Students with disabilities at Seattle University are coming together to embrace their community and share what having a disability means to them. The Seattle University Coalition for Students with Disabilities organized a photo shoot, and students were given the opportunity to share how they view their identity as part of the community of people with disabilities through their photos. Each participant in the photo shoot was photographed holding a sign that said “Disabled and —-” with the option to fill in the end with their own individual meaning. For example, the President of the Coalition Anna Pickett held a sign that read “Disabled and Empowered” in her photo. Pickett told SU’s on-campus newspaper, The Spectator, that, “I’ve said this a lot but I really really believe that my disability has made me a more creative and empathetic person, in a way that if I didn’t have a disability, I wouldn’t be.” Student allies also had the option to be photographed holding a sign that read “Ally and proud” – one of the allies photographed was the photographer who freely donated his time to this campaign.
The photos will be the focus of a campaign currently being organized by the Coalition. The campaign highlights themes of #Disabledandproud #Allyandproud and #StoptheStigma. Through the campaign, the Coalition hopes to strengthen the community of people with disabilities and contribute to “fostering positive perceptions of people with disabilities,” as they explained on the event’s Facebook page. Elaborating, they emphasized that “having a disability and being disabled is not negative” and that they hope to reclaim “the word disabled, a word that over years of systematic ableist oppression has been deemed a ‘bad’ word.” The photo campaign took place the last week of April 2016. Pickett told Rooted in Rights that the Coalition will debut the photo campaign on May 19th “after that the photos will be made public on social media and on photo boards on campus.”
Photos used with permission.