Disability ProjectAdvisory Board
Syrus Marcus Ware
Syrus Marcus Ware is a Vanier scholar, visual artist, activist, curator and educator. Syrus uses painting, installation and performance to explore social justice frameworks and black activist culture, and he’s shown widely in galleries and festivals across Canada. He is part of the Performance Disability Art Collective and a core-team member of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. He has won several recognitions including the TD Diversity Award 2017, “Best Queer Activist” NOW Magazine 2005, and the Steinert and Ferreiro Award 2012.
Ma’ayan Anafi lives in Washington, DC, with two energetic and loving cats, Bunny and Squeak. Most recently, Ma’ayan worked as a transgender justice advocate, seeking to change laws, policies, and society to improve the lives of transgender people. Ma’ayan co-authored the report of the landmark 2015 US Transgender Survey, a nationwide survey of nearly 28,000 transgender adults and the most commonly used source of data about transgender people. Ma’ayan can frequently be found cuddling with Bunny and/or Squeak, reading about linguistics, and doing crossword puzzles.
New York City, NY
Ericka Ayodele Dixon is a Black, queer, disabled woman who is a survivor of both childhood and adult sexual violence. Ericka is first and foremost an educator, writer and facilitator, and she currently serves as the National Capacity Building Coordinator with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. As National Capacity Building Coordinator, Ericka works to provide training and technical assistance, develop resources and share successful models with advocates across the country for LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities. Prior to her work at NCAVP, Ericka was the Policy Director at Black Women’s Blueprint, where she fought to get Black women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence centered in local city and national policy initiatives. As a survivor of sexual violence herself, Ericka believes this work is both deeply personal and political and grounds everything she does using a queer, Black feminist lens. Ericka holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a B.A. in Culture, Society and Human Rights from Emory University.
Parker has lived in Georgia for almost 6 years, and has worked in various positions in disability for just over a decade. His lived and professional experiences with disability is his driving force towards a more equitable world for all.
Carrie Kaufman is a queer, physically disabled, white, anti-zionist Jewish activist, artist, and writer. She acquired her disability at 20 years old and got a BA in Psychology. Her ongoing social and political education comes from radical and abolitionist organizers in Chicago and across the country. She worked as a peer mentor for people with disabilities through an independent living center, before leaving to do more community based organizing and justice focused work. Carrie does advocacy for disabled survivors by talking to service providers about disability as well as sharing her experiences as a survivor of violence and abuse. She also writes and speaks on the need for pleasure based sexual health information for people with disabilities of all ages.
She is currently a board member of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), a youth focused reproductive health organization and she is also currently a member of the Chicago chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national Palestinian solidarity organization.
Anita Cameron began working as Not Dead Yet’s Director of Minority Outreach in January 2017. She has met with national and state policy makers and written persuasively about opposition to a public policy of assisted suicide from the perspective of communities of color who experience disparities in access to healthcare. From 2004-2006, she worked at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in Washington, DC, as the DC Metro Disability Vote Organizer, working with the Board of Elections and Ethics to increase voting access and get disabled people to serve as poll workers and election judges. Anita worked as Systems Advocate for the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, NY, from 2006-2010, addressing a broad range of disability rights and access issues with advocates and lawmakers at the local, state and national levels. In 2004, while in Washington, DC, Anita trained to become a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member. In 2008, she helped to form the first CERT class consisting of people with disabilities in Rochester, New York. After joining Denver CERT in 2011, Anita became the first visually impaired CERT instructor for the State of Colorado, and in 2013, became a CERT Program Manager for the State. She has assisted in numerous exercises and real-world incidents with Denver CERT, including serving as a radio communications operator during the Colorado Flood of 2013 and remotely assisting survivors of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in disaster relief in 2017. Anita has written extensively, for numerous agencies and publications, on emergency and disaster preparedness for people with disabilities, as well as the role and participation of the disability community in emergency management. Since 1986, Anita has volunteered with ADAPT, a national, grassroots disability rights organization. In 33 years of involvement, she has risen to a position of national leadership and has been arrested 138 times for nonviolent civil disobedience fighting for the civil rights of all disabled folks. She was invited to the White House on two occasions, has met three sitting U.S. Presidents and two Vice-Presidents, helped to organize a national march, and was published in “Voices of A People’s History of the United States”, by the late, award-winning writer and historian, Howard Zinn.
