Longmore Lecture 2017 Recap: "Access Intimacy, Interdependence, and Disability Justice"

By The Longmore Institute Staff

A portion of the room where Mia speaks with a captioning screen beside her. A room of of students and others look on.

At this year’s annual Longmore Lecture in Disability Studies on Tuesday, April 11th, we welcomed community organizer, educator and national justice leader Mia Mingus who explored the idea of "Access Intimacy." Hosted annually by the Paul Longmore Institute on Disability, the Longmore Lecture aims to feature a speaker who continues Paul Longmore’s legacy of scholar-activism. Institute Director Catherine Kudlick and Associate Director Emily Beitiks selected Mingus after watching one of her talks on YouTube with the Institute's interns, who appreciated how Mingus helped them connect their interests in disability to social justice issues more broadly.

Mingus defined the concept of "Access Intimacy" as "... that elusive, hard to describe feeling when someone else 'gets' your access needs. The kind of eerie comfort that your disabled self feels with someone on a purely access level. Sometimes it can happen with complete strangers, disabled or not, or sometimes it can be built over years. It could also be the way your body relaxes and opens up with someone when all your access needs are being met."

Mingus stated previously that she chose this topic as she feels it is an important component of disability justice that needs to be acknowledged before people with disabilities will ever be liberated from the roots of ableism. In an interview with Beitiks, Mingus shared "As I wrote in 'Feeling the Weight: Some Beginning Notes on Disability, Access and Love,' these are the parts of disability justice and liberation that keep me up at night, that have hurt more than any ableist remark, that have left more scars than any surgery. This is the underbelly of ableism. This is what I fear we will be left to wrestle with after every building is made accessible and every important policy is passed.”

Mingus currently resides in Northern California and identifies as a queer, physically disabled, Korean woman, transracial and transnational adoptee, who was born in Korea, raised in the Caribbean, and nurtured in the U.S. South.

We are grateful to all our attendees who packed the room and engaged in a productive Q&A conversation following the lecture. Director Kudlick concluded the lecture with exciting news: next year's Longmore Lecturer will feature Disability Visibility Project's Alice Wong!

Missed the Longmore Lecture? A full video with captioning is coming soon! You can also read a transcript of her talk here.

Want another opportunity to learn from Mia? She'll be a panelist for a webinar that the Longmore Institute has co-organized on disability justice and human genetic engineering on April 24. Learn more & register now: http://bit.ly/2nZUxKF