Launched in April 2022, by the Century Foundation’s Disability Economic Justice Team, in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative is a first-of-its-kind initiative bringing together more than forty leading disability rights and justice organizations, Washington, D.C. based think tanks, advocacy organizations, and top research and policy organizations committed to finally achieving economic security and justice for people with disabilities in the United States more than three decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. Collaborative members meet monthly to learn from one another, work in partnership, and apply a disability lens across economic policy making. Led by director Kimberly Knackstedt, the Collaborative is committed to breaking the persistent link between disability and poverty in the United States; breaking down the systemic barriers to economic security and justice that are the “unfinished business” of the ADA; and to understanding how race, gender, LGBTQIA+ status, and other identities intersect in the lives of disabled people.
To learn more about the collaborative, watch the virtual launch event that was held on April 21, 2022, featuring Secretary Julian Castro, Representative Ayanna Pressley, Rebecca Cokley, and Sarita Gupta of the Ford Foundation, Mark Zuckerman of The Century Foundation, TCF’s Disability Economic Justice Team (Rebecca Vallas, Kim Knackstedt, and Vilissa Thompson), as well as a cross-section of collaborative members.
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Each month, you will find the latest news on politics, policy, and society from the perspective of disability economic justice. Whether you’re on the Hill, an advocate, a card-carrying #DisCo (Disability Community) member, or simply interested in disability rights and economic equality, then this is for you.
The Collaborative is a collection of leading disability rights and justice* organizations, Washington, D.C. based think tanks, advocacy organizations, and top research and policy organizations dedicated to bringing a disability lens across the entire economic agenda. The member organizations will work in partnership and learn together to drive forward disability economic justice.
|The Century Foundation
|Access Living||Activating Change||American Association of People with Disabilities|
|Autistic Self Advocacy Network||Center for American Progress, Disability Justice Initiative||Center for Economic Policy Research||Center for Law and Social Policy|
|Center on Budget and Policy Priorities||Coalition on Human Needs||Community Legal Services of Philadelphia||Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates|
|Covid-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project||Economic Policy Institute||The Education Trust||Food Research and Action Center|
|Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality||Groundwork Collaborative||Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center||Justice in Aging|
|Kelly’s Kitchen||ME Action||National Center for Law and Economic Justice||National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel|
|National Disability Institute||National Pain Advocacy Center||National Partnership for Women and Families||National Women’s Law Center|
|New America||New Disabled South||Patient Led Research Collaborative||Start Early|
|The Arc||The Kelsey||Think of Us||Tzedek DC|
|Urban Institute||Vera Institute for Justice||Washington Center for Equitable Growth||Andraea Lavant|
|*While the two terms are often used interchangeably, and while some organizations utilize complementary elements of both frameworks, disability rights and disability justice are distinct frameworks. Disability justice intentionally centers intersectionality and the experiences and perspectives of historically marginalized people, such as disabled people of color, women, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ people. For a detailed discussion of disability justice, read Patty Berne and Sins Invalid’s 10 principles of disability justice at https://www.sinsinvalid.org/blog/disability-justice-a-working-draft-by-patty-berne. The Disability Economic Justice Collaborative posits a third, complementary framework we call “disability economic justice,” which we define and provide a draft framework for as part of the policy pillar of this Strategic Plan. Whereas economic justice aims to create opportunities for every person to have a dignified, productive, and creative life in a way that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, disability economic justice centers the perspectives and experiences of disabled people—and especially multiply-marginalized disabled people—to create a society in which all disabled people have access to such opportunities, for we will never achieve true economic justice if people with disabilities are left behind.|
Achieving Disability Economic Justice
With 61 million, or 1 in 4 people in the United States, living with disabilities, every policy is a disability policy. Yet, disability policy is too often siloed, viewed as separate and apart from broader economic and social policymaking—and the disability community an afterthought, viewed as a community to check the box with at the end of the policy process rather than contemplate and center upfront. Done right, disability policy seeks to embed access, equity, and inclusion into all other policies at the forefront, creating policies that, at their heart, improve the lives of all people, including disabled people.
The vision of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative is to achieve economic security and justice for disabled people in the United States. To accomplish this vision, the Collaborative brings together organizations that focus on economic policy issues with disability rights and justice organizations to jointly learn together and from one another to advance disability economic justice in the United States and center the voices and experiences of people with disabilities. Through five key pillars of work, the Collaborative will advance short-term and long-term goals with the ultimate mission of advancing disability economic justice by leveraging disability as a lens across economic and social policy making and bringing together the disability rights, disability justice, and economic policy communities to mobilize research, education, advocacy, and civic engagement. This work will center the voices of disabled individuals in the economic debate, ensure political and elected leaders embrace disability as part of the public debate and as a powerful voting bloc, and build disability representation within the halls of power. Together, as organizations coming from a range of starting places on disability and economic policy, we will change how disability and economic policy are made and implemented in the United States.
Vision of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative
To achieve economic security and justice for people with disabilities in the United States.
Mission of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative
To advance disability economic justice in the United States by leveraging disability as a lens across economic and social policy making; centering the voices and perspectives of people with disabilities; and bringing together the disability rights, disability justice, and economic policy communities to mobilize research, education, advocacy, and civic engagement.
Pillars for Success
The five pillars of work for the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative are:
- Research and Data;
- Communications and Narrative;
- Pipeline; and
- Learning Agenda