Lydia Brown

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Lydia X. Z. Brown
A person in a suit holding a microphone in their left hand with a red chair to their left.
Brown speaks at the Colorado Trust in 2017
Born1993 (age 26–27)
NationalityAmerican
Known forDisability rights advocacy

Lydia X. Z. Brown (born 1993) is an American autistic disability rights activist, writer, attorney, and public speaker who was honored by the White House in 2013.[1] They are currently the chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.[2]

Student activism[edit]

As an undergraduate student at Georgetown University from 2011 to 2015, Brown was a student organizer and advocate for disabled students on campus.[3] Brown served as the first Undersecretary of Disability Affairs for the Georgetown University Student Association,[4] wrote and disseminated a citywide guide to resources for students with disabilities,[5] designed a proposal for a Disability Cultural Center on campus,[6] surveyed student government candidates on disability issues,[7][8] organized a Twitter chat by Georgetown students with disabilities,[9] and hosted and organized a lecture & performance series on Disability justice that featured talks with disability activists, scholars, and cultural workers including Karen Nakamura, Margaret Price, Leroy F. Moore Jr., Kassiane Asasumasu, Stephanie Kerschbaum, and Shain M. Neumeier.[10][11][12]

Career[edit]

Since graduating, Brown is now a Public Interest Law Scholar at Northeastern University School of Law.[13] In Massachusetts, Brown first wrote and introduced legislation in 2010 on autism and developmental disabilities training for law enforcement, including corrections officers, and has continued to lobby for passage of that bill.[14][15]

Brown worked as a policy analyst for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a national disability rights organization,[16] and co-founded the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective.[17] Brown is also a former Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership.[18]

In 2011, Brown wrote a petition demanding school district-wide policy changes in Mercer County, Kentucky after viewing local news coverage of an incident in which Christopher Baker, a nine year old autistic student, was punished by being placed inside a large bag.[19] The petition gained over 200,000 signatures[20] and media attention. [21][22]

In 2013, Brown co-organized a protest outside the Food and Drug Administration White Oak Campus in Maryland against the Judge Rotenberg Center, which is known for its use of aversives as a form of behavioral modification on people with developmental disabilities, including many autistic people.[23] Later, in 2014, Brown testified against the Judge Rotenberg Center's use of electric shock aversives at a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel hearing.[24] Prior to the hearing, Brown submitted a written testimony on behalf of TASH New England arguing that electric shock aversive devices should be banned as an ineffective and dangerous form of treatment.[25] Brown maintains a living archive of documents and other resources related to the JRC on their website.[26]

The Washington Peace Center selected Brown as the recipient of its 2014 Empowering the Future Youth Activist Award for their work with the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.[27][28]

In 2015, Brown was named a Top Thinker Under 30 in the Social Sciences by Pacific Standard and included on Mic's inaugural list of "the next generation of impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators."[29][30] Brown has lectured on neurodiversity; connections between trans, queer, and disability experiences; racial justice and the disability rights movement; and intersectionality at numerous colleges and universities, including Yale University,[31][32] Bellevue College,[33] University of Virginia,[34] Grinnell College,[35] College of William & Mary,[36] and Vanderbilt University as part of the Inclusive Astronomy Conference.[37] In 2015, Brown gave the keynote speech at the Students of Color Conference held in Yakima, Washington,[38] and in 2016, Brown gave the keynote speech at the Queer I Am Leadership Symposium held at South Puget Sound Community College.[39]

Brown is also the lead editor of All the Weight of Our Dreams, an anthology of art and writing entirely by autistic people of color published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network in June 2017.[40][41]

In 2020, Brown supported the FDA's ban of electric shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center, and said that there should be reparations for survivors of this method of torture.[42]

Selected works[edit]

