Stories from the brainreels guest: Sara María Acevedo

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[The podcast audio is at the bottom of the page.]

Someone recently asked me what was the biggest thing I learned from having a brain injury. Instead of being flooded with marvelous possibilities, my mind went blank. I sat for a while, staring at the elusive memosphere up in the sky trying to remember what I’d learned. There must be something. What was it?

Then it hit me:  A key thing I learned was to live with disability stigma, something my disabled friends were already experiencing, always have, and probably always will. I learned a taste of what that’s like, even if it was only a little bit and only for a moment. I got so wrapped up in that answer that I then forgot to mention the gorgeousness of disability culture, the energy of disability pride, and the life-affirming nature of disability community. I mean I remembered those things, but I didn’t say them because I was busy giving examples of ableism, most of the best of which I forgot to give.

Collage includes portrait of Sara Acevedo in a soft brown sweater and knit hat, Neurowitch forearm tattoo, statements of identity and ending stigma, and images in English and Spanish of Autistic Pride, Neurodivergence, and chronic migraine.Fortunately, this month’s podcast guest says so wonderfully all the things I didn’t remember to say and more. Sara María Acevedo is an Autistic, Mestiza, Colombian woman studying Anthropology and Social Change and Disability Studies in California. A proud neurodivergent person, Sara takes us through many of the ways intersecting oppressions around race, class, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, and disability play out. I originally recorded a conversation with Sara about white saviors for KBOO Community Radio’s International Women’s Day programming. We had so much more to talk about that we opted for a full interview, which is here.

Bulletin board displaying Disability As Diversity lecture series, From Access to Justice: Disability Beyond Universal Design, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion staff photo.

Because Sara is a PhD candidate, a lot of her work happens in the university setting. She’s insistent on taking a disability justice view. That means she brings in speakers who are Black or Brown, queer, and disabled. It also means that while we know that everything must be made as accessible as possible, access is not the end goal. Check out the bulletin board here with the tiniest sample of the work Sara brings to her university.

Please visit the Autism Liberation and Pride blog (written in Spanish) that Sara keeps along with Mónica Vidal Gutiérrez. This is not a blog about how to get a diagnosis, find treatment, or accept Autism. It is a thoughtful activist takedown of capitalism, ableism, the many ways that we dehumanize each other by demanding “normalcy,” and the many ways that we humanize ourselves and others in community.

Click here for an accessible transcript of podcast episode #058.