Disability is Diversity Week

Disability is Diversity Week

Disability is Diversity Week, formerly known as Disability Awareness Week, has had several successful years of education and consciousness-raising events and programs focusing on disability-related issues, rights, and experience. Disability is Diversity Week will continue its legacy of education and culture with a strong focus on disability as an identity of diversity and difference to be not only accepted but celebrated.

Join us for this year's Disability is Diversity Week, March 26-30 2018. 

Monday, March 26:

Event - “Disability: Language, Attitude, and Justice” 
Location - Whitman Room 
Time - 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Brief Description: Christa Mullis (UNCA 2017) presents “Disability Attitudes, Language, and Justice,” a workshop that aims to teach participants about disability as a matter of diversity, community, culture and justice. How we talk about disability is more than just a matter of being “politically correct” or “sensitive.” It is a matter of how we think about disability, and bring justice, respect, autonomy, dignity, and human rights to disabled people who face both individual, systematic and institutionalized ableism.

This event is sponsored by Multicultural Affairs. Refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, March 27:

Event - Students with Disabilities Panel
Location - Brown Hall 217
Time - 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Brief Description: The panel will feature students with non-apparent or “invisible” disabilities, including Endometriosis and other chronic medical conditions; ADHD and Autism Spectrum; and Dyslexia. These students will share their experiences, insights, and views through their time both on and off campus. Students will be given the opportunity to respond to questions from the moderator and ask their own questions.

This event is sponsored by the Office of Academic Accessibility. Refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, March 28th:

Event - ASL Bingo
Location - Karpen Hall 038
Time - 6:00 pm to 8:00 p.m. 

Brief Description: Hosted by the UNCA ASL Club, ASL Bingo is a great game to teach basic American Sign Language vocabulary, such as alphabet and numbers. It is a simple game of Bingo, where instead of shouting the letters and numbers, you sign them. Random letters will be drawn at random, and students mark the corresponding letter on their cards. The first to cover 5 letters in a row, column, or in diagonal wins the round! Join us in Karpen Hall 038 at 6 P.M. and engage with other students using American Sign Language (ASL) in a fun and simple game of Bingo.

Woman with long black hair and white shirt using ASL to sign for Bingo players


Thursday, March 29th:

Event - Film Screening + Open Mic Night (Laura Hope-Gill)
Location - Highsmith Student Union 104 - RESERVATION CONFIRMED
Time - 8:15 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Brief Description:  Bring 3-5 minutes of your creative writing to read aloud (or request another person to read it aloud!), perform a musical instrument, or bring artwork to share. The event will be facilitated by Laura Hope-Gill (see bio below) and is open to all students who would like to participate in a Disability is Diversity Open-Mic Event. Following the open mic, the documentary Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty will be shown. (CW: Discussion of sexual content, some scenes depicting sexual interactions)

Light-skinned woman with long dark hair, smiling.

Laura Hope-Gill received her diagnosis of sensorineural deafness in her early 30s. She directs Asheville Wordfest and also the M.A. in Writing Program at Lenoir-Rhyne University where she also directs the Certificate in Narrative Healthcare Program. She wrote an essay about her deafness in 2009 that received an NCArts Fellowship, and she written and published many more poems and essays about deafness since (including this one: HAL-9000, Bach, and the Personal Physics of Going Deaf.) In her writing, she has discovered that deafness has taught her how to listen and how to teach others how to be better listeners. Without writing, she is pretty sure she would have stayed in the first stage of her diagnosis, a state of shocked despondency. Writing has filled her deafness and life as a deaf mother and friend with meaning.

Image of person in wheelchair being held upside down, arms extended. Poster reads: Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty


Friday, March 30th:

Event - Game Night with UNCA Gaming Club
Location - Brown Hall 217 
Time - 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Brief Description:  Games include a 6-player Catan, Pandemic, Uno, The Resistance, MTG (intro decks for new players), and Yugioh. A friendly intro to Dungeons and Dragons will be offered for any interested players. Bring a favorite game to share!

