Top left: Two Young Adults with Down Syndrome smile. Both wear glasses. ONe sits in a wheelchair; The other leans on the back of the wheelchair.; Top Right: A person with glasses and a graying beard smiles.; Bottom Left: A person with short curly hair and red lipstick smiles.; Bottom Right: A child with glasses sits on their parent's lap.

Advancing Disability Justice Goals

  • Support disabled leaders of color in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

  • Build disability justice understanding and support in racial justice organizations.

  • Advance Northwest Health Foundation’s long-term goal to build civic engagement capacity and leadership toward a reflective democracy.


What is Disability Justice?

Disability Justice is a movement framework that centers queer and transgender disabled people of color. It has ten principles: intersectionality, leadership of those most impacted, anti-capitalist politic, cross-movement solidarity, recognizing wholeness, sustainability, commitment to cross-disability solidarity, interdependence, collective access and collective liberation.

Learn more about Disability Justice:


Advancing Disability Justice Program

Advancing Disability Justice is part of a partnership between Northwest Health Foundation and The Collins Foundation.

Growing Disabled Leadership

Starting in 2019, disability justice experts Stacey Milbern and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha will mentor and coach six disability justice activists from Oregon and Southwest Washington to build their facilitation, curriculum development, access planning, base building, popular education, somatics/wellness/self care, movement sustainability, fundraising and other skills. The end goal is to create a network of disability justice organizers who feel comfortable taking on deeper levels of organizing in our region.

Growing the Circle

We need to grow the number of organizations who understand and want to apply the disability justice framework to their work. Beginning in 2018 and continuing through 2020, Northwest Health Foundation will host disability justice workshops for culturally-specific and racial justice organizations. We’ll also support the creation of an audit tool for organizations to self-assess their work through a disability justice lens. And we’ll offer technical assistance (organizational coaching, for instance) to culturally-specific and racial justice organizations so they can operationalize disability justice in their work.

Disability Justice Mini-grants

In fall 2019, we’ll award five $5,000 grants to organizations or coalitions connected with Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative leaders to build disability justice-focused civic engagement infrastructure.

Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative

The Disability Justice Leaders Collaborative is made up of 14 people of color with disabilities from across Oregon, representing Asian-Pacific Islander, Black, Latino, Muslim and Native communities. Our participants also identify in other ways, including queer, transgender, gender non-conforming, youth, houseless, multi-racial, immigrant, refugee and rural.

The Collaborative members met four times in 2017 and 2018 to discuss how to ensure the voices and experiences of people with disabilities are represented by decision-makers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. They also discussed how disabled people can build collective power in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Disability justice movement leaders Stacey Milbern and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha facilitated their conversations.

With support from Stacey Milbern and NWHF staff, the DJLC leaders created a recommendations report. It includes an introduction, a statement of values, five recommendations for advancing disability justice in Oregon and Southwest Washington, resources to learn more about disability justice and accessibility, and a glossary. Click the button below to read the full report.


Read more about Northwest Health Foundation's journey to understand and incorporate a disability equity lens in our work.