Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month
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.
As Latinx Heritage Month is ending this week, Triangle is highlighting The National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities and its two co-founders, Katherine Perez and Michelle Garcia.
The National Coalition of Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD) is an organization that works on initiatives to create a society in which the human rights of Latina/o/xs with Disabilities are upheld, and all their intersecting identities are embraced. The coalition works in solidarity to collectively celebrate and uplift the community through community building, educational advocacy, and research.
The CNLD started as a collaboration between Katherine Perez and Michelle Garcia. Katherine Perez is the Executive Director at the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation. She is a visiting law professor at Loyola School of Law, with a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. After she received the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Diversity Fellowship, she approached Michell Garcia with an idea.
Michelle Garcia is a community organizer, the founder of Cambiando Vidas, and the Manager of Organizing and Community Development at Access Living in Chicago. Cambiando Vidas is a U.S.-based organization building international partnerships through the construction of houses for families in the Dominican Republic. Founded in 1980 as a part of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Access Living brought the independent living movement to Illinois, and became its own independent non-profit in 1987. Access Living staff have been and continue to be vocal and important advocates for disability-related causes and issues.
In 2016, Katherine and Michelle began collaborating toward the goal of uniting the Disability and Latinx communities. The National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities is a volunteer organization with leaders and allies from across the nation who have a shared experience of living fractured identities (in Disabled and Latinx world, respectively). The CNLD has grown into a national network of colleagues, and hosts an annual conference. The theme of this year’s conference is Nuestras Voces: Intersectionality and Our Collective Voice.
For more information about Hispanic Heritage Month and Latinx Heritage Month, check out our first blog post here.