In Canada, people with disabilities are consistently told, explicitly and implicitly, that they do not have the right to exist freely.
In this lecture, community organizer and co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario, Sarah Jama discussed the ways the “disabled body” and “disabled mind” are treated through consumerist understandings in order to uphold existing oppressive structures in our society.
Sarah discussed the history of the disability justice movement in Canada and the U.S., the historical links between colonialism and ableism, unpacked themes around global capitalism and discussed how to build a world that truly uplifts the rights of people with disabilities. Lastly, she talked about her journey as an organizer and the steps she has taken towards building inclusive movements. The answer to a better world is a revolution that centres disability justice.
Until the great mass of people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attainedHelen Keller
Sarah Jama is a community organizer from Hamilton, Ontario. She is co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO). She holds a Social Sciences degree from McMaster University, and a Lead Organizer Certificate from the Centre for Labour Research and Education from Berkeley 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: CUPE Ontario, The Wesley Institute, Upstream Canada, 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), 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 a Program Coordinator and was 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 is very politically active, and recently co-managed the successful municipal campaign of Councillor Nrinder Nann in Hamilton Ontario. She also is a board member of the Hamilton Transit Rider's Union and a member of the Broadbent Institute's Power Lab. She is also an executive member of the Federal New Democratic Party.
Loren O. Delany
Loren O. Delaney is a faculty member at Sheridan College, bringing a wealth of knowledge pertaining to Community Development and Social justice work to numerous classrooms. A profound and critical thinker, public speaker and community organizer with Mad roots, Loren’s passion for disability justice is a key driving force in her work toward greater social and environmental justice. A published writer, Loren blends advocacy, education, art and social justice research, to explore and unpack what it means to simply be, against a “black-drop” of diverse and diffuse identities, comprising the human experience, in a globalized world.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Woman and Gender studies and Sociology and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Toronto. Recently, she served as Tangled Art + Disability’s Access Initiative Manager, leading the Tangled Art + Inclusion pilot.