Perspectives on International Disability Activism Across Intersections

Disability Intersectionality Summit 2018 Pre-Conference Event 


Friday 17 August 2018

Boston, Massachusetts

Northeastern University School of Law

Dockser Rooms 240 and 104

*This event will be ticketed* Pay what you can at the door. Suggested cost $25.00 or whatever you can. Donations greatly appreciated click here to direct your questions on donations and sponsorship info of the Pre-Conference event to Lydia Brown.

We are pleased to invite you to attend a special forum in advance of DIS 2018, focused on disability and its intersections with race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, in non-U.S. contexts.

Tentative Forum Panelists(bios updated to page as they are received)


Ayman Eckford 














[Photo text: Image is of Ayman Eckford. The photo is from a side and their head is turned slightly towards the camera in view of their full face. They have a gray and black sweatshirt on, and a black shirt underneath. They are looking towards the camera with a closed mouth facial expression. They have a haircut that has shaved sides and hair combed forward at the top in a light blue color.]


Ayman Eckford is a neurodiversity, disability justice and queer activist, intersectional feminist and radical youth liberationist. They are autistic multiple neurodivergent queer Jewish refugee. They were born in Donetsk, in the east of Ukraine, and move to St. Petersburg, Russia after the outbreak of the civil war. In St. Petersburg, they created “Autistic initiative for civil rights,” the first Russian initiative group, created by autistic people for autistic people.


Also they created a number web projects, the main ones of which are Neurodiversity in Russia (the first Russian-language website that views autism from the neurodiversity perspective), Intersection (an intersectional Russian-language project particulary focusing on queer-autistic people) and Anti-ageism (the website with most of the Russian-languge theoretical base about youth liberation, most texts was written or translated by Ayman).

Also they are activist of the first Russian initiative group for LGBT people with a disability Queer-Peace and disability consultant of the majority of large Russian LGBT organizations (like Сoming out groupRussian LGBT NetworkSide by Side Film FestivalNuntiare and Recruare, etc). They conducted many events, lectures and public actions about autism, disability justice, intersectionality and youth liberation. After they converted to Islam, they worked on combating Islamophobia in Russian activist community. Now they does not relate themself to a particular religion but continues to combating with Islamophobic sentiments. 

Finn Gardiner









[Photo text: Image is of Finn Gardiner, a black autistic trans and queer person, wearing dark glasses is looking directly into the camera and smiling. Finn is wearing a dark coat, and a backpack strap is visible over his right shoulder. In the background are trees, and a statue.] 

Finn Gardiner is a tireless disability rights advocate, primarily interested in educational equity, intersectional justice, comparative policy, and inclusive technology. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. 
He currently works with the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Throughout his work, Finn combines disability advocacy, policy analysis and research, and written and visual communications through policy briefs, original reports and white papers, and contributions to research projects. His research and advocacy interests include education and employment for autistic adults, comparative disability policy, inclusive technology, LGBTQ cultural competency, and policy that takes into account the intersections between disability, race, LGBTQ identities, class, and other experiences. Finn recently worked with a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Human Services Research Institute on a project that gauged attitudes about the creation of an autism database in Massachusetts in order to create policy recommendations for the state.

In addition to his duties with Lurie and ASAN, Finn also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Human Services Research Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to research and policy advocacy benefiting people with disabilities and seniors. 

Finn is a seasoned public speaker who has appeared at a variety of venues, including the Obama White House’s 2016 LGBTQ Disability Day panel, the National Council on Disability’s panel on inclusive technology for people with disabilities, the United Nations’ 2016 Disability and Ageing Symposium, and the 2015 and 2017 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities national conferences. 
Finn’s writing has been published in NOS Magazine, *The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism*, and the anthology *All the Weight of our Dreams*.

Freyja Haraldsdóttir 



[Photo text: A white dark haired disabled woman lying down in an orange wheelchair. She has grey eyeshadow and a red lipstick with 'disability bitch' written on her forehead in black and red. On the side of her chair is a pink protest signed with the Tabú logo on it as well as saying in black letters Ég er ekki hlaðborð (english translation: I'm not a buffet). 


Freyja Haraldsdóttir is a feminist disability activist and the founder of Tabú, an intersectional feminist disability movement in Iceland. Freyja has the past decade been devoted to advocating for personal assistance for disabled people in Iceland and fighting against institutionalization as well as fighting for intersectional approaches cross different movements of marginalized people, e.g. in relation to disability, gender, racial, class and queer issues. In her work for Tabú she has focused on activism around reducing violence against disabled people and building up platforms of peer support and empowerment workshops and activism for disabled people of all genders. Freyja has a BA in social education, MA in gender studies and is starting a PhD in education from the University of Iceland. She also works as an adjunct lecturer at the same university.


