Opening Remarks at the Detroit Warriors on Wheels Conference, Saturday, February 29, 2020

First I would like to thank Warriors on Wheels (WOW) for including me today. WOW is a force that is leading the way for Black disabled people in Detroit. They are strong, Black women who are making a difference in the lives of disabled people.  So I thank you for your work and your dedication.

I have a quick story to tell.  Some 20 years ago I sat in on a workshop where the presenters provided information on a study of disabled women in Detroit and surrounding areas.  The researched said that White women who had sustained injuries resulting in disability had primarily sustained them through accident related incidents while Black women had predominantly sustained injuries from crime related incidents.  My first comment to the panel was that I would have to look at the data because I was unsure of the interpretation of the results. Next, and most importantly, that research cannot talk about crime in relationship to Black people unless there is also data on the impact of racism and internalized oppression.

This story tells why the topics we discuss here today must be talked about, researched, and activism planned and design by Black disabled people.

I pass the torch to everyone here today to continue to search for the truth, correct untruths and hold people accountable for how Black disabled people and their families are portrayed.

Thank you.

Jane Dunhamn