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Lydia X. Z. Brown        

Disability Justice Advocate, Attorney, Writer

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an advocate, organizer, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work focuses on interpersonal and state violence against disabled people at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language, and nation.

Brown is an adjunct lecturer in the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the Disability Studies Program at Georgetown University, as well as Self-Advocacy Discipline Coordinator for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship program. They are also an adjunct professorial lecturer in American Studies in the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies at American University.

Brown is Policy Counsel for Privacy & Data at the Center for Democracy & Technology, focused on algorithmic discrimination and disability; Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; and founding executive director of the Autistic People of Color Fund, a project of collective care, redistributive justice, and mutual aid. They are co-president of the Disability Rights Bar Association and Disability Justice Committee representative on the National Lawyers Guild board.

Brown is currently creating Disability Justice Wisdom Tarot. They are a former member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, visiting faculty at Tufts University, and chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. Often, their most important work has no title, job description, or funding, and probably never will.

Speech Topics

Why Disability Justice is an Intersectional Imperative for Our Futures and Our Freedom

Neurodivergent, crip, mad, and disabled people are already present in all of our communities. Yet we face the constant presence of pervasive ableism (disability prejudice and oppression), reinforced and intersecting with other forms of systemic injustice. Disabled people are working constantly to challenge the narratives that we do not belong in society, and to demand recognition and respect for disabled people's ways of knowing, being, learning, and relating. Disability justice analysis enables us to understand the necessary role of ableism in shaping social thought, research, and policy about race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation - and to challenge arbitrary notions of "normal" and "wellness" that undergird oppressive systems and influence our everyday lives. Disability Justice principles and practices offer radical and revolutionary ways of reimagining our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the communities where we live, work, and learn. Disability Justice goes beyond the frameworks of equity, inclusion, and diversity, and challenges us to incorporate multimodality, flexibility, and interdependence into our workplaces, research agendas, technologies, design, and communities.

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