Blog with us!

The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality invites you to blog (or vlog) with us!

General Submission Guidelines

We are looking for submissions about disability justice, healthcare, and community living inequities faced by people with disabilities and proposed solutions to make the services within these systems more equitable. We want posts that will educate, inform, empower, and challenge people to think in new ways.

We are open for submissions year-round.

Guest blog posts are usually between 500 and 1,000 words. Please include a short bio and a photograph with your submission.

The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality team may work with you to edit your blog. Our publication schedule varies. Please allow at least one week between submission and proposed publication date.

Authors and photographers have rights. Please credit others' work in your submission and cite our blog if you republish. 

Following publication, we will share your blog post via Facebook, Twitter, and our newsletter.


We are committed to accessibility. Please use alt-text and captions for images. Do your best to write in plain-language. We will only post videos that are captioned.

How to Submit

Send your 500-to-1,000 word posts with a suggested title to Include a brief bio, picture with image description, and social media accounts that you’d like to share. For examples on other blogs we have posted, click here.

Blog Index

Introduction to Disability Justice
Reflecting on a Season of Impact and Looking Ahead: Our Journey at The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality
Update on ADA Supreme Court Case: Acheson v. Laufer
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Adds American Sign Language
Disability Activists Closely Watch SCOTUS Case
Intersectionality 2.0: Growing in Our Thinking and Philosophy of Care
Lawyers, Mental Health, and the Character and Fitness Investigation
Accessibility: The Questions I’m learning to Ask
To Disclose or Not to Disclose: Online Dating, Disability, Creating Your Online Profile with Confidence
The Intersection of Ableism and Racism in Healthcare
The Intersection of Driving, Disability, and Being Black
Time Lost to Disability Management is a Health Inequity
The Paradoxical Perspective on Paxlovid
An Attempt at Reparations: California’s Forced or Involuntary Sterilization Program
To Better Understand Intersectionality and Health Justice, Look to the Experiences of People Living with HIV
Why Intersectionality is an Essential Part of Public Health
Language Access Services to Eliminate Health Disparities and Achieve Health Equity for those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
In Response to the Reversal of Roe v. Wade and Its Impact on People with Disabilities

Introduction to Disability Justice

by Ayesha Tariq

Image of Ayesha- she has long black hair and a blue top on smiling at the camera

What is disability justice? When I think about it, it makes sense, but I’m not sure it’s as clear for others. It makes me think about this conversation I had with a faculty member, Dr. R, at my school. There was some talk among students about other students who were getting additional time on exams. Many comments were negative, calling it ‘unfair.’ But I think it was really a lack of understanding. Though it seems the students receiving this accommodation of additional time had an advantage, they really didn’t. Dr. R put all of this in perspective for me. She said the student’s accommodations were really a way to ‘level the playing field, so to speak.’ The additional time would put the students at the same starting mark as the other students. This is what’s meant by equity. Equal is giving all the students the same exam. But equity is giving all the students the same means (or accommodations) to take the exam. This made perfect sense to me. 

That conversation gave me a glimpse of what disability justice stands for. To me it is giving the tools, resources, treatment to those who don’t have the access and who are treated unjustly. Disability justice stands for equitable and fair treatment. Because what’s justice if it only includes some but not all? Not to be corny, but doesn’t this country’s Pledge of Allegiance itself say, “One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”1

The Oxford English Dictionary chronicles the definition of ‘disability’ over time starting from 1545 where disability was defined as the “lack of ability (to discharge any office or function); inability, incapacity; weakness.” 2 The word evolved over time opening doors to legal jargon. In 1571, disability was “a restriction framed to prevent any person or class of persons from sharing in duties or privileges which would otherwise be open to them; legal disqualification.” 2 Disability rights appeared in the OED in 1921, defined as “the human, civil, and legal rights belonging to disable people; spec. the rights of disabled people to be treated without discrimination and to enjoy equality of opportunity with abled people.” 2

It always baffles me when I think about how we can fight for something, win it, and then forget all about it. Isn’t that why history always repeats itself? Even the early uses of the word disability pointed to the discrimination going on at the time! If the definition existed during that time, then an event must’ve occurred to spark the definition into existence in the first place. And after all these centuries, we’re still fighting for rights for all including the disabled. 

If the concept of disability justice still isn’t clear, then read the different descriptions of disability justice below.

