Transformative Justice in the Lives of Survivors with Disabilities & Deaf Survivors
With high rates of victimization and incarceration, people with disabilities have an elevated likelihood of having contact with the criminal legal system in their lifetime. However, due to lack of accessibility, unexamined biases – conscious and unconscious – that exist in the criminal legal system, and an overall fear of system involvement, people with disabilities, and specifically Black, Indigenous people with disabilities, are seeking alternatives to healing and accountability.
One of those alternatives is Transformative Justice. Transformative Justice (TJ) is a framework and approach for responding to violence, harm, and abuse. At its most basic, it seeks to respond to violence without creating more violence and/or engaging in harm reduction to lessen the violence. TJ was created by and for people from marginalized communities for whom calling the police may not be a viable or safe option. This session will further explore the concept of transformative justice and its application to power-based violence in disability and Deaf communities.
Facilitator, Olga Trujillo, from the Center on Victimization and Safety at the Vera Institute of Justice, will be joined in conversation by Najma Johnson and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
Najma Johnson, DAWN. Najma, who identifies as BlackDeafBlind Trans non-binary, is currently the Executive Director at DAWN, a anti-violence agency providing services for the DeafDisabled, DeafBlind, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late-deafened who experienced power-based violence. Najma co-founded Together All in Solidarity (TAS), an umbrella anti-violence community collaboration that functions as a network for marginalized communities within the Deaf Community. Their lifelong work to reduce violence is led by a commitment to transformative justice and actively looking to reduce harm and address systems of oppression.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Leah (she/they) is a nonbinary femme disabled writer and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher and Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish and Galician Romani ascent. They are the author or co-editor of nine books, including (with Ejeris Dixon) Beyond Survival, Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, and Bodymap. A Lambda Award winner who has been shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle five times, they are the 2020 Jean Cordova Award winner “honoring a lifetime of work documenting the complexities of queer experience” and are a 2020 Disability Futures Fellow. Raised in rustbelt central Massachusetts and shaped by T’karonto and Oakland, they currently make home in South Seattle, Duwamish territories. Website is: brownstargirl.org