Dessa Cosma is executive director of Detroit Disability Power, a Ford grantee, working to build the organizing power of the disability community. If you’re working on economic justice but aren’t including a focus on disability, she explains, you’re leaving out the most marginalized people.
“People with disabilities are some of the most impoverished people in the United States. We typically live below the poverty line and because of lack of access to education and jobs, we will remain there unless we do something about it.”
In the United States, there is upwards of a 70 percent unemployment rate in disability communities. This number is a direct result of unjust systems that limit access to education, jobs, housing, and transport for disabled people.
Dessa asks us to reimagine these systems so that, together, we can create a future of work that is beneficial for everyone.
Interested in learning more about how to center people with disabilities in your work? Check out these helpful resources from our grantees.
- Read the report, Advancing Economic Security for People with Disabilities, from the Center for American Progress.
- Learn about Best Practices for Employment from the National Organization on Disability.
- Listen to Disability Rights are Civil Rights, a podcast from Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
- Work with Detroit Disability Power, which facilitates workshops for social justice organizations wishing to better understand the systemic oppression of disabled people.
This piece is part of Disability Demands Justice, a dynamic, ever-evolving hub to deepen our understanding of how disability intersects with social justice.
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