Disability Awareness Month at UC Berkeley

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The UC Berkeley community celebrates disability awareness in October each year, and this year is especially meaningful as it is the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Berkeley campus is the home of the Disability Rights/Independent Living Movement and we are excited to share several announcements and events related to disability awareness. 

Announcements

New Disability Community Cultural Center
In this very special year, the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law shaped in significant part by the work of UC Berkeley professors and graduates, we are pleased to announce that an intersectional group of students with disabilities/disabled students, with the help of staff, faculty and administration, have secured a Disability Community Cultural Center on our campus. This has been a dream for the disabled campus community for decades and will serve as a place that is accessible and welcoming to all, to celebrate and nourish the shared disability culture, history and community of our campus. Disability is a status that cuts across race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, national status, etc. We look forward to welcoming everyone to share with us in our new home. We are  particularly excited that we will be sharing the Hearst Annex 'neighborhood' with the Fannie Lou Hamer Black Resource Center and the Berkeley Disability Lab. We give special thanks to bridges Multicultural Resource Center and their seven Recruitment and Retention Centers and QARC (The Queer Alliance and Resource Center) who led the way in securing space for student organizations on campus and ultimately paved the way for this center to exist. We share members among our communities and look forward to shared events and solidarity in the future.

First Ever Testimony to Regents by Disabled Students on their UC Experience
On November 18th, 2020, the University of California Board of Regents will for the first time hear from disabled people regarding their experience as students within the UC system. Student representation will be taken from both the graduate and undergraduate populations and from both Northern and Southern California. The UCOP Office of Student & Equity Affairs staff Belinda Vea and Claire Chevallier announced this notable development at a meeting of the systems ADA Compliance Officers this month. Their office has been instrumental in collecting data that will create context for the upcoming testimony. The meeting will be open to the public remotely and there may be call-in speakers, too. You can look for details on the UC Board of Regents website

The Accessible Technology Lending Library is Open
Beginning this month, disabled faculty and staff can use the Office of Disability Access & Compliance Accessible Technology Lending Library by going to the DAC website. DAC’s library of products and software is available to departments across campus to support accommodations delivery for staff and faculty. Please fill out the website form to request one of the items available in our catalog. If you have any questions about this program please send an email to access [at] berkeley.edu.

Events

There are many wonderful disability awareness events during October and even November. You can find a full roster of events, continually updated, on the Disabled Students’ Program Events Calendar. Below is a selection of offerings:

Seated Yoga
A gentle practice in which postures are performed while seated and/or with the aid of a chair, Seated Yoga is a great option for those with physical disabilities, aging populations, or people with difficulty balancing. Mondays October 12 - November 30. 11:00-11.45 am. Zoom 

Crip Camp
Camp Jened was a ramshackle hippie-run summer camp where the disabled kids of the ‘60s became the disabled activists who changed the world. October 27. 4:00-6.30 p.m. Zoom.

Celia Stahr: Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist.
Celia Stahr will discuss her new book, Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist. October 28. 4:00-5:00 p.m. Webinar.

The God Given Talent
The Creative Life of Charles Curtis Blackwell. Charles, a jazz poet, painter, playwright, and educator has published in over 180 publications. Born in San Francisco, he became partially blind at age 20 and has spent his life in the Bay Area. October 29. 4.30-6.30 p.m. Livestreamed.

Alice Wong: Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century
Alice Wong will read from her new book and even give one away, in discussion with UC Berkeley graduate student Katherine Savin. November 10. 7-8 p.m. Webinar.

We hope you will take time this month to enjoy these opportunities to learn about and appreciate the richness of disability culture and community here at Berkeley and around the world.

Sincerely,

Ella Callow, JD
ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer
Director, Disability Access & Compliance

Marc Fisher
Vice Chancellor, Administration