February is Black History Month. It’s a time to hold space for Black Americans, to recognize and celebrate and grieve parts of American history that may feel all too invisible.
For UCP Oregon, it’s also a time to celebrate the contributions and struggles of Black people who experience disabilities.
Currently, 5.5 million Black Americans are living with a disability. But, as Ola Ojewumi says, “to be Black and disabled in America is to be invisible.”
Ola Ojewumi is both Black and disabled. She’s an activist, journalist, and a community organizer. She contributes to the Huffington Post, and founded two nonprofits.
Ola says, “According to the version of American history I was taught in the public education system, it's as though people with disabilities didn’t make any significant contributions to our society. The same was largely true for African Americans... Yet when you look at Black history, there is an undeniable link to disability; some of our greatest Black heroes and heroines have been disabled.”
She adds, “Since our society fails to do enough to acknowledge both communities' significant contributions, it is up to us to amplify Black disabled voices and both groups’ histories."
That’s why Ola created the #DisabledBlackHistory campaign. It's a social media initiative that celebrates the milestones of disabled black Americans.
Read more about Ola Ojewumi and #DisabledBlackHistory here.