I’ve been a little quiet on my blog, mostly cause I’m trying to listen, reflect, and take in knowledge and perspective rather than put it out.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a disability activist retreat with friends at the Leaven Center. The retreat was facilitated by Eli Clare and Jo Kadi, two wonderful souls. We sang, told our stories, talked about privilege, and just basked in the presence of each other. I needed that weekend so much; if any of yall are ever able to travel to michigan and participate in one of these (they have a generous scholarship fund)— I tell you it’s about equipping you with what you need (love, time to breathe, a reminder of community, peace) to go back home and survive.
Here are my lessons learned/was reminded of this weekend at the Leaven Center:
-there is nothing more important than community. absolutely nothing. without community, without this space we create and build together, all our advocacy and work is meaningless.
-fellow queer disabled people, queer disability allies, and disabled queer allies, are the most beautiful people on earth (although i may be biased…) if you can find them, hold them tight and never let go. make the most of your time with them. even if you aren’t able to spend time with each one, cherish the space that allows you to be in the same room with them.
– when working as a collective instead of as individuals, we are unstoppable. the van that picked me up from the airport was borrowed from a Leaven Center friend, the delicious food that we ate was cooked from a volunteer caterer, and when a semi-crisis occurred, volunteers stepped in. what society do we live in if this form of organizing seems so radical?
-storytelling is HARD, especially when you are used to your stories being twisted and used against you and your community. however, if you can create an environment (nonableist language, no judgement, accommodations covered) where people are safe to tell their stories, it is absolutely powerful. I uncovered all the memories (old and recent) that I had buried without processing. I left the Center feeling so much lighter and am so thankful to have this experience.
lots of love to you all,