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Celebrating Women’s History and Disability History, Part 1

Published by Kassi Soulard on

This is a special post written by Charles Warren, Curriculum Developer at Triangle. Charlie is also a member of Triangle’s Racial Equity Task Force. As part of our commitment to the work of our Racial Equity Task Force, we will be sharing more information with you on subjects related to racial equity and disability justice. This post continues our series dedicated to calling attention to the contributions of people with disabilities to American history.

March is Women’s History Month, and March 8 is International Women’s Day! Triangle would like to recognize the contributions made by women in the disability community. We are celebrating these women’s contributions to history, culture, and society.

Cristina Sanz

Cristina Sanz stands on stage at the 2016 Emmys in the center of the frame with a joyful expression on her face, and her hand over her mouth in surprise. She is surrounded by the ensemble cast of Born this Way as they win their Emmy.

Cristina Sanz is the first Hispanic woman with a disability to win an Emmy, as part of the ensemble cast for the 2016 A&E docuseries Born this Way.  The show shared life experiences of seven different individuals with Down syndrome. Cristina is married to her co-star Angel Callahan.  Cristina and her family lead by example, encouraging people with disabilities to follow their own path. After her marriage, she told People, “I want to show everyone that you can have a disability and get married.”

Sophie Jaewon Kim

Sophie Jaewon Kim who uses a wheelchair wears a yellow and white striped sweater in a still from her Netflix show

Sophie Jaewon Kim is a Korean American actress featured in Netflix’s The Healing Powers of the Dude. She was nominated for Best Leading Young Actress in a Television Series at the 2021 Young Entertainer Awards.  Sophie is part of a growing group of young actors with disabilities making their way in the entertainment industry and is helping to pave the way for others. Sophie is an advocate for increased representation for people with disabilities in film and television, especially plots that prominently feature disabled characters at the center of the story, played by actors with disabilities.

Emily Flores

Emily Flores wearing a lilac blazer over a t-shirt smiles at the camera. She has long sandy blonde hair.

Emily Flores is a journalist, advisory board member for the Born this Way Foundation, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Cripple Media.  She was highlighted on the Futures 100 Innovators list for her work in disability rights activism and media by the Future Laboratory in 2022, and by Ms. Magazine in 2018 in a story on the future of disability rights. Emily launched her media company when she was 15 years old to have a community for young people with disabilities to work together to influence conversations around disability in the media, and encourage them to be more honest, accurate, impactful, and youthful.  Cripple Media “is the first-ever media company where young disabled creatives can shift the lens disabled people are viewed.”

Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann smiles from the stage in a red cardigan adorned with bees, one hand resting on her knee, the other on the armrest of her power wheelchair.

Judy Heumann, who passed away just days ago on March 4th, spent decades advocating for the inherent dignity of people with disabilities. A central figure in the disability rights movement, her death has been deeply felt in the community. She is widely known for her role in major disability rights demonstrations, the passage of disability rights legislation, founding national and international disability advocacy organizations, advocacy as a senior official in the federal government, and author.  She used her influence at both the State Department and World Bank to mainstream disability rights in international development, extending the reach of the independent living movement internationally.

Click here to read the second post in this series!

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