Disability Justice Dreaming has a working Board of Directors, meaning that our service work is what keeps the organization running. We prioritize relationship, center Disability Justice, and work against racism and ableism in everything we do. We are committed to creating Disabled cultural spaces that strengthen our communities.

Rebel Sidney Fayola Black Burnett. President and Director. (April 2022-2024) I have spent the past 18+ years studying, practicing, and reflecting on social justice issues and doing liberation work. My BA is in Nonprofit Administration and I completed all of the coursework of a MSW without graduating (I don’t plan to go back). I identify as an occupant of liminal, between-worlds, and crossroad spaces in the United States. This helps me hold dialectical tensions and bridge varying perspectives while building relationship with my collaborators.

Fayola, my great-grandmother’s name and the name given to me by my ancestors, means, “Good Fortune Walks With Honor.” I try to live into that name with all my movements and hold my body steadfastly. I take criticism seriously and do my best to live an accountable life, especially when it hurts.

Some important identities: Multiracial (Black/African, Creole [Black, Persian, Romani, French], Irish, German), agender zami fem. Full of platonic love. He/him/his pronouns, please. Historically very low income and houseless. Psychiatric system and trauma survivor. Physically Disabled with a vibrant purple wheelchair. Color privileged (fair skin with dark features and curly black&gray hair). Speaker of English as a first language. USA citizen. Living with a recent traumatic brain injury.

Favorite Disabled poet: H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), a white, bisexual, non monogamous, disabled woman from early 20th Century USA. Check out The Shrine, which is a love poem to an ugly, unsafe coastline–she finds it beautiful and draws the reader into the same sacred perspective.

Which principle of Disability Justice is most important to you and why? I am most lit up by Sustainability: an important part of my personal and professional practice is pacing to avoid burnout. I am still learning how to pace myself and avoid exploitation in order to promote sustainability for generations. How will the Disability Justice Movement and this organization still be sustainable in 50 years? In 500 years? And what role can I play in supporting that type of sustainability? These are questions I ask myself as I do this work.

Image Description: Piti with long black curly hair and jeans with a white shirt kneels down to look at a blue Tiger Swallowtail that has landed on the ground.

Baby Amanda

Amanda Boman-Mejía. Treasurer. (April 2022-2024)  NI AQUÍ, NI ALLÁ / NEITHER HERE, NOR THERE / What does it mean to live within my truth and the truth of those I love? 

Some important identities: biracial / multiracial (white and Mexican-Indigenous ancestry [Otomí]), invisibly disabled/mentally ill, working-class roots, and I identify on the queer spectrum. 

Favorite Disabled Artist: Frida Kahlo, whose art revolutionized and brought forth the lived experiences of being queer, Mexican, and disabled. 

What is Disability Justice? Disability Justice to me is rooted in centering the most historically impacted within its analysis. DJ goes beyond the medical model or even the social model of disability in that it AFFIRMS disability as an integral part of our identities where we can celebrate our differences while also being critical of the structures around us that uphold ableism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and many other forms of oppression. DJ acknowledges the ways different forms of oppression are interconnected and also includes abolition theory within its analysis. None of us are free until we are all free. 

Image Description: A brown mama holds a smiling baby Amanda in a pink hooded sweatshirt on a boat.

Deanna Parvin Yadollahi. Secretary. (April 2022-2024) Deanna Parvin Yadollahi (they/them) is a disabled, non-binary, diasporic mixed-race Iranian and Toltec-Mexican community activist, friend, and dog parent.

Deanna’s scholar-art-activism is informed by their lived experience both with and for their communities. Deanna is passionate about collaboratively undoing ableism and interlocking oppressions, especially as it relates to collective accessibility. They hope to enact institutional change and radical reimagination that will lead to more supportive and just realities. 

Some important identities: Unapparently Disabled (Mad, neurodivergent), gender nonconforming, Indigenous Person of of the Global Majority (Persian, Mexican, Toltec).

Favorite (type of artist):

Image Description: Black and white photo of a short haired human and their scruffy service dog on shoulder.

William Rain-Shadid. (April 2022-April 2024) A Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of Texas who grew up in the DC area, spending their youth being active in movements for social change, including Positive Force, ACT-UP and riot grrrl. Years of chronic illness and a rare tumor condition have given them an amazing sense of groundedness, connection and self-advocacy that fuels their passion to bring truth and healing to everything they do. Billie is the co-founder of the riot grrrl and sick & disabled queer movements; the author of books Fix This Mess and Screenwriter’s Toolkit; and the director of feature films Heart Breaks Open and R/EVOLVE.

Some important identities:Mixed-race, Mizrahi, white passing privilege, non-binary, queer, witch, raised working poor, upwardly mobile, physically disabled, neurodivergent, mad, trauma survivor, english speaking, US born, middle aged, southerner, poet, filmmaker, artist, nature lover.

Favorite Disabled Artist: Madison Clell, author of the comic series “Cuckoo: One woman’s true stories of living with Multiple Personality Disorder”  More needs to be understood about this stigmatized experience. 

What is Disability Justice?

I see disability justice as a community, political and social movement. DJ community is the relationships that have formed through intersectional disability organizing and cultural work, etc. I also see it as a cultural and political, informal movement that is intersectional disability activism centering multiply marginalized experiences and what is left out of the disability rights movement due to the mono-issue focus and its lack of intersectionality.

Image Description: School photo of a young William wearing a red plaid shirt with a white collar.

Catherine Hope St John (June 2022-June 2024) BA in Sociology from New College of Florida, and graduate from Disability Art and Culture Project Disability Justice Leadership training in Portland, OR. She has always been committed to volunteering for numerous social justice issues, and was a trained peer educator on HIV/AIDS during high school in the 90s. She has been living with a known disability for the past decade, but struggled with various symptoms for the majority of her life before that. Her Disability Justice work has combined her passion for social justice with her lived experience of disability. 

Some Important Identities: Disabled (with a mixture of invisble/unapparent disabilities, consisting of physical, mental, and chronic illness), queer/pansexual (with straight passing privilege), white privilege, cis woman, with a creative & loving spirit. I am continually evolving my sense of self, learning and unlearning more about myself, who I am, and how I interact with the world around me. 

Favorite Disabled Playwright:  Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent was incredibly influential for me when I was a teenager as it revolutionized musical theater by depicting queer culture in the public eye in way that had not done before. He opened up a conversation about the struggle of artists living with HIV/AIDS onto the world stage, which inspired and fueled my passion for social justice even more. He died at 35 from complications of an undiagnosed medical condition called Marfan syndrome, which I find incredibly significant to highlight considering how many disabled people die young and/or struggle with various debilitating undiagnosed conditions. 

How do you practice active anti-racism?: Anti-racism has been important to me throughout my life, and I am always open to learning and growing more in any ways I can. I try my best to live my life with empathy and humility, open and willing to learn from those with experiences different from mine. I recognize as a white ally it’s important to step back and listen, giving space for BIPOC folx to share their experiences that differ from my own. I attend workshops and meetings focused on racial equity and engage in conversations with my friends and my community around racial justice, equity, and inclusion. I hold those around me accountable for their actions and behaviors when they are problematic. I also volunteer as a Disability Justice advocate with a local nonprofit whose mission is focused on racial equity through providing mutual aid, self-care resources, and support for those impacted by racism in the Portland metro area.

Image Description: A young girl stands with her hands on a swing wearing a white lacy dress. She has wavy blonde hair and is smiling at the camera.