Keynote Speakers

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Advocate, Educator, & Attorney

October 26, 2021, 6 p.m. ET

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an advocate, educator, and attorney addressing state and interpersonal violence targeting disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language, and nation. Lydia is Policy Counsel for Privacy & Data at the Center for Democracy & Technology, focused on algorithmic discrimination and disability, as well as Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They are founding director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, & Empowerment. Lydia is adjunct lecturer/core faculty in Georgetown University’s Disability Studies Program, and adjunct professorial lecturer in American Studies at American University’s Department of Critical Race, Gender, & Culture Studies. They serve as a commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, chairperson of the ABA Civil Rights & Social Justice Section’s Disability Rights Committee, board co-chair of the Disability Rights Bar Association, and representative for the Disability Justice Committee to the National Lawyers Guild’s National Executive Committee. Lydia is currently creating their own tarot deck, Disability Justice Wisdom Tarot.  Often, their most important work has no title, job description, or funding, and probably never will. 

David James (DJ) Savarese

David James (DJ) Savarese

Artful Activist, Public Scholar, & Poet

October 29, 2021, 12 p.m. ET

David James “DJ” Savarese (www.djsavarese.com) is an artful activist, public scholar, and practicing optimist. He is the co-producer, narrative commentator, subject, and poet of the Peabody award-winning documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery and founded Listen2Us: Writing Our Own Futures as an Open Society Foundation Human Rights Initiative Youth Fellow. As Co-Chair of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Support, he is designing and fundraising for the Lives in Progress project, an online map and database that documents dis/Abled self-advocates’ experiences, and offers the tools, resources, community and mentorship necessary to pursue meaningful, self-directed lives. His publications include a chapbook, A Doorknob for the Eye; a “Notable” Best American Essay, “Passive Plants;” an insight piece, “Coming to My Senses;” and numerous poems in various literary journals. Forthcoming publications in 2021-22 include an auto-ethnographic study, “Unearthing the Tools (and Concepts) That Bury Us;” a co-authored essay on life-writing across genres, “Enmeshing Selves, Words and Media, or Two Life Writers in One Family Talk about Art and Disability,” and a multiply-authored chapbook, Studies in Brotherly Love (PromptPress). He also teaches and presents nationally on a range of topics. Before moving to Iowa City, he graduated from Oberlin College ’17 with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing.

 

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