World, meet disability Twitter.
Twitter has done some incredible things for diversity during the past few years.
It helped raise awareness for Black Lives Matter leaders like DeRay McKesson (who is now running for mayor in Baltimore). New feminist icons like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer use Twitter as a tool to lend support to progressive movements, campaigns, and ideas.
Now, another minority group — the largest in the world, in fact — is raising their voice, too. World, meet disability Twitter.
1 in 5 people live with disabilities, but somehow the voices of disability advocacy still have yet to be heard around the world — mostly because folks aren't aware the community exists!
When you think about it, it’s easy to understand why folks with disabilities are frequently forgotten and ignored: Society teaches us certain rules about how to interact with folks who are disabled. Primarily, we’re taught from a young age that we’re not supposed to stare. And a reflex response to being told "don’t stare" is to look away.
Conversations about living with disability are important, especially because disability probably affects you or someone you know personally.
One way to join those conversations is to follow these nine folks — along with many others not mentioned here! — who are using Twitter to introduce you to disability rights in a really smart way.
1. Alice Wong — @SFdirewolf
Alice Wong is the founder of the Disability Visibility Project, a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. She's a co-partner in #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan social media campaign encouraging civic engagement of people with disabilities during the 2016 presidential election.
Excited to partner w/ @AndrewPulrang & @GreggBeratan on #CripTheVote. Twitter chats 2/11 & 2/13 https://t.co/iQbzQRSewK #Election2016
— alice wong (@SFdirewolf) January 28, 2016
2. Andraea LaVant — @andraealavant
Andraea LaVant is an inclusion senior specialist for the Girl Scouts who spoke on behalf of women with disabilities as part of President Obama’s Disability Roundtable. On Twitter, she is a lifestyle and fashion blogger.
C'mon Silver Spring! Went to 3 stores & couldn't go in b/c snow is PILED on access ramps! @vknowltonmarcus @ellisonbarber @NJDC07 @OhMyGOFF
— Andraea LaVant (@andraealavant) January 31, 2016
3. Dominick Evans— @dominickevans
Dominick Evans is a filmmaker and human rights activist with an interest in representations of disability and LGBT in the media.
I am going to keep talking about #disability and #film until we start seeing changes in the industry!!
— Dominick Evans (@dominickevans) October 22, 2014
4. David Perry— @lollardfish
David Perry is a journalist who focuses on disability rights. His work can be found in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, The Atlantic and others.
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) February 3, 2016
5. Gregg Beratan— @GreggBeratan
Gregg Beratan is a disability activist, frequently on the forefront of Twitter campaigns. His feed is currently filled with #CripTheVote, a hashtag that aims to bring disability to the forefront of the 2016 presidential conversation.
#CripTheVote: Our Voices, Our Vote - https://t.co/849bBVsCGG via @DisVisibility #Election2016 #Disability
— Gregg Beratan (@GreggBeratan) January 28, 2016
6. Rebecca Cokley— @RebeccaCokley
Rebecca Cokley is a second-generation disability rights activist and the executive director of the National Council on Disability.
"Special needs" makes it sound like #disability community is asking for something EXTRA versus equality #SayTheWord
— Rebecca Cokley (@RebeccaCokley) January 25, 2016
7. Sara Hendren— @ablerism
Sara Hendren is an artist who teaches design to engineers. Her interest is in adaptive and assistive technologies. Sara is best known for the Accessible Icon Project, where she reimagined the International Symbol of Access.
I've said before and will say again, young engineers/designers:
court ambiguity, walk toward inequality, above all yield to heartbreak
— Sara Hendren (@ablerism) September 30, 2015
8. Leroy Moore— @kriphopnation
Leroy Moore is the founder of Krip-Hop Nation, whose mission is to educate the public, the music industry, and the media about the talents, history, rights, and marketability of hip-hop artists and other musicians with disabilities. He is also a member of the National Black Disability Coalition and a writer for Poor Magazine.
Harriet Tubman bought property for a home for elderly and disabled free Black people.https://t.co/SZ1kuX0IZr pic.twitter.com/M4OCm9wGK3
— Leroy Moore (@kriphopnation) February 3, 2016
9. Kim Sauder— @crippledscholar
Kim Sauder is a Ph.D. candidate in disability studies who is passionate about disability rights, activism advocacy, and scholarship with a focus on disability representation in the media.
Why Don't You Just Drive?: The Difficulty of Publicly Legitimizing the Needs of an Invisible Disability https://t.co/z2rr45JKYB
— Kim Sauder (@crippledscholar) January 23, 2016
While compiling this list, I realized something amazing: Nearly every person on this list follows every other person on it.
The disability community is tight-knit, supportive, and diverse. Each of us has different interests and passions, but one thing we all have in common is that we support one another, and we are dedicated to growing our visibility.
We’re still finding our voice, but we're well on our way.