Khairani Barokka










[Photo: Photograph is in black and white, of an Indonesian woman with short hair, in a light dress and dark shirt on a park bench.]

Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer, poet, and artist in London, whose work has been presented extensively in twelve countries. Okka has received six residencies and multiple grants; among her honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow for her masters, and is a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change for arts practice and research. Okka is creator of shows such as Eve and Mary Are Having Coffee, Indonesia's only Edinburgh Fringe representative in 2014; co-editor of HEAT: A Southeast Asian Urban Anthology and Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back; author-illustrator of Indigenous Species; and author of poetry collection Rope. Her most recent art exhibition is Selected Annahs, on now at SALTS Basel. She is a Visual Cultures PhD Researcher at Goldsmiths. 

Khairani Barokka's website

Kiran Foster





[Photo: a young brown person with multiple nose piercings and curly black hair looks over their thick glasses at the camera.]


Kiran Anthony Foster is a mixed-race immigrant sex worker living in auckland, new zealand. a staunch prison abolitionist, anti-imperialist marxist, and disability/queer rights activist, their continued history of radical advocacy is informed by having been born into a culture of silence as an autistic, psychotic and intersex child. other interests include open-source/copyleft content, poetry, cosplay and cats.

Lina Eckford















[Photo text: Image is of Lina Eckford. She is facing the camera directly, but is looking off to the side a bit and a closed mouth smile. She is wearing a black Slayer t-shirt that is black. She has vibrant red short hair, and dark eyes.] 


Lina Ekford is autistic bisexual woman who live in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is radical youth liberationist, neurodiversity supporter, disability justice and civil rights activist. Together with her wife Ayman, she runs Autistic initiative for civil rights and a number of projects about autism and disability. She is the author of articles about autism written for parents of autistic children. She is also an activist of Russian LGBT-Network, Queer-Peace, and other Russian LGBT organizations.


María (Conchita) Hernandez-Legorreta

Maria (Conchita) Hernandez Legorreta was born in Mexico and grew up in California. Conchita received her Bachelor's degree from Saint Mary’s College of California, her Master’s in Teaching from Louisiana Tech University and a Masters certificate in working with Deaf-Blind students. She is currently a Doctoral student at George Washington University pursuing a degree in Special Education. Conchita is the director of the NFB BELL Academy in Washington DC that serves blind youth of color and empowers them to learn braille and foster a positive philosophy on blindness. Conchita is founder of METAS, a non-profit organization that trains educators in Latin America that work with blind/low vision students and students with other disabilities. Conchita is also a co-founder of the National Coalition of Latinx with Disabilities that seeks to amplify the voices of disabled Latinx in the disability rights movement. Currently, Conchita works in Washington DC as a teacher of blind students.

Mizuki Hsu

Sara María Acevedo














[Photo: A Mestiza woman with dark brown neck-length hair and big brown eyes smiles sideways at the camera. Underneath her photo are the letters : “The Future is Accessible” in red and white.]


Sara M. Acevedo (Neurowitch) is an autistic mestiza, educator, and disability justice advocate born and raised in Colombia. Her background is in linguistics, disability studies, and activist anthropology. Sara holds a Masters of Liberal Arts with a focus on Disability Studies from Temple University in Philadelphia and a PhD in Anthropology and Social Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. She is the recipient of three fellowships; the Integral Teaching Fellowship, The Diversity and Disability Advocacy Fellowship, and the Center for Writing and Scholarship Fellowship, also from CIIS. Her dissertation co-documents the experiences of autistic grassroots leaders, educators and public intellectuals based in Berkeley, California. The work of these leaders is unprecedented in disability service provision, since they themselves design, implement and oversee two community-based transition programs serving autistic and otherwise neurodivergent youth in the Bay Area. They do so by following a model of education that they have themselves created and applied in practice, the principles of liberatory education, multiple voices in the neurodiversity movement as well as a set of other disability justice strategies. With their work, they are bringing a whole new set of possibilities for intellectually and developmentally disabled youth to safely engage in their own communities of choice. 


Sara received an honorable mention for the 2017 Irving k. Zola Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Disability Studies for her paper: Neuroqueering Composition: Sensual Reflections on the Inclusive Life of Thoughts. She was recently selected to serve in the Board of Directors by the same organization. 


