NCLD is proud to celebrate Black History Month – a time when we honor the achievements and accomplishments of Black Americans, draw inspiration from the past, and renew our commitment to creating a better future.
Often overlooked in the disability rights movement are the integral contributions of Black Americans, without whom we would not have achieved the same progress. And yet, the disability and LD community remain a largely white, middle-class movement. This is a stark reminder of the work that remains to lift up Black voices and support Black disability leaders, like those leading #Blackdisabledlivesmatter and those, like Stacey Abrams, working to increase access for individuals with disabilities to their right to vote.
We must also reflect on how we, as individuals and as an organization, can work to change our system and fight against the racism that permeates our schools and communities. NCLD is committed to ensuring that Black students receive the same high-quality learning opportunities as their peers and receive more funding for their public schools.
- We will push to ensure schools address the unjust discipline practices that result in Black boys with IEPs being suspended at more than twice the rate of White boys with IEPs.
- We will work to improve the special education process so Black students are not misidentified and segregated from their peers at higher rates than White students.
- We will seek to better understand how students’ complex and intersectional identities can be embraced, understood, and supported in schools.
- And we will empower Black individuals with disabilities, and build understanding among non-Black individuals with learning disabilities and attention issues and the educators who serve them, about how race impacts how Black students with disabilities are perceived in school when they advocate for themselves.
In partnership with The Education Trust we launched a series of conversations that examine the challenges of self-advocacy for Black girls with learning disabilities. Watch here.
Even as we celebrate, our journey is long and we must continue to dismantle systems that hold back Black individuals with disabilities. We must build a future where Black individuals live the full, just, and equitable lives that they deserve. This February, NCLD recommits to remembering our past, improving ourselves and our society today, and investing in a better future for Black Americans.
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