Three light-skinned people sitting at a table playing a board game.

Disability is Diversity Week is made possible through the generous sponsorship of:

Office of Academic Accessibility
Disability Cultural Center
Office of Multicultural Affairs

Disability is Diversity Week 2016


Monday 11/7

Matt Glowacki – Able-Bodied Like Me

Alumni Hall, Highsmith Student Union 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)

2016 Keynote Speaker Matt Glowacki

Matt Glowacki is a highly sought after diversity speaker, successful entrepreneur, and former Paralympian. In Matt’s keynote talk for Disability is Diversity Week (DiDW) he will explain the concepts of “Intersectionality” and "Passing" within a framework of Disability and Social Justice. Matt will encourage you to break down barriers that may exist between the able-bodied and those who have a disability and explain why it is important to have high expectations for everyone. Matt has delivered his messages of diversity to over a million people and two sitting Presidents of the United States. He is the most-booked diversity speaker on college campuses for the past 10 years, helping students better understand social justice and diversity and why they are important. Matt teaches students about how to find happiness and how to see potential in themselves and others and shares insights about personal disabilities and challenges. In addition to being named Campus Activities Magazine’s 2014 Best Speaker Matt has also been named the Best Diversity Artist for 2010 and 2013.  

Event Co-Sponsors: Associate Provosts Office, Student Health Service, Residential Education, CESAP, UNCA’s Athletics Department, Education Department and the Humanities Program.


Tuesday 11/8

Keelin Schneider Brown Bag Presentation (Faculty/Staff Only)

Whitman Room in Ramsey Library, 12 – 1 pm

Keelin Schneider, UNCA Alumni, is a Certified Health Education Specialist

Keelin Schneider is a UNC-Asheville Alumni (class of 2000) who went on to complete a Masters in Health Sciences (with a concentration in Health Education) at Western Carolina University and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. As an adult, Keelin received an Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum diagnosis that has helped her provide context to many experiences she had as a student, both at UNC-A and WCU. She will discuss what she’s learned from her personal experiences, education, and personal research, and will share ideas and suggestions on how to create a more inclusive classroom, including the use of some Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies. Keelin will be presenting information that can be used by educators in working with students who may or may not have a formal diagnosis and/or Letters of Accommodation (LOAs) from the Office of Academic Accessibility (OAA). Co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Accessibility (OAA) and the Disability Cultural Center (DCC).


Wednesday 11/9

Neurodiversity: Creativity and Innovation Thrive When We
Welcome Diverse Minds

Whitman Room RAM 101, 12:30 - 1:30

Sparrow Rose Jones, author of “No You Don’t: Essays From an Unstrange Mind” and “The ABCs of Autism Acceptance.”

Sparrow Rose Jones is an Autistic writer, artist, public speaker, and activist. Jones is the author of “No You Don’t: Essays From an Unstrange Mind” and “The ABCs of Autism Acceptance.” More information about Jones can be found at http://www.sparrowrose.com.


Movie Night: Lives Worth Living

Highsmith Grotto, 7pm-8:30 pm

“Lives Worth Living” movie capture.

“Lives Worth Living” is both an historical documentary about the disability rights movement and a chronicle of the lives and experiences of its leaders who refused to remain unseen and unheard. People with disabilities are one of the largest minority groups in the United States today as well as on the UNC-Asheville campus.  For most of US history people with disabilities were subjects, not citizens. People with disabilities were unable to access schools, public transportation or allowed to vote, and hundreds of thousands were institutionalized and/or forcibly sterilized, all of which was legal! This movie uses archival footage and interviews with leaders from within the disability rights movement and independent living movements as well as government leaders who were key to the passage of the landmark civil rights legislation the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  While our society has made great strides in recent decades, there is still work to be done. Join us to learn more about the history of this movement.


Thursday 11/10

UNCA Students with Disability Panel and Q&A

Location HIG 224, 12pm-1pm (Free Period)

The panel will be comprised of UNCA students who have disabilities. They will be sharing their perspectives, insights, and views gained through lived experiences from their time both on and off campus. In addition to responding to prepared questions from the moderator, there will be time provided for audience members to ask questions.