Sara has collaborated with U.S. grassroots leaders in the Mental Health movement, The Mad Pride Movement, and the Neurodiversity Movement in order to potentialize cross- movement solidarity and coalition building. This collaboration emphasizes shared political and educational aims while honoring the multiplicity of lived experiences that each bring to the table. 


Sara is co-founder of the Spanish blog "Autismo, Liberación y Orgullo", alongside co-author Mónica Vidal Gutiérrez, another autistic Colombian woman and mother to an autistic son. The blog is a political, educational, and informational response to the lack of literature, resources, grassroots materials and activist narratives authored by Spanish-speaking autistics and otherwise neurodivergent people in Spanish speaking countries, where the primacy of the medical and the charity models of disability is still strong.


Sarah Jama



[Photo: Image is of a black woman in an electric wheelchair that parked diagonally in front of Hamilton City Hall. She is wearing a black and white striped dress and is smiling directly into the camera.]


Sarah Jama is a community organizer from Hamilton, Ontario. She is co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) and holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University. Her lived experiences have fostered interests and a passion for: community engagement, disability justice, and activism. ​


​Sarah has given a variety of keynotes, including for the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO). She has also been a speaker for a variety of organizations, such as: Start up Fest, The Broadbent Institute, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Sexual Assault Centre for the Greater Hamilton Area (SACHA), Experience Canada, The Elect more Women Conference, The Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education (CAPDHHE), CBC Radio One, the Ajax Diversity Conference, the Indigenous, Racialized, Migrant and People with Disabilities Solidarity Symposium, and more.


Sarah currently works at the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion as an Outreach Coordinator and is also a Community Engagement Liaison to Councillor Matthew Green at the City of Hamilton. In her spare time, she acts as a consultant, and is currently working with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to create anti-racism training and peer support based curriculum for students at the school board.

Sarah Jama's website

Shiri Eisner














[Photo: A Mizrhahni genderqueer person with dark hair pulled back, wearing glasses, and several face piercings in her eyebrow, nose, and bottom lip, looks upwards at an angle into the camera. She has dark eyes, and is wearing a shiny metallic blue top with mermaid-like scales on her top.]


Shiri Eisner is a bisexual, genderqueer, and feminist activist and writer. She is also Mizrahi, vegan, disabled, an anarchist, a geek, a metalhead, and a crazy cat lady. She is the author of the book Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, the founder of the bi community in Israel/Occupied Palestine, and a long time organizer in various local social justice and radical left movements. She is currently on a break from her MA in gender studies, but is looking forward to getting back to her dissertation, which is about bisexuality on TV.

Toril Heglum







[Photo: An image of Toril Heglum sitting in a manual wheelchair, dressed in a black shirt, and black pants, with a colorful scarf around her neck. She wears glasses and has short cropped hair. She is sitting outside in front of a stone wall, in a grassy area and is looking out into the distance towards the camera.]

Toril is a Norwegian, queer, feminist and disabled advocate for intersectional justice. She works as an independent consultant, focusing on social sustainability as a suitable approach for combating intersectional discrimination and oppression.


Her lived experience of ableism has continuously served as a strong motivation for engagement in a wide range of political activism, mostly in - or as a representative for -  different NGO’s in the Norwegian disability rights movement. She also has been an elected county council member as well as a local politician for the Socialist Left Party.


Toril’s history includes multiple (both voluntary and involuntary) admissions to psychiatric hospitals/centers and being exposed to mechanical restraint. Besides that, she also self-identify as neurodivergent.


From 2008 to earlier this year Toril was employed in Norway’s only national Independent Living cooperative, Uloba. Most of the time as a key account manager for Uloba’s Personal Assistance services to municipalities across Norway.


She is currently a temporary project manager for Ulobas initiative on developing a Norwegian model for Supported Decision-Making, in accordance with UN CRPD.


Access Information

We will ensure ASL interpretation and CART captioning, and will do our best to coordinate community interpretation for other languages as we can. We will be seeking volunteers (and if funding allows, we will pay, as we do not believe in expecting unpaid labor) for Spanish and Russian interpretation in particular.


We only host DIS events in physically accessible spaces. We ask all participants and attendees to arrive scent-free. No flash photography is allowed. We also provide a sensory break room, and the option of using social interaction/communication badges. 

For more information:

Please contact DIS Steering Committee member Lydia Brown via email at or phone at +1 202-618-0187 with any questions about the upcoming forum. We look forward to having you join us!

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