As a Black, Disabled Lesbian, Anita has dealt with racisim, sexism, ableism, and homophobia – sometimes combinations of these. She has used her experience of discrimination and her unique intersectional perspective to promote understanding among different groups of disenfranchised people and increase social justice among those fighting for social justice. In 2017, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network honored Anita with the 2017 Service to the Self Advocacy Movement award for her national advocacy work, and in 2018, Anita received the Lead On award for her work with ADAPT. Anita also serves on the National Disability Leadership Alliance’s Steering Committee, as well as it’s Racism Taskforce, and co-Chairs the Intersectional Justice Committee for ADAPT. She holds a degree in Biology from University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and a degree in Computer Information Systems from Community College of Denver. Anita lives in Rochester, New York, with her wife, Lisa, and cats, JoJo and Nemo.
Lydia X. Z. Brown
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a writer, educator, attorney, advocate, organizer, and strategist, dreaming of justice, access, freedom, and radical love. They have worked with various organizations including the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network and the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective, among many others. They are a Chinese American transracial and transnational adoptee taken to the U.S. as an infant, and they have lived and worked on unceded and occupied lands of the Piscataway, Nacotchtank, Wôpanâak, and Massachusett nations. Currently, they are building and expanding the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which provides mutual aid to negatively racialized autistic people globally. They love to cuddle with cats, share delicious food with good company, and learn the words to obscure songs that they hope everyone they know will eventually learn too.
White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare lives near Lake Champlain in occupied Abenaki territory (currently known as Vermont) where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written two books of creative non-fiction, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, and a collection of poetry, The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion, and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace.
New York City, NY
Cara Page is a Black Feminist Queer cultural/memory worker, curator, and organizer. She comes from a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast. For the past 30+ years, she has fought for LGBTQGNCI, Black, People of Color & Indigenous liberation, and organized in the Southeast with movement builders such as Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Project South, and the Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative she has built with many organizers, healers and cultural workers across the country. She has worked with such organizations nationally & internationally as INCITE!, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, the Committee on Women, Population & the Environment and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Rooted in a radical global southern politic and Black/Feminist radical traditions she has organized to build community led safety & wellness strategies to interrupt and intervene generational trauma, policing and surveillance; and build survivor-led wellness strategies to transform interpersonal, communal and state violence. She believes in the abolition of the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) and the MIC (Medical Industrial Complex), systems that continue to use policing and surveillance to criminalize & exploit Black, People of Color and Indigenous communities, target our practitioners and erase our traditions as extensions of state control. She is the former Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project; an organizing center for, by and about Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Two Spirit, Transgender & Gender Non Conforming People of Color in New York City fighting for economic/racial and gender justice. She is also the co-founder of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective; a southeastern network of healers, health practitioners and organizers responding and intervening on incidences of violence & generational trauma. A co-architect of healing justice as a political framework, she has bridged healing and social justice work between racial/migrant and gender justice, LGBTQI liberation; and reproductive and transformative justice movements. She is also a recipient of the Barnard Center for Research on Women Activist-in –Residence Fellowship.
She is the recent recipient of the 2019-2020 Open Society Foundations Soros Equality Fellowship. As a Soros Fellow, Page will launch an archival & memory organizing project on generational trauma and the Medical Industrial Complex called Changing Frequencies. In collaboration with many other community partners she will pursue curating community led strategies, discourse and agitation of the policing, surveillance, violence and exploitation of the MIC as an extension of the colonialist project. This will include the unveiling of an MIC Timeline Project in January 2020 with co-lead curators, Susan Raffo & Anjali Taneja.
