Master Planning Eugenics: Mapping, Navigating and Negotiating the Intersections and Overlays of Race, Class, Disability, and Queerness

UBC Okanagan Equity and Inclusion in collaboration with IBPOC Connections and the Disability Affinity Group present a conversation with Talila Lewis.

Visioning, constructing, and maintaining structural oppressions necessitates a collaborative master planning approach that is comprehensive, nimble, and timeless. To that end, ableism has always been central to settler-colonial states’ economic, political, legal, medical, and social anatomies. States intentionally exposing certain communities to precarity, violence, and deprivation and/or construct categories that invite subjugation, criminalization, pathologization, and commodification of society’s “undesirables” to endlessly reoccur. Learn how race, class, disability, queerness, and other identities have been carefully constructed and exactingly maintained through the application of ideas of purported “delinquency, dependency, and defectiveness.” Talila Lewis will reframe ableism as a form of oppression that is experienced by all marginalized peoples (as opposed to just being experienced by those who are disabled or labeled disabled); and offer context into the inextricably linked struggles of multiply-marginalized people. The audience will leave with a new appreciation of why disability justice is a requisite for all forms of social justice–especially racial justice.

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Named one of Pacific Standard Magazine's Top 30 Thinkers Under 30 and a 2015 White House Champion of Change, Talila A. Lewis is a social justice engineer who uses lawyering, organizing, popular education, and multi-modal information visualization to disrupt cycles of violence and systemic inequity. Lewis’ advocacy primarily focuses on prison abolition, decriminalizing disability, ending wrongful convictions of deaf/disabled people, and providing support to multiply-marginalized deaf and disabled people affected by mass incarceration.

Lewis co-founded & serves as the volunteer director of HEARD, a volunteer-dependent nonprofit organization that works to end incarceration of and violence against deaf/disabled people. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Lewis also co-founded the Harriet Tubman Collective and co-developed of the #DisabilitySolidarity praxis; serves as a consultant on various topics including racial, economic, gender, and disability justice; and previously served as a Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Attendees of Talila Lewis’ talk will be invited to stay on the zoom call for a facilitated debrief on the themes and information touched upon during the session. Specifically, this space will allow people to further explore this information in the context of British Columbia and the Okanagan.

This space is centred on the experiences of Indigenous, Black, Asian, and People of Colour and people who identify has having a disability at UBC Okanagan and Vancouver. We ask that people attending who do not identity as part of any of these groups be mindful of the ways they occupy space.