Bringing Mia Mingus to “Vancouver”!

i thought i’d post this as a blog post here even though things aren’t finalized so that i and you can easily find it and update as i hear more info. Stay tuned!
Mia Mingus continues to be a real influential part of my own personal and organizational path of disability(etc!) justice, and through whose writing i have come to better know, respect, challenge, and love myself. That sounds ultra cheesy, but i dont know how else to put it. So many of the things i’ve read her write have helped me to feel not so alone, have touched me so deeply and changed my life in fundamental ways. When i read her writing, i know im not alone, i know my communities are not alone, i know that we have so much to share with each other
[for example, she wrote this piece which just slayed me. i have it printed and on display in my apartment, as a personal reminder, and as a message to anyone who comes into my home, and as an intention i keep in my heart and actions: ]  She kicks ass, builds community, creates space, and says shit that blows my mind.i was so excited to hear that she may be coming here to do a series of workshops on community building, disability justice, and moving towards the ugly.

The intention is to have these workshops in accessible spaces, and have ASL interpretation for all of it. Both of which –as well as getting her here and supporting her being in a space that is accessible to her in terms of lodging and so on– takes bucks. SFPIRG is exploring a variety of funding possibilities, but could use your help. As things get clearer in terms of what is appropriate fundraising (is online kickstarter etc things ok? etc), more info will be available about how you can help.

The above is just my little note about this super exciting possibility, and i’ll update the moment i hear more. Just wanted to get you as excited as i am for this! Because yeah, super fricken exciting!!! Can’t even really tell you how excited!i will edit the odd formatting that happened, causing many words to squish together, as i have time and energy. On to the callout:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Who Are We?

The Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (a.k.a. SFPIRG) isSFU’s student-funded and student-lead centre for social and environmentaljustice. Our mission is to engage SFU students in social and environmentaljustice. Our work encompasses education, action, research and community. Wehave been doing our thing on the SFU Burnaby campus since 1981. To find out moreabout us, please 


Why Are We Contacting You?

We want to bring Mia Mingus from California to Vancouver from the 18thto 20th October, 2013 to do a series of workshops for the community. We need help to make this possible! We think that her work will be of interest to you and in alignment with what you do.

Who is Mia Mingus and Why isShe so Awesome?

Mia Mingus is a writer and organizer working for disability justice and transformative justice to end child sexual abuse. She identifies as a queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee, raised in the Caribbean, nurtured in the South and now living on the west coast.  She works for community, interdependency and home for all of us, not just some of us and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love. As her work for liberation evolves and deepens, her roots remain firmly planted in ending sexual violence.

Mia is a core-member of the Bay Area Transformative JusticeCollaborative (BATJC), a localcollective working to build and support transformative justice responses tochild sexual abuse that do not rely on the state (i.e. police, prisons, thecriminal legal system).  She is currently traveling giving speeches,workshops and trainings to support her writing and work with the BATJC.

Over the years, her work hasincluded: community building, reproductive justice, queer liberation,cross-movement building, feminism, transracial and transnational adoption,radical women of color, racial justice, disability justice, transformativejustice, community responses to child sexual abuse, challenging privilege anddismantling oppression.  She also has a passion for community fundraisingand communication.  She recognizes the urgencyand barriers foroppressed communities to work together and build solidarity for liberation.

For more info about Mia andto read her essays, including the essays we have quoted below, please visit herblog, Leaving Evidence:


What Are We Proposing? 

We would like to do a series of three workshops over two days in mid-October and we are looking for partners in order to make them possible.We are willing to work with our partners to shape the workshops. The workshops we are thinking of asking Mia to offer are:

·       Community Building Workshop – Full Day

“We must roll up our sleeves and start doing the hard work of learning how to work through conflict,pain and hurt as if our lives depended on it—because they do. We have to learn how to have hard conversations and get skilled at talking about and dealing with shame, guilt, trauma, hurt, and anger….Activists are burning out or being traumatized by the very movements that seek to end trauma; campaigns fail because we don’t know how to listen and work together, so instead of coalitions, we have turf wars and undermine each other for next year’s grant that barely pays the bills.” (Mia Mingus,On Collaboration: Starting With Each Other”)


Workshop Proposal: Our conversations with Mia about thisworkshop so far are about looking at how we deal with conflict and differencewithin social justice communities. Our intention is that this day-long workshopwill equip participants with new skills and tools that will enable us to worktogether in ways that strengthen us (instead of hurting us) and allow space forgrowth & healing. This will be a “live” space to talk about theactual concrete needs of the local community and offer a political frameworkwith which to orient community building.  We will engage in long and shortterm visioning, hammer out agreements, values and principles, and share tools. Thisis not a workshop about the idea of community building; in this workshop, wewill actively practice community building.  Comeready to work, connect, share and learn.


