The Uplifting and Empowering Disabled Leaders Today and Tomorrow: Shizu Akagi and Mary Foumal Memorial Webinar Series is led by disabled adults and designed to increase and diversify involvement and engagement within communities by showcasing successful disabled adults teaching about important topics that will increase the knowledge and understanding of the disabled and non-disabled. Our approach and the overarching theme of the webinar series is grounded in the Social Model of Disability, which says that we are more disabled by the barriers in society than we are by our bodies or our diagnoses.

Clearly, there have been significant victories for disabled people over the course of the half century since the project leaders were children, such as the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. However, disabled people still experience low expectations from non-disabled parents, teachers, and the public at large. We aim to break this cycle, by raising expectations, challenging perceptions, and supporting a new pattern of thinking.

The series in named in honor of Linda's mother, Shizu Akagi, and Aisha's mother, Mary Foumal. They refused to institutionalize Linda and Aisha at a time when that was the norm and was recommended; instead, they saw and treated Linda and Aisha as people. They fought relentlessly to see that Linda and Aisha had opportunities, and they accepted nothing less for them and they expected nothing less of them than to make the most of those opportunities .

The webinar series is made possible by a grant from Portland's Office of Civic and Community Life.
  • The Disability Leadership Grants work to support concrete ways for people with disabilities, especially disabled people who experience oppression related to additional intersecting identities, to engage in local government and their communities. For more information, visit: portland.gov/civic/disability/disability-grant.

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