• People who are willing to speak out in favor of prison reform often forget that violent offenders are humans, too, and they suffer from the same forms of injustice as non-violent drug offenders. [This Ain't Livin']
• Young Lakota, which tells the story of three young activists on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, is premiering November 25th. Check out our review of the documentary in our new Food Issue! [Racialicious]
Susan Nussbaum is a celebrated disability activist, playwright and novelist. Her poignant and humorous debut, Good Kings Bad Kings tells the intertwining stories of disabled youth living in a Chicago institution and is the 2012 winner of Barbara Kingsolver's PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. I talked with Nussbaum about her visionary novel, disability oppression, and being a "furiously rebellious crip."
With its over the top premise and mining of dementia for "comedy", I could never get into Raising Hope, but there's one thing I do appreciate about the sitcom: it's one of very few successful shows to feature a working-class single dad.
It centers on Jimmy Chance (Garret Dillahunt), who is 25 when he finds out that a former one-night stand has become a serial killer, been sentenced to death, and left him with sole custody of their baby girl, Hope. As he still lives at home, his haphazard family helps him out as best they can.
Similarly, in Ugly Betty, sisters Betty and Hilda Suarez both lived at home, where their dad Ignacio acted as a surrogate father to Hilda's adolescent son Justin, helping to take care of him both practically (including cooking and housework) and emotionally. These shows highlight the fact that for many working-class single parents, a support system which provides affordable childcare is essential. They also illustrate that single parents may have to move in (or never move out) from the family home for financial reasons, a fact rarely explored in discussions (or statistics) about homelessness.
Chicago-based artist Sandie Yi is the virtuoso behind Crip Couture, an avant-garde wearable art project for disabled people seeking to redefine constricting standards of beauty, agency and "normalcy."
Yi transforms traditional, uninspired prosthetics and orthotics into tailor-made creations for clients, taking into account the individual's needs, desires and state of mind. The point is not to manufacture conventional, "corrective" physical aids that blend in with the status quo; instead these innovative pieces capitalize on the diverse beauty found in disabled bodies, highlighting difference and redefining not only fashion but disability itself.
"For those of you who don't know me, I'm not wasted, but the doctor who delivered me was." So begins the standup comedy set from Maysoon Zayid: disabled comic, actor, humanitarian, and "Arab Gone Wild."
Leroy Moore is a man of action: poet, community activist, artist, feminist... the list goes on. Spend any time in the crip community and his name will inevitably surface, which should come as no surprise. Moore is a walking archive of disability art and history with a gift for broad networking, highlighting artists and activist projects from the Bay area to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He can school you on disabled musicians from the days of yore, but it must be noted that this man has his finger on the pulse of the vibrant disability art scene- a scene that has blossomed in no small part due to his dedication to spotlighting the intersections of race, social justice, art and crip culture. Additionally, he can wear the hell out of a tuxedo.
Defying nondisabled persons outdated notions of what disability is like is difficult enough; making people laugh while doing so is a feat of its own. Thankfully, there are some badasses taking that immense challenge head on and succeeding.