The Disability Activist Collective 2010 defines disability justice as,

“…the cross-disability (sensory, intellectual, mental health/psychiatric, neurodiversity, physical/mobility, learning, etc.) framework that values access, self-determination, and an expectation of difference. An expectation of difference means that we expect difference in disability, identity, and culture. To be included and part of society is about being able to be our “whole self” (all of our identities together). Disability Justice includes space for self-care, reflection, and hard discussions.”3

Disability justice attempts to secure rights for disabled people including those in marginalized communities such as people of color, immigrants, LGBTQIA+, homeless, incarcerated, ancestral lands stolen.4 Mia Mingus explains that disability justice does not mean that ‘everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own,’ which she calls the myth of independence. Instead, Mingus claims that “no one does it on their own” and points to interdependence being the key to fighting for disability justice and not independence.5 Similarly, Patty Berne highlights that the framework of disability justice understands “that all bodies are unique and essential” having strengths and needs. All bodies are bound in ways of “race, gender, sexuality, class, ability, nation state and imperialism” and cannot be unbound or separated.6

Disability justice has been around for longer than I knew. But despite it being around for a while, it seems many people aren’t aware of what it is. That each person deserves to be treated fairly, equitably, and with respect should be common knowledge, if not rudimentary knowledge. Having a disability of any kind shouldn’t exclude someone from having these basic rights. What perplexes me are those people who believe they should be excluded. 

I’m still learning about disability justice. And on this path of learning, I plan to bring awareness and advocate for disability justice.

Ayesha Tariq is a medical student at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine. She plans on pursuing psychiatry as her intended medical specialty. In addition to the required medical school curriculum, she is studying Medical Humanities and Health Humanities at the medical school and is currently a fellow of the Health Humanities and Disability Justice (Lab) at the University of California Riverside. Ayesha first became involved in healthcare justice after starting medical school where she learned from faculty about how deep health disparities are in medicine and academia, and then witnessing these health disparities and injustices firsthand while rotating in hospitals and clinics across the country in her third and fourth years of medical school.


  1. “The Pledge of Allegiance.” Historic Documents. April 1, 2024.
  2. ‘Disability’ etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2023.
  3. Ortiz, N. (2012, October 25). Disability Justice Framework. Disability Activist Collection 2010.
  4. Hudson, H. (2021, September 8). Moving from Disability Rights to Disability Justice. World Institute on Disability.
  5. Resource Library, Disability and Philanthropy Forum. “What is Disability Justice?”
  6.  Berne, P. (2015, June 10). Disability Justice – a working draft by Patty Berne.


Would you like to join our efforts in making a more inclusive world? 
The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality has a broad range of opportunities and/or groups for you to join- from blogging with us to our Community of Practice to short-term committees that are focused on specific issues and topics. If interested, please feel free to reach out to Leah Smith @

What is Disability Justice? Facebook and Twitter logo. Text reads: Follow Us @ThinkEquitable

Intersectionality of Disability and Other Marginalized Identities

Reflecting on a Season of Impact and Looking Ahead: Our Journey at The National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality

As the year comes to an end, it is a time for reflection at the National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality. This fall has been a remarkable journey, filled with learning, sharing, and advocating. We’ve had the privilege of connecting with thousands of people across the country, amplifying our messages about the intersectionality of disability and other marginalized identities in healthcare, community settings, and justice systems.

Reaching Diverse Audiences

Intersecationality of Disability - Panel Presentation at AUCD- Leah Smith, Tracy Waller, Tyler Cochran, and Chris Hale-Mason- All with varying types of disabilities both visible and invisible.

Our team has been on the move, participating in influential conferences that have allowed us to engage with key stakeholders.

The HCBS conference planning committee invited our Associate Director, Leah Smith, to share about our Center’s work related to Home and Community Based Services with the nearly 1,500 attendees.

During the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, with 1,200 attendees, the Center’s work on coercive sterilization and disability justice was presented as a flash talk and on the main stage.

In October, I joined a group of invite-only organization leaders in Washington, DC, to discuss the transition of disabled youth to adult healthcare, shining a light on the additional barriers faced by youth of color, LGBTQ youth, and girls, women, and young people who identify as female.

At the Association of University Centers on Disability in Washington, DC, we engaged with over 500 academic leaders and researchers to introduce our Center’s first year and present our work on police brutality experienced by disabled people, especially disabled people of color.

Our presence at the Association of Public Health Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, allowed us to intersect public health perspectives with our core mission, reaching over 12,000 public health professionals.

And finally, just last week, we attended the TASH conference with 2,000 attendees in Baltimore, Maryland, to present our work and network with professionals about the experiences, strengths, and needs of people with significant disabilities with multiple marginalized identities. 

Beyond conferences, we’ve delivered over a dozen guest lectures across various institutions, sharing our insights and broadening our understanding of diverse strengths, needs, and experiences within the disabled community through these invaluable interactions.

Advocacy Through Action

Intersectionality of Disability - Three disabled white women smiling at the camera, Kara Ayers, Leah Smith, and Katie Johnson

This year, our advocacy efforts were significant. We’ve actively responded to multiple calls for comments on crucial policies and decisions impacting disabled individuals. Our inclusive approach ensures the voices of disabled people are heard and integrated, staying true to our commitment as a center led by and for disabled individuals. Aligned with our commitment to inclusion, we’ve developed plain language summaries of the comments we submit. This ensures that more people can understand our work and join us in our advocacy. Most recently, we’ve shared plain language summaries for our comments on proposed 504 regulations and on proposed changes to the census. What other plain language resources would you like to see? Leave us a comment to let us know.

In 2024, we anticipate additional responses to calls for comments, as it is a highly effective form of advocacy. Our comments facilitate the representation of underrepresented perspectives. Our Center frequently amplifies these stories and experiences beyond just the comment itself. Through commenting, we can have a direct impact on policy while educating policymakers about the issues that matter most. With our comments, we’re creating a public record and along the way, empowering more people to engage in the advocacy processes. Making these processes as accessible and inclusive as possible is part of the work we do.

Energized for the Journey Ahead

Intersectionality of Disability- Blue background white text with quotes that reads: As we approach the new year, our resolve to champion equity only grows stronger

As we approach the new year, our resolve to champion equity only grows stronger. We’re excited to build on the momentum from the connections and knowledge gained this fall.

We invite you to join us in creating a more inclusive and just world – where disability, equity, and intersectionality are lived realities. Our work goes on, and we’re ready for the challenges and triumphs the new year will bring. 

ADA Supreme Court Case Update: Acheson v. Laufer

December 2023 Update on ADA Supreme Court Case:
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Acheson v. Laufer case moot. This case was in regards to the standing of ADA Testers. Below you will find a plain language explanation of the case and the decision of the Supreme Court. You can find more information and background on this specific case on our blog: Disability Law Spotlight: Acheson v. Laufer
ADA Supreme Court Case
Latest News: The Supreme Court Reaches A Decision on ADA Case. Updated: December 6, 2023
The Supreme Court of the United States (The Supreme Court) recently heard the case of Acheson v Laufer. 
In this case, Deborah Laufer (known as Laufer), a disabled woman, filed a lawsuit against Acheson Hotels (known as Acheson). In this lawsuit, Laufer said that the hotel website was not accessible under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Acheson argued that Ms. Laufer did not have the right, or standing, to bring them to court because she never intended to visit the hotel. They said she was not injured because of the lack of accessibility on the website and was only ‘testing’ the website for compliance.
In this instance, for Acheson Hotels to be in compliance with the ADA, the hotel would need to include information on their website about the availability of accessible rooms, among other things. 
Many disability activists and allies were worried that the Supreme Court would make a decision that would weaken the ADA. Specifically, activists were concerned that the Supreme Court would find that disabled people would start suing companies for not being accessible, even though they did not intend to visit those companies. Most disability activists and allies know that people with disabilities do not have the time, money, or ability to sue every inaccessible company.
The Supreme Court made a decision on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 that 
this case was moot. 
When a court says a case is ‘moot’ that means that the case no longer requires a decision because a solution has been found for the issue.
ADA Supreme Court Case: In this case, Laufer withdrew the lawsuit that led to this case, and stated that she would not file another like this in the future. The Supreme Court responded with deciding that the case was “moot” because there were no more issues in the case that required a decision from them. 

The Supreme Court of the United States consists of 9 justices. Justices is another word for judges that work for the highest court in the United States. All 9 Justices agreed on the decision in this case.
This decision has both positives and negative impacts for the disability community. 
The positive impact is that The Supreme Court decision did not change the ADA in any way. 
The negative impact is that it still leaves the question of whether we can have “testers” for compliance with the ADA or not. 
Testers are individuals that judge the accessibility of a website or location to make sure it meets ADA regulations. Many disability advocates say they want to have ADA testers because they do not have time to make sure websites and spaces are accessible each time they intend to travel. They would prefer that someone else did that for them. 
This decision also means that lower courts, not the Supreme Court in this case, will decide if people can be testers for the ADA or not. This means that some states and circuits (or regions) may allow testers for the ADA and some will not. For example, Idaho does not allow ADA testers, but Connecticut does.
ADA Supreme Court Case Update

For a complete list of which districts allow ADA testers and which do not, click here.

Want to learn about the National Center for Disability, Equity and Intersectionality? Learn more about our work here.