The world's largest minority is speaking out. This is what they have to say.

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!


Photo courtesy of Hanna Agar, from "Life Is Like."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

6. Rebecca Cokley— @RebeccaCokley

Rebecca Cokley is a second-generation disability rights activist and the executive director of the National Council on Disability.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

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Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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