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Charis welcomes Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in conversation with K (Toyin) Agbebyi for a discussion of The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs. In The Future Is Disabled, Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha asks some provocative questions: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled―and what if that's not a bad thing? And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it's possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation?
Building on the work of her game-changing book Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about disability justice at the end of the world, documenting the many ways disabled people kept and are keeping each other―and the rest of the world―alive during Trump, fascism and the COVID-19 pandemic. Other subjects include crip interdependence, care and mutual aid in real life, disabled community building, and disabled art practice as survival and joy.
Written over the course of two years of disabled isolation during the pandemic, this is a book of love letters to other disabled QTBIPOC (and those concerned about disability justice, the care crisis, and surviving the apocalypse); honor songs for kin who are gone; recipes for survival; questions and real talk about care, organizing, disabled families, and kin networks and communities; and wild brown disabled femme joy in the face of death. With passion and power, The Future Is Disabled remembers our dead and insists on our future.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a nonbinary femme autistic disabled writer, space creator and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher and Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish and Galician/Roma ascent. They are the author or co-editor of ten books, including (co-edited with Ejeris Dixon) Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, and Bodymap.
A Lambda Award winner who has been shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle five times, she is winner of Lambda’s 2020 Jean Cordova Award “honoring a lifetime of work documenting the complexities of queer of color/ disabled/ femme experience.” They are a 2020-2021 Disability Futures Fellow and a member of the YBCA 105. Since 2009, they have been a lead performer with disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid; since 2020 they have been on the programming committee of the Disability and Intersectionality Summit.
Raised in rust belt central Massachusetts and shaped by T’karonto and Oakland, they are currently at work building Living Altars/ The Stacey Park Milbern Liberation Arts Center, a disabled QTBIPOC writers space and accessible writers retreat for disabled BIPOC creators. They are a haggard porch and couch witch and a very unprofessional adaptive trike rider.
K Toyin Agbebiyi (they/them) is an organizer, writer, and macro social worker based in Atlanta, Georgia. Their work revolves around prison abolition, and disability justice. They are a co-creator of 8toabolition.com, a former member of Survived and Punished, and the No New Jails Campaign, and a co-founder of the #FreeAshleyNow campaign. They currently organize with an Atlanta abolitionist collective ASAP. You can follow K on twitter and instagram @sheabutterfemme.
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In The Future Is Disabled, Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha asks some provocative questions: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled―and what if that's not a bad thing?
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all.
Transformative justice seeks to solve the problem of violence at the grassroots level, without relying on punishment, incarceration, or policing. Community-based approaches to preventing crime and repairing its damage have existed for centuries. However, in the punative atmosphere of contemporary criminal justice systems, they are often marginalized and operate under the radar.
In their fourth collection of poetry, Lambda Literary Award-winning poet and writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha continues her excavation of working-class queer brown femme survivorhood and desire.
Finalist for the Triangle Awards, Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, 2015
Shortlisted for the ReLit Award, Poetry, 2016