Disability is Diversity Week 2015



Eli Clare presents guest lecture Yearning Toward Carrie Buck:

As part of the Humanities Lecture Series

Time: 11:00 am - 12:15 pm
Location: Humanities Lecture Hall (HLH 139)
Cost: FREE!

Disability is Diversity Week 2015 Keynote speaker Eli Clare sitting on the a log along a west coast beach

The infamous Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which declared involuntary sterilization laws constitutional in 1927, was built upon the body of Carrie Buck, a poor white woman from Virginia. Using history, poetry, images, and imagination, Eli Clare explores how disability, class, gender, and whiteness often collide and asks questions about the relationship between bodies on one hand and law, history, and metaphor on the other.

Hyannis House Presents:
Citizen Autistic
A Film Highlighting Autism Activists on the Frontlines

Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Highsmith Grotto
Duration: 58 Min.
Cost: FREE!
Popcorn and Soda will be provided!

Citizen Autistic film cover photo

Citizen Autistic offers an inside look at the activists on the frontlines of the autism war—the fight for human rights and self-advocacy. Featuring interviews with Ari Ne'eman, President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Landon Bryce, founder of thAutcast.com, artist Robyn Steward, Clarissa Kripke, MD, and activist Zoe Gross, who discuss how Autism Speaks, one of the largest organizations in America, relies on propaganda to raise funds for genetic research without considering families touched by autism. Directed by William Davenport (Too Sane for this World), Citizen Autistic seeks to expose the controversies provoked by the organization's so-called advocacy by giving voice to some of the most articulate members of the communities it claims to represent.



Someone Who Moves Like You:
A Discussion on Autistic Narrative in Film, Fiction, and Memoir

Time: 12 pm-1pm (Free Period)
Location: HIG 223
Cost: FREE!

local autism and neurodiversity advocate Carolyn Ogburn

This discussion, facilitated by local autism and neurodiversity advocate Carolyn Ogburn, will explore the ways in which autism is portrayed in the media and the construction of autism as narrative. The way we understand each other’s experience, and often even our own, is shaped by the medium of story, whether fiction, nonfiction, television or film. During this event we will share some examples of autistic representation in popular culture, and discuss some of the implications these representations carry for autistic people in our culture today.  

Eli Clare
Climbing the Mountain: Super Crips and Poster Children

Time: 7 pm
Duration: 60-75 min.
Location: Alumni Hall
Cost: FREE!
Books for sale after Keynote!

painting of Eli Clare in a forest with branches growing out of him

This event will be weaving together storytelling, poetry, and analysis of disability oppression, Eli Clare unpacks the lies and stereotypes that underlie the images of disabled people.

ELI CLARE’S BIO: “White, disabled, and genderqueer, Eli Clare happily lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written a book of essays Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press, 1999, 2009) and a collection of poetry The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion (Homofactus Press, 2007) and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. He's currently finishing a book of creative non-fiction called Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure.
Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first ever Queerness and Disability Conference."


Forced Sterilization Use on Persons with Disabilities and Other Marginalized Identities
A Multidisciplinary panel Discussion
Featuring Dr. Pamela Laughon, Dr. Heidi Kelley, Professor Keith Bramlett, Dr. Mark Gibney

Time/Duration: 12-1 pm (Free Period)
Location: ZAG 227
Cost: FREE!

Sign saying "Eugenics Board: state action led to the sterilization by choice or coercion of over 7600 people, 1933-1973. Met after 1939 one block E.

This panel aims to engage students and the community in a UNCA multidisciplinary faculty-led panel discussion on the history/current state of forced sterilization. Using both a local and global perspective, we aim to highlight how forced sterilization affected people with disabilities and other marginalized peoples who were grouped under the category of "disabled" as a means to be coercively sterilized by their government.

