Great Disability Community Reads

Disability civil rights is rarely taught in schools, even colleges. This week, we are sharing some suggested reading for celebrating the lives and talents from this community. Happy reading!

No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement

Author: Joseph P. Shapiro

Written by an award-winning journalist and NPR news investigations correspondent, this book chronicles the events and leaders who spear-headed the disability civil rights movement leading up to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Focusing on disability rights as human rights, the author highlights historical perspectives, struggles, and discrimination.

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist

Author: Judy Heumann

There is no better way to understand the lived experiences of people with disabilities than to hear their stories from them. Judy Heumann is a disability civil rights leader and life-long activist. In her memoir, she shares stories from her childhood, her battle with the New York City school system after they denied her a teaching license due to her disability, and the San Francisco Sit-in at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally

Author: Emily Ladau

Emily Ladau is a speaker, writer, and disability civil rights activist. In her book, she provides guidance on the do’s and don’ts related to being an ally of people with disabilities. She provides practical advice for recognizing ableism, appreciating disability as a social identity, and identifying and standing against disability stereotypes.

On Our Own: Patient-Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System

Author: Judi Chamberlin

Activist, Judi Chamberlin, was instrumental in the psychiatric survivor movement after being involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital following a miscarriage. Her book criticizes the mental health care system and advocates for patients to have more say in their care. Originally published in 1977, Judi’s commentary is still relevant today.

The Color of My Mind: Mental Health Narratives from People of Color

Author: Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas’ book brings stories together from a diverse group of people of color across the country, including individuals who identify as queer and straight, Latinx, indigenous, Black, Asian-American, and mixed race, and speak multiple languages. Written in English and Spanish, the book explores lived experiences and mental health services and care for those living with mental illness across a variety of communities.