  • "intersectionality – a dialogue with Devonya N. Havis and Lydia X. Z. Brown", Addressing Ableism: Philosophical Questions via Disability Studies. Jennifer Scuro (2017)[43]
  • "Ableist Shame and Disruptive Bodies: Survivorship at the Intersection of Queer, Trans, and Disabled Existence", Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence. ed. Andy J. Johnson, J. Ruth Nelson, & Emily M. Lund (2017)[44]
  • All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism. ed. Lydia X. Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, & Morénike Giwa Onaiwu (2017)[45]
  • "Autism Isn't Speaking: Autistic Subversion in Media & Public Policy", Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability. ed. Michelle Jarman, Leila Monaghan, & Alison Quaggin Harkin (2017)[46]
  • "'You Don’t Feel Like A Freak Anymore': Representing Disability, Madness, and Trauma in Litchfield Penitentiary", Feminist Perspectives on Orange Is The New Black: Thirteen Critical Essays. ed. April Kalogeropoulos Householder & Adrienne Trier-Bieniek (2016)[47]
  • "How Not To Plan Disability Conferences", QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology. ed. Raymond Luczak (2015)[48]
  • "Compliance is Unreasonable: The Human Rights Implications of Compliance-Based Behavioral Interventions under the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities", Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report ed. Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (2014)[49]
  • "Disability in an Ableist World" in Criptiques ed. Caitlin Wood (2014)[50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Lydia. "Keeping the Promise of the ADA: Unequal Justice for Disabled Victims of Murder", White House, Washington, D.C., August 15, 2013.
  2. ^ Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, "Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council Welcomes Lydia Brown as New Chairperson: Brown is Youngest Developmental Disabilities Council Chairperson in Country", October 2015.
  3. ^ Quallen, Matthew. "For Disabled Students, The Struggle Continues", The Hoya, February 26, 2015.
  4. ^ Andrews, Avital. "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The Self-Described Queer, East Asian Disabled Person Devoted to Defending Anyone on the Margins", Pacific Standard, April 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Welch, Caroline. "GUSA Tackles Accessibility", The Hoya, September 6, 2013.
  6. ^ Rouge, Dominique. "Brown’s proposal for establishment of Disability Cultural Center gains momentum", The Georgetown Voice, March 5, 2015.
  7. ^ Henry, Lacey. "Disability Survey Reveals Support From GUSA Candidates", The Hoya, February 24, 2013.
  8. ^ Gregory, Matt. "Candidates Surveyed on Disability for Second Year", The Hoya, February 27, 2014.
  9. ^ Monyak, Suzanne. "Strong Words From GU’s Disabled", The Hoya, January 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "Lecture & Performance Series on Disability Justice", Disability Justice for Georgetown University, 2015.
  11. ^ Allen, Charlotte. "Speaker Discusses Incarceration of Disabled People", The Hoya, November 11, 2014.
  12. ^ Wallender, Andrew. "Panel Talks Disability Rights", The Hoya, October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "Celebrating the Public Interest Law Scholars Program: Recipient Biographies for the Classes of 2003-2018", Northeastern University School of Law, January 2016, page 19.
  14. ^ General Court of Massachusetts, "Journal of the House", June 23, 2010, page 1498.
  15. ^ Segelbaum, Dani. "Student pushes bill on autism training", Milford Daily News, February 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Autistic Self Advocacy Network, "2015 Annual Report".
  17. ^ Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective, "Leadership".
  18. ^ Institute for Educational Leadership, "IEL Celebrates White House Champions of Change", 2013.
  19. ^ Schreiner, Bruce. "School accused of putting autistic student in bag", Associated Press, Boston Globe, December 22, 2011.
  20. ^ Brown, Lydia. "Petitioning Special Education, Mercer County Board of Education Emma Jean Tamme and 14 others: End abuse of Autistic students in Mercer County, Kentucky", Change.org, December 2011.
  21. ^ Schreiner, Bruce. "Mom wants changes before she'll let autistic son return to Mercer school", Associated Press, January 4, 2012.
  22. ^ McVeigh, Karen. "Mother condemns Kentucky school for putting autistic son in duffel bag", The Guardian, December 27, 2011.
  23. ^ "FDA meets on school electric shock device used on disabled students, warns of violations", January 11, 2013.
  24. ^ Food and Drug Administration. "Transcript of Open Public Hearing of the Neurological Devices Panel, Medical Devices Advisory Committee, U.S. Food and Drug Administration", April 24, 2014, pp.192-195.
  25. ^ Brown, Lydia. "Moral and Legal Bases for Banning Aversive Conditioning Devices Used for Contingent Electric Shock Lydia Brown Comment", April 18, 2014.
  26. ^ Brown, Lydia. "Judge Rotenberg Center Living Archive", last updated July 22, 2016.
  27. ^ "Past Awardees". Washington Peace Center. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  28. ^ "2014 Activist Awardees". Washington Peace Center. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  29. ^ Andrews, Avital. "The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30: The Self-Described Queer, East Asian Disabled Person Devoted to Defending Anyone on the Margins", Pacific Standard, April 4, 2015.
  30. ^ "Mic50: Lydia Brown", Mic, 2015.
  31. ^ Giovanniello, Sarah. "Lydia Brown: Looking Beyond the Pathology Paradigm", Broad Recognition, November 18, 2013.
  32. ^ Lee, Jiwon. "Activist challenges social perceptions of autism", Yale Daily News, November 5, 2013.
  