Historically, North Carolina has the third highest sterilization rates in the US, and Buncombe county is fifth in the highest sterilizations per county in North Carolina. We believe it is important that students know our local history with forced sterilization and how the aftereffects may still be present today. Forced sterilization is often left out of popular history of the south and we believe there to be many intersections of intellectual thought which can further contextualize the violence perpetrated upon individuals with disabilities.The intersection of race and gender is very pertinent, as many black women whom sterilizations were forced upon were declared incompetent, a definition given to people with disabilities who were deemed unable to make their own medical decisions, as the documented reason for sterilization. 



Center for Diversity Education presents
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Genealogy, Genetics and African-American History

Henry Louis Gates Jr.  One of America’s most prominent intellectuals and an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker

Time: 7 pm
Location: Kimmel Arena
Cost: FREE!

Disability is Diversity Week pauses to encourage and allow the community to attend the talk by Henry Louis Gates Jr.  One of America’s most prominent intellectuals and an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, will give a free public talk, Genealogy, Genetics and African-American History, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 in UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena. This event is free and open to the public.

Kimmel Arena doors will open for this event at 6 p.m. with general admission seating for the public. Floor-level seats will be reserved for honored ASCORE guests and ticketed UNC Asheville students, faculty and staff. Ticketed floor seats not occupied by 6:45 p.m. will be available to the public on a first-come first-served basis. Backpacks and outside food and drink are not permitted in Kimmel Arena. For more information, visit cesap.unca.edu.



Invisible Disabilities and the College Experience:
A UNCA Student Panel

Location: Hyannis House
Time: 6 pm
Duration: 45-60 minutes
Cost: FREE!
Coffee and Tea will be provided!

Not every disability is visible

This panel, facilitated and given by UNCA students, will explore the college experience through the perspective of those with invisiable diabilities. As defined by the Invisible Disabilities Association: "The term invisible disabilities refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, cognitive dysfunctions, brain injuries, learning differences and mental health disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments.  These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person." This panel will work to educate the campus community on the challenges of accessibility barriers to students with invisible disabilities and the ways we can create a more accessible UNCA.

Disability Awareness Week 2014

Disability Awareness Week 2014

 Movie poster for 'Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement'

Disability Awareness Week 2014 screened the award-winning documentary “Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement” followed by a Q&A session with the producer and director, Regan Brashear. Guest speaker, Carolyn Ogburn, gave UNCA students, staff, and faculty a lecture on The Autism Spectrum as Neurodiversity taking from her experience working with the TEACCH Autism Program which focused on self-advocacy, social skills, and cultivating nself-trust and self-knowledge for adults on the spectrum. Jade McWilliams also joined DiDW for a presentation on Understanding Autism & Supporting Students on the Spectrum. As a self-advocate on the spectrum, Jade McWilliams illustrated her own experience of living on the autism spectrum and what visual supports she uses in her daily life that assist her cognitive differences. Following her presentation, Jade McWilliams, Carolyn Ogburn, and UNCA’s Director of our own Office of Academic Accessibility, Joshua Kaufman, gave a panel discussion with audience Q&A about the Autism Spectrum.

Disability Awareness Week 2013

Disability Awareness Week 2013

bobby-mcmullen bobby-otter

Disability Awareness Week 2013 brought Bobby McMullen, an extreme athlete  who has remained competitive after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 12, the loss of his vision, years of dialysis, two double transplants, heart surgery, battling cancer, and having broken more bones than he can list, to UNCA for a screening of and panel discussion about the documentary “The Way Bobby Sees It”. A silent auction was held with signed items and bikes from Bobby McMullen. Alll proceeds benefitted the Asheville division of Industries for the Blind.  UNCA’s DiDW also included a screening of the 2012 film “The Sessions” based on the life and writings of Mark O’Brien, a poet and writer who became paralyzed from the neck down who longed to lose his virginity. The Office of Academic Accessibility had also partnered with Asheville's own BPM Fabrications for the exhibit “Challenging Our Perceptions”. BPM is a local prosthetic and orthopedic device manufacturer who ran this exhibit that blends art and technology in ways that allow orthopedic and prosthetic wearers to express their imaginations and personalities through unique, one of a kind devices.