While social media definitely has its drawbacks, there are definitely good things that come out of it as well. One good thing about social media, particularly Twitter, is that there are many disabled folks who use their platform to raise awareness about their experiences with being disabled. As someone with a chronic illness and has a hearing loss, it can also make me feel less isolated.
A common critique that I hear about social media activism is that it’s inferior to other forms of activism, such as protests. Yet for disabled people like myself, we’re sometimes limited to social media activism.
For example, due to an autoimmune disease flare, I wasn’t able to attend a local Women’s March. That didn’t mean that I despised the Trump presidency any less – it just meant that I had to find other routes to voice dissent, which was done via social media.
If you are disabled and or an ally and want to see what disability activism is happening online, here are a few incredible people you absolutely need to follow:
1. Coffee Spoonie (aka Zipporah Arielle)
Coffee Spoonie (@coffeespoonie) is an “elephant-loving disabled Jewess with ink-stained hands” (according to her Twitter bio), who regularly tweets about chronic illness (she has an autoimmune disease), her journey training a service dog, and politics. She regularly tweets reminders to her followers to take their medication and had an article published by Bustle about Selma Blair becoming a disabled icon overnight.
pssssst gentle reminder to take your fucking meds ?
— coffee spoonie (@coffeespoonie) March 1, 2019
2. Nyle DiMarco
Nyle DiMarco (@nyledimarco) is a deaf activist, actor, model, and Dancing With The Stars champion. He tweets about his daily life as a deaf man and calls out ableism that he encounters and sees online.
He’s also easy on the eyes.
I want to better 70 million Deaf lives worldwide.
Please RT to spread awareness, thank you. pic.twitter.com/xQC0vpGaGY
— Nyle DiMarco (@NyleDiMarco) August 23, 2017
3. Emily Ladau
Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau) is the Editor-in-Chief on Rooted in Rights and co-host of The Accessible Stall podcast. She shares projects that she’s working on and the importance of inclusivity of disabled people.
We live in a world where inclusion is the “right thing” to do. We “do” inclusion.
Businesses win awards, organizations receive extra funding, social media posts go viral, people get brownie points.
But real inclusion happens when no one is watching. Real inclusion just happens.
— Emily Ladau (@emily_ladau) December 10, 2018
4. s.e. smith
s.e. smith (@sesmith) – not to be confused with S.E. Smith, a different writer – is the Deputy Editor at Talk Poverty – in addition to being a journalist and essayist – and runs Disabled Writers, a database that strives to help editors connect with disabled writers and journalists, and journalists connect with disabled sources. If you like cats, journalism, and care about disability issues – s.e. smith is a great follow.
Yes! Disabled kids kept isolated from disability culture. Newly disabled adults confronting huge change. We're not born w/disability pride! https://t.co/PuNWbsRrj4
— s. e. smith (@sesmith) June 24, 2017
5. Alice Wong
Alice Wong (@SFdirewolf) is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, which creates and amplifies disability media and culture. Wong is also one of the partners of the #cripthevote campaign, which encourages disabled people to vote and confronts barriers that disabled people face when voting.
— Alice Wong (@SFdirewolf) March 17, 2019
Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson) is the founder of Ramp Your Voice, which fights for “equality and justice for all abilities” and is the creator of the #DisabilityTooWhite hashtag on Twitter. Thompson advocates for black disabled voices to be included in conversations about disability.
This response had me thinking about the erasure of #disability within PoC media outlets & the impact.
I'm going to discuss the problematic nature of this & center Black media outlets because I want to see more disability stories on those platforms. https://t.co/WFng1Ag4uq
— Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson) March 14, 2019
7. Crutches & Spice (aka Imani Barbarin)
Crutches & Spice (@Imani_Barbarin) is a Twitter account run by Imani Barbarin. She has created numerous viral Twitter hashtags, including #AbledsAreWeird, #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow, and #DisTheOscars. She often talks about the challenges that black disabled people face and her experience with discrimination.
I just want to let people know that for many disabled people, becoming a disability advocate is purely incidental.
We spend so much time advocating as to why we deserve a seat at the table, people often don’t wonder what it is we want to do while there.
— Crutches&Spice♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) March 16, 2019
8. Judy Heumann
Judy Heumann (@judithheumann) is a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation, a disability rights advocate, and a former diplomat. She actively shares articles that discuss disability issues. For #womencrushwednesday, she often highlights women who are making a difference in the disabled community.
Had a great discussion about what APHA, public health and healthcare can achieve in the area of inclusion of disabled people. Looking forward to being a part of the Disability Section Student Mentoring Session and meeting some awesome students!
— Judy Heumann (@judithheumann) November 12, 2018
Alexander Hardy (@chrisalexander_) is a mental health advocate, writer, and lupus warrior. He tweets regularly about mental health, including barriers that people of color face when trying to get help, and his experience with being a freelance writer.
Aaaaand got me a motherfucking Black gay therapist. Had a very encouraging initial meeting & am getting the party started ASAP. Been freeballing since my previous therapist left the practice & the state in July.
This calls for cake.
— Alexander Hardy (@chrisalexander_) March 11, 2019
10. Sarah Blahovec
Sarah Blahovec (@Sblahov) is a chronically ill disability activist based in Northern Virginia with expertise in civic engagement. While she mainly tweets about disability issues, she also shares cute photos of her dogs.
If your response to #AbledsAreWeird is "I'm never talking to disabled ppl again," instead of fighting ableism, then you probably shouldn't talk to us.
As @challahwithjam says, it's almost like your belief in our personhood was conditional on pleasant behavior. We deserve better.
— Sarah Blahovec (@Sblahov) March 17, 2019