·       Disability Justice Workshop – Half Day

“I have watched ableism tear apart relationships with people I love. I have seen access be too much of a barrier for people to be inrelationship with each other.  I have made excuses for inaccessibilitybecause I loved people and didn’t want to lose relationship with them.  Ihave excused racism, sexism, violence, homophobia because I didn’t want to,couldn’t afford to, lose access…I have kept parts of myself from people I lovebecause I was afraid to, didn’t know how to, be whole and complex in thecontext of needing access. This is the cruelty of ableism: it robs us from eachother.” (Mia Mingus, “Feeling the Weight: Some Beginning Notes on Disability, Access and Love”)

Workshop Proposal: What we have discussed with Mia istailoring this workshop foractivists,organizers, community groups and non-profit organizations. Core concepts willbe explored, including: What is Disability Justice?  How is it differentfrom Disability Rights?  What is ableism?  How can we startintegrating a disability justice analysis into our work as activists andorganizers?  How are disability and ableism connected to other forms ofoppression?  A Disability Justice analysis deepens and strengthens ourwork for social justice because ableism undergirds whose bodies are considereddesirable or disposable. This workshop will give participants a chance toengage with the Disability Justice framework and understand how it connectswith different communities, movements, and access.  Disability Justice hasthe power to shift our work so we can fight for liberation for all of us, notjust some of us.

·       Writing Workshop: Moving Towards the Ugly – Half Day

“Because we all do it. We all run from the ugly. And the farther we runfrom it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty.  Ourcommunities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot.  What wouldit mean if we were ugly?…What would happen if we stopped apologizing for ourugly, stopped being ashamed of it?  Whatif we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking inand shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things thatdon’t make us magnificent? Where is the Ugly in you? What is it trying to teachyou?” (Mia Mingus, “Moving Toward The Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability“)

Workshop Proposal: What we have discussed with Mia istailoring this workshop for anyone who wants to explore how we disown the partsof ourselves and our bodies that we have learned to see as ugly, and how wereject the same in others. In this workshop participants will get thechance to explore Moving Towards the Ugly: A Politic BeyondDesirability, a speech given by Mia Mingus two years ago.  In hertalk, Mingus critiques the concept of beauty and our desire for it.  Shechallenges us instead to embrace our ugly and remember our magnificence. Wewill open the space with inspiration and grounding from Moving Towards theUgly, as well as excerpts from another talk about magnificence andthen explore the concept of Ugly and Magnificence using prompts. Usingwriting as a tool, we will have the opportunity to explore our fears andjudgments around “ugly,” as well as what gifts we disown by not embracing allof who we are. This workshop is not only intended for those who identify as“writers” and writing experience is not required.

What Do We Need From You?


We think Mia Mingus is awesome and we really want the Greater Vancouver community to benefit from heramazingness. We need partners and financial support in order to make her visitpossible.

The total cost of Mia’s visit will roughly be $5500. The break-down is as follows:

·        Travel from California: $700

·        Accommodation for 3 nights: $600

·        Food and transportation: $200

·        Workshop Fee: $2000

·        Event Costs (Room Booking, Food forParticipants, AV Equipment): $1500

·        Accessibility Fund: $500

Total: $5500



SFPIRG can contribute the following:

·        We can book rooms for the three workshops at SFUHarbour Centre

·        We can manage the booking logistics with Mia

·        We can create publicity material and onlineregistration for the events

·        We can put $2500towards the total cost.

Therefore we need the following from other community organizations whowould like to come on board:

·        Financial contributions to cover the $3000 shortfall

·        Help publicizing the events and getting the wordout there!

Are You In? What Next?

If, like us, you are now super excited at the thought of Mia Minguscoming and doing this amazing work with us, AND you would like to come on boardas a partner, please contact us! Or maybe you have questions and want to talkmore about what these events will look like.

Either way, we are happy to talk more and to collaborate in puttingthese events together.

We do need to finalize things by the end of July 2013, so please let usknow your thoughts either way. Thanks so much!

Kalamity Hildebrandt        Shahaa Kakar

SFPIRG Research Coordinator                            SFPIRGMedia and Outreach Coordinator                                                 



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