Saying Goodbye: A Message from Emily Ladau, Former Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog

After five years, the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog, Emily Ladau, will be stepping down from her role. In this message, she shares why and what's next for the blog. Image: On a yellow table, there is a blue notebook stacked under a pink notebook, next to some blue and pink binder clips and an open notebook with a pink and a blue pen resting on it
Image: On a yellow table, there is a blue notebook stacked under a pink notebook, next to some blue and pink binder clips and an open notebook with a pink and a blue pen resting on it.

I’m not particularly good at saying goodbyes, but I know the time is right for this one. As of January 1, 2022, I am no longer the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog.

I came to this decision not because it’s easy to move forward, but because after five years in this role, I want to make space for someone else. In October 2016, I was given the humbling opportunity to begin building this blog from the ground, up. Since then, I’ve gotten to support more than 150 disabled writers to publish nearly 400 blogs posts. And most importantly, I’ve been able to ensure they were paid. In the many moments that the media has ignored or erased perspectives from the disability community, the writers I’ve worked with have come through to fill the gaps and shed light on their truths. Getting to play a role in amplifying the wisdom of so many disabled people has been a privilege I don’t take for granted.

Serving as Editor in Chief was an ongoing learning process. I’ve made mistakes, errors in judgment, and let my own biases and ignorance get in the way. I’ve also grown as a writer and activist, and the lessons I’m taking away are ones that I will carry forward with intention in my work. I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who has taught me with patience and grace along the way.

To everyone who has pitched the blog, to everyone whose words I have gotten to publish: thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for trusting me with your stories.

I often think about the fact that there are more than 1 billion disabled people in the world, which means there are more than 1 billion experiences of disability. No form of media can or should claim to represent everyone. There will always be more stories to tell. But in far too many cases, when disability is put in the spotlight, only certain narratives are centered (those of white, physically disabled people). This is in large part why I’m ready to pass the torch. It’s another person’s turn to fill the Editor in Chief role and to help shape the conversation.

I’m genuinely so excited to see what the future holds not just for the blog, but for Rooted in Rights as a whole. Working with everyone who has been part of the Rooted in Rights team over the years has been an immense gift—and that’s an understatement. They’re some of the most passionate, creative, dedicated people I know, and the media they’ve put out into the world has been truly game-changing.

Going forward, the team will be leading a search for a new Editor in Chief. I’ll remain available to support the search and transition process, as well as to offer guidance and mentorship as needed. And then, even though my time as Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog will be behind me, I’ll still always be rooting for Rooted in Rights, and the powerful work I know they’ll continue to do.

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

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