Welcome to the website of The National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC)

NBDC is the nation’s organization for all Black disabled people.  Membership and partners includes Black disabled organizations, disabled people, parents, family members, faith based, non-profits, and academic and policy leaders.

Founded in 1990, in response to the need for Black disabled people to organize around mutual concerns, NBDC is dedicated to examining and improving; community leadership, family inclusion, entrepreneurship, civil rights, service delivery systems, education and information and Black disabled identity and culture through the lenses of ableism and racism. Select here for welcome video.

Disabled in Action opens Florida office

INTERVIEW with Rev. Calvin Peterson, Founder and Director                                                                           Disabled in Action, Atlanta, Georgia

The Reverend Calvin Peterson is now an elder (72 years) in the disability rights movement. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia and continue to be the Executor Director of Disabled in Action.

Jane Dunhamn 

Congratulations on opening a second office in Florida. First can you provide background on DIA? What year did you begin DIA in Atlanta? What services and advocacy do you provide? Has anything changed over the years?

Calvin Peterson

I was 19 years old in 1 967when I graduated from segregated inaccessible Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia.  When I graduated from high school I felt compelled to show my mom appreciation for her consistency in providing me with the basic necessities of life.  I was fueled with a remarkable serge of energy to get a job.  I thought I would be welcomed by employers. Unfortunately, I was confronted with the most devastating time I ever experienced. I was outright rejected by every business owner for employment.  This was my first reality of an exclusionary society. My thoughts evolved from that moment. I thought if this is happening to me, how many more disabled people of African descendants are dealing with this? The NAACP dealt with the discriminatory practices of employers in employment of African American with disabilities. That experience was more harmful emotionally than the rejection I received from the employers. This sparked an inner determination to form a nonprofit organization reflecting the name of NAACP. I then formed the Advanced Association for Physically Handicapped Inc in 1970.  In 1986 we received a charter in name of Disabled in Action Inc. We are and will continue to be the voice of disabled people, their family and caregivers. We will especially continue to empower and provide hope to disabled people living in poverty. 

Jane Dunhamn

How has DIA evolved over the years? 

Calvin Peterson

The evolution of DIA has and continues to be miraculous. We have been visible in the community and the world, thanks to social media. Our website www.disabledinactionatlanta.org

We consistently provide the community with perspectives other than the norm. We provide information to change the traditional narrative about African Americans with disabilities. 

Jane Dunhamn

What is the funding mechanism for DIA?

Calvin Peterson

The sale of my autobiography Nothing is Impossible provides ongoing resources for Disabled in Action. We also wrote and produced a stage play based on the book. The other part of our funding comes from community donations.

Jane Dunhamn

Tell us how establishing the office in Florida came about.

Calvin Peterson

I gave a lecture at ITC Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. And one of the students approached me about Disabled in Action.  She had a sister that was disabled. She became interested in DIA and suggested that I branch out and start and office in Florida. The office is located at New Hope AME Church in Orlando.

Jane Dunhamn

Will the advocacy be the same in Florida as in Georgia?

Calvin Peterson

Yes, the target population is people who live in and below the poverty line.

Jane Dunhamn

Do you have suggestions for other Black disabled grass root organizations throughout the US? 

Calvin Peterson

Yes, my work is in self-esteem building for disabled youth.  I encourage other organizations to join in with issues facing disabled youth and help find solutions. I encourage each of us to partner with each other that share the same goals, such as the National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC) who works to get the word out about Black disability organizations and advocacy and community work in Black communities.

Fighting the Good Fight

Hello, I’m Sabah Muhammad, one of the newest staff members at Treatment Advocacy Center. I’m excited

to be working as legislative and policy counsel on the advocacy team, using my background as a trial lawyer and public speaker to help pass new laws across the country that will benefit people with severe mental illness and their families.

The reason I chose to do this work goes beyond law, beyond policy. For me, this work is personal. My younger brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 13 years ago. He went from a standout student and star running back to a withdrawn and often catatonic patient.

As I write in a new Personally Speaking blog, my brother’s mental illness is something that my family continues to struggle with. My mother currently has legal guardianship of him, but what happens when she can no longer take care of him? As a big sister, I’ve always wanted to take care of my brother. But I do not possess the skills or the tools to be a 24-hour caregiver.

Fortunately, I know what I can do right now, today, to support my brother and other people living with severe mental illness. I can use all of my energies and abilities to fight to end the criminalization of mental illness and dismantle the legal barriers to treatment.

I’m honored to join my Treatment Advocacy Center colleagues in fighting this good fight.

Your continued support makes it possible for us to do just that. 

Thank you.

Sabah Muhammad, Esq.

Black Deafblind Advocate Alice Eaddy - Feeling Through Live Ep. 8


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