San Francisco, CA
Drago Renteria is a Deaf, Chicano trans elder who is passionate about creating change. He is founder and Executive Director of the national Deaf Queer Resource Center and recently founded the National Deaf LGBTQ Awareness Week Project to bring more awareness and visibility to this often overlooked and underserved marginalized community. Drago has educated and presented to diverse audiences nationwide on LGBTQ, trans, and disability/access issues. He’s also served on numerous local and national boards, including the boards of the FTM International, Transgender Law Center, and the Youth Gender Project. Drago is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and did part of his undergraduate work at Gallaudet University. Originally from El Paso, Texas, Drago has called San Francisco home for over three decades and lives in the Mission District with his partner of 18 years, Jennifer, and their amazing genius service dog, Magnus the Magnificent.
Kiyomi Fujikawa is a Seattle-based, mixed-race queer trans femme who has been involved with movements to end gender- and state-based violence since 2001. Her political home is with queer and trans communities of color and organizing to prevent and respond to intimate partner violence. Kiyomi is currently the Co-Director of Third Wave, a fund for youth-led gender justice movement building groups. She is on the board of Groundswell Fund and Funders Concerned about AIDS, and is a former Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) Leadership Development Fellow. She has previously worked with the Fund for Trans Generations at Borealis Philanthropy and API Chaya.
Melissa Kelley Colibrí
San Diego, CA
Melissa Kelley Colibrí is a Deaf Queer mixed latinx non-binary femme. They are a full time disability justice movement worker in the LGBTQ community of San Diego, CA with multiple roles: the Accessibility Manager for San Diego Pride, San Diego Trans Pride, and SheFest: ensuring events and meetings are accessible for all people with disabilities including Deaf folks. In addition, they provide free accessibility training workshops for community members, organizers, and agencies that serve LGBTQ folks in San Diego County and give presentations on accessibility nationally. Melissa believes inaccessibility is a wide-ranging social justice issue of growing importance as more individuals navigate the world with the experience of disability and especially for those who also experience intersectional oppression and discrimination. Melissa believes that a sense of community is vital for all people with disabilities including Deaf folks to have within all LGBTQ communities. Community enables us to connect and thrive and organize, it brings feelings of identity and pride as well as kinship and is possible through full accessibility, communication, inter-group relations and networking. Melissa is deeply passionate about breaking isolation through networking, building a support system with ready access to resources, services, and events for all disabled and Deaf members of the LGBTQ community in San Diego and beyond. Melissa holds an AA degree in Alcohol and Other Drugs Studies and a BA degree in Sociology. They are currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health. When not studying, advocating or coordinating events, Melissa can be found meditating, traveling, hiking, reading, watching hummingbirds, or whisking matcha.
Gabriel Foster is a black, queer, trans, ‘momma’s boy’ who recently returned home to Seattle most recently from New York. He is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Trans Justice Funding Project for the past 8 years where he brings together trans and non binary organizers and community members as Community Grantmaking Fellows to making funding decisions annually. Prior to making his way to the East Coast, he worked in Seattle, WA with the Northwest Network of bisexual, trans, lesbian & gay survivors of abuse helping to create their youth programming. From age fifteen to twenty-six he went from a program constituent to program staff in the American Friends Service Committee’s GLBTQ Youth Program. Before arriving in New York, he worked at SPARK Reproductive Justice Now with LGBTQ youth of color and allies in Atlanta, GA; the Leeway Foundation, supporting women and trans people creating art and social change in Philadelphia, PA and provided outreach for the Johnathan Lax Fund at the Bread and Roses foundation in Philadelphia, PA. Gabriel is also a former staff member of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Additionally, Gabriel is an ABFE Fellow alumni and a former board member of Funders for LGBT Issues. He is currently settling back in to West Coast life and he thoroughly enjoys talking about the Watchmen series with anyone who will make eye contact with him.
Stacey Park Milbern