Jamie Junior | EJAM Fellow
Reminding us Black Disabled Lives Matter
For three years, Jamie Junior, has been working in the disability and racial justice arenas. But she is taking her work and her depth of knowledge about the role of an organizer to a new level as a 2020 EJAM fellow.
At the heart of Jamie’s work is bringing a disability perspective to social change spaces, like economics, housing and transportation. Being part of the EJAM Fellowship has boosted her connections with other organizers and organizations in a more intimate way.
She has been able to learn about and connect with people from The Ezekiel Project, Mothering Justice, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit, and others. Through these connections to people across the state, she has learned about other issues in the economic justice realm.
Fellows have advised on how to organize in disability spaces better, and together, with Jamie, have strategized about how to bring more attention to the fact that many issues that individuals with disabilities face are the same issues that their non-disabled peers face.
“There are different barriers that individuals with disabilities experience… but at some point in their life every person will experience some type of disability.”
Given these barriers, especially for Black individuals with disabilities, the recent attention to police brutality against people of color has hit home for Jamie. She says that many of the individuals in the Black community who have negative experiences with the police have some sort of disability, whether it be an emotional, mental, or learning disability.
Jamie helped organize the Black Disabled Lives Matter Protest and March in downtown Detroit in June of 2020.
However, given that that some people with disabilities cannot physically attend rallies like the one in June, Jamie has been thankful to learn more about social media strategies through the EJAM Fellowship. “This is very helpful to a disability justice activist like myself.
“The [social media] space is somewhat of an equalizer, because many people who may not be able to physically get out can get out to them.”
Another fellowship learning that has impacted Jamie is the attention EJAM pays to the concept of equity versus equality.
“In this country, we base a lot of our laws and rules on equality, which is making sure that everyone has the same thing. But equity means giving individuals the tools that they need. I like to call it the ‘Oprah versus Ellen effect’.”
(Oprah gives out cars to everyone, whereas Ellen helps people meet a significant need.)
And, Jamie, with her positivity and attention to the disability justice space, is helping people in her own, unique way – opening doors for those who have mobility challenges in Detroit and beyond.