Charis welcomes Ben Mattlin in conversation with E.R. Anderson for a discussion of Disability Pride: Dispatches from a Post-ADA World. A revealing portrait of the diverse disability community as it is today, and how disability attitudes, activism, and representation have evolved since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In Disability Pride, disabled journalist Ben Mattlin weaves together interviews and reportage to introduce a cavalcade of individuals, ideas, and events in engaging, fast-paced prose. He traces the generation that came of age after the ADA reshaped America, and how it is influencing the future. He documents how autistic self-advocacy and the neurodiversity movement upended views of those whose brains work differently. He lifts the veil on a thriving disability culture—from social media to high fashion, Hollywood to Broadway—showing how the politics of beauty for those with marginalized body types and facial features is sparking widespread change.
He also explores the movement’s shortcomings, particularly the erasure of nonwhite and LGBTQIA+ people that helped give rise to Disability Justice. He delves into systemic ableism in health care, the right-to-die movement, institutionalization, and the scourge of subminimum-wage labor that some call legalized slavery. And he finds glimmers of hope in how disabled people never give up their fight for parity and fair play.
Beautifully written, without anger or pity, Disability Pride is a revealing account of an often misunderstood movement and identity, an inclusive reexamination of society’s treatment of those it deems different.
Ben Mattlin is a journalist, essayist, and author. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, a congenital muscle weakness, he has been a lifelong wheelchair user. His books include Miracle Boy Grows Up and In Sickness and In Health. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and Vox, and on NPR. He lives in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter (@benmattlin).
Charis Circle Executive Director, Errol "E.R." Anderson ( they/them or he/him) manages the programming, fiscal, and daily operations of Charis Circle, and is always interested in the ways our communities can share skills and resources. A native Atlantan, E.R. came to Charis as one of the founding members of the Young Writer's Group in 1997, and has enjoyed helping build connections between communities of activists, artists, and academics in this city ever since. E.R. co-facilitates the Gender Creative Parenting Collective and Trans and Friends. When not at Charis, E.R. is working on a novel, And Let God Sort Them Out.
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An eye-opening portrait of the diverse disability community as it is today, and how disability attitudes, activism, and representation have evolved since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
After contracting polio as a child, Sandra Gail Lambert progressed from braces and crutches to a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair—but loneliness has remained a constant, from the wild claustrophobia of a child in body casts to just yesterday, trapped at home, gasping from pain.