Letter from the new Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog

The writing that flows from the disability community has long been a well from which I’ve drawn strength and power. When I speak out, the words of other disabled writers remind me I am not alone. And when my voice falters, I turn to those who have found within themselves the words to articulate what I struggle to say. It is this sense of solidarity, this feeling of being understood, that I hope to foster through my new role as Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog.

But I don’t want anyone to get too comfortable, either. I believe in challenging the status quo and pushing readers and writers alike to think beyond the tired tropes of disability. This blog won’t be the place to come for those in search of their daily inspirational fix. Nor will it be a place for people to recount empty tales of woe. The pieces published on the Rooted in Rights Blog will be rooted in disability rights. I’m looking for writers who will share compelling stories and crucial facts that shine a bright spotlight on disability rights issues in all areas of life: inclusive employment, accessible housing and transportation, affordable healthcare, criminal justice reform… the list goes on.

The experiences of disabled people and the issues we encounter do not occur in a vacuum. Disability is but one aspect of the human experience, and it intersects with all other experiences and identities. All too often, the disability community and society as a whole fail to recognize this, especially in regard to the experiences of people with multiple marginalized identities. As such, one of my top priorities in managing the Rooted in Rights Blog is ensuring strong intersectional representation.

Moreover, the ways in which people connect to disability – and the ways in which they connect disability to themselves – are deeply personal. For many, disability is at the core of their identity; for others, it is not. These identity preferences usually manifest in the form of language choice, either through use of person-first language or identity first-language (i.e., “person with a disability” or “disabled person”). I won’t get into a full tangent on the difference between the two, but this is to say that contributors to the Rooted in Rights Blog will always be the authority on how they identify themselves.

And of course, it’s important to me to share that all authors of the pieces we publish will be compensated by Rooted in Rights for their time and efforts. We are dedicated to investing in building a strong community of writers. Because of this, not every pitch sent our way will be accepted, and the pieces that are published will be held to consistently high standards. My role in this process will be not only to provide guidance to our contributors, but also to challenge them to dig deep for every word they write. As someone whose career primarily centers on writing, I know well that this can be mental, physical, and emotional labor all at once, and that the words resulting from that labor are incredibly valuable.

Writing can cultivate human connection and strengthen understanding, call people to action and drive change. I’m excited for the opportunity to harness this power by working with writers from across the disability community. Together, we’ll share perspectives on disability, amplify key issues and ideas, and make it known loud and clear that disability rights are human rights.

Please submit pitches via this form: https://rootedinrights.org/about/submit-a-blog-idea/

Emily Ladau was the founding Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog.