Parent Advocacy for Lives That Matter

Beth Harry, Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article draws parallels between the concept of “Black lives matter” and the efforts of caregivers to advocate for the value of the lives of their children who have disabilities. The authors identify three key concepts that undergird their argument: first, the concept of systemic bias as built in to the hierarchical valuing of different disabilities and the role of this bias in the valuing of parents’ voices; second, the ways in which stigmatized identity markers intersect to intensify bias; and third, the authors propose a broad interpretation of the meaning of parent advocacy in which service providers seek to work as co-advocates rather than as professional advisors. The authors review relevant literature on these themes and also draw on their own experiences as women of color who are parents of children with disabilities. They present their exploration of these topics against the backdrop of the convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, and call on epistemological assumptions and intersectionality to address the question of whether participants’ perspectives on racism should be considered as “truth.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-198
Number of pages15
JournalResearch and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • identity intersectionality
  • parent–professional co-advocacy
  • systemic bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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