our movement building strategies?

Recap, video, and transcript

Building Intersectional Movements recap

Building Intersectional Movements video

Building Intersectional Movements transcript

Session 3 details with headshots of Rachel and Candace.

Setting an equity agenda: a city hall perspective

Fireside Chat
October 22, 4–5:30 p.m. CST
—This event has passed—

Featuring Rachel Arfa and Candace Moore, this "fireside chat" will illuminate the ways in which local government, in any city or region, should connect disability and race in its policy making.

ASL and CART captioning provided.


  • Rachel Arfa, City of Chicago, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner
  • Candace Moore, City of Chicago, Chief Equity Officer

Breakout conversation: How can I get involved in setting an inclusive and equitable policy agenda in my community?

Recap, video, and transcript

Setting an Equity Agenda recap

Setting an Equity Agenda video

Setting an Equity Agenda transcript

Session 4 details with headshots of Ayanna, Rebecca, Candace, Lydia, Victoria, and Danyelle.

Mapping our paths towards liberation

Fireside Chat | Roundtable
October 27, 4–5:30 p.m. CST

Meaningful change includes systemic change. National disability and racial justice policy advocates share how current policy can be built and shaped to advance the rights and voices of those most and multiply marginalized. In mapping our path forward, we will share the work that will continue following today’s session and most importantly, how you can be involved.

ASL and CART captioning provided.

Fireside Chat


  • Ayanna Pressley, United States Representative
  • Rebecca Cokley, Center for American Progress



  • Candace Coleman, Access Living, Advancing Leadership 2020 Fellow


  • Lydia X.Z. Brown, Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network
  • Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, AIDS United
  • Danyelle Solomon, Center for American Progress

Breakout conversation: What is my role in advancing justice and achieving liberation for all people?

Recap, video, and transcript

Mapping Our Paths Towards Liberation recap

Mapping Our Paths Towards Liberation video

Mapping Our Paths Towards Liberation transcript


Thank you to our supporters for sponsoring this event:

Disabilities Fund logo

MacArthur Foundation logo

Grand Victoria Foundation Logo

Polk Bros. Foundation logo

CDW logo

Crossroads Fund logo