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Disability Activism Book Club and Watch Club!

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Disability Activism Book Club and Watch Club!

In the spirit of Women’s History Month and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, The Arc of Snohomish County is celebrating the contributions of disability rights advocates who have shaped history. The following books, films, and Ted Talks are by and about activists who reframe social views on disability, amplify the diversity of the disability experience, and bring forth calls for disability acceptance, advocacy, and action!

Activist: Judith Heumann 

Official website:

Book recommendation: Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

Goodreads summary: One of the most influential disability rights activists in US history tells her personal story of fighting for the right to receive an education, have a job, and just be human.

A story of fighting to belong in a world that wasn't built for all of us and of one woman's activism—from the streets of Brooklyn and San Francisco to inside the halls of Washington—Being Heumann recounts Judy Heumann's lifelong battle to achieve respect, acceptance, and inclusion in society.

Children’s book recommendation: Fighting for YES!: The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann

Film recommendation: Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

Ted Talk recommendation: “Our Fight for Disability Rights – And Why We’re Not Done Yet


Activists: Janet Taggart, Evelyn Chapman, Katie Dolan, Cecile Lindquist

Film recommendation: “Together They Were Stronger

Summary: This short documentary celebrates the untold story of four women who mounted an all-out civil rights campaign to create a movement establishing the first-ever disability rights law in the United States, WA HB 90.


Activist: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha 

Official website:

Book recommendation: Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

Goodreads summary: In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all.

Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.


Activist: Alice Wong

Official website:

Book recommendation: Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life

Goodreads summary: From the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, and the editor of the acclaimed anthology Disability Visibility, a genre-bending memoir in essays offers a glimpse into an activist's journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability rights.

Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique voice and talent to share a raw and multifaceted impressionistic collage of her life as an Asian American disability rights activist, community builder, and media maker. From her love of good food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to speaking out against the often complex and overlooked ways inequities and injustices play out in an ableist society, Alice tells her story and creates a space to hear from other disability activists through enriching conversations. From a world-class activist and storyteller, Alice's Year of the Tiger offers humor and wisdom, and encourages us to do better.


Activist: Stella Young

Official website:

Ted Talk recommendation: “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much


Activist: Haben Girma

Official website:

Book recommendation: Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Goodreads summary: Born with deaf-blindness, Girma grew up with enough vision to know when someone was in front of her and enough hearing to know when someone close to her was talking. However, she had difficulty reading facial features or distinguishing people in group conversations. Relying on her own problem-solving skills, Girma overcame roadblocks while simultaneously obtaining her undergraduate and then law degree.


Further reading: 

7 Women Who Shaped the Disability Rights Movement

Highlighting Women's Disability Figures in History

Women Leaders of the ADA

Women with Disabilities

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