Facing Race: A National Conference in St. Louis, MO — November 20-22, 2024

Brenda Rodriguez

Brenda is a California native presently living in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Detroit. She has become involved with the community through the non profit Life Directions as an adult mentor for a high school student and also as a cabinet member for the neighborhood's Time Bank through Unity in Our Community. Brenda is a big fan of capacitating residents from multilingual communities to advocate for themselves and on her most recent job at a Detroit middle school & high school, she was able to adjust herself to the day's lesson plan and to the type of students she was with for the day (middle school or high school students). As a head injury survivor, Brenda is also skeptical about bringing awareness to the need of resources available to anyone who suffers a mental or physical disability.  

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Surviving Racism and Abelism 101

This workshop analyzes the systematic structure of ableism through a person of color living with a disability lens. Participants are given the opportunity to explore solutions on how to address these systematic structures. Our goal is to create a community of people who are interested in advocating for others who face discrimination as a differently abled person and ethnically/racially different. The session will begin with introductions of people who hold different identities and how they are treated in the greater society. For example, an undocumented disabled Latino girl, a black young adult living with mental illness, an Arab Muslim woman living with disability and a woman who uses a wheelchair.

Participants will come up with a list of ways in which society may see those in these marginalized communities. Following this brainstorming activity, participants will be broken up into smaller groups and be given different real-life scenarios of what a marginalized person may face holding a certain identity, like those listed above and how this individual is viewed/held back in the real world. This blurb, along with a copy of the ADA papers, will be used as a guide to come up with one or more solutions on how to address such a challenge. This workshop will finish off with the sharing of real-life results of these challenges and those involved, and what steps were taken to overcome the obstacles placed in the way. There will be time for Q&A at the end of workshop.

Speakers: Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Carla Valpeoz, Brenda Rodriguez