College Issues Day discusses disabilities

On Oct. 23, staff and faculty attended College Issues Day to learn about disability justice.

The day began with remarks by Disability Resource Center Director Susan Gjolmesli about her Bellevue College experience. While there used to be few resources available, things have changed considerably. She spoke of how everyone acquires disabilities as they grow, signifying the importance of this event.

Mia Mingus, the keynote speaker, was introduced by Colin Donovan, a DRC specialist, as “a writer, a community educator and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice responses.”

Mingus began by explaining how disability justice is for everyone because “whether we know it or not, we’re working with disabled people.”  Mingus also discussed how narrow society’s definition of disability is when it is actually “any and social models of disability and how, to understand disability, we must look at it from a different angle.”

An adjunct faculty member who spoke on the condition of anonymity felt that Mingus gave a good overview of social justice issues, but that “physical disabilities have so strongly dominated disabilities rights issues for so long that it was disheartening to hear so much focus given to them in this talk, with barely even any lip service paid to other types of disabilities.”

College Issues Day also included a student panel from the DRC and four workshops. The adjunct faculty member felt these activities were a more productive and practical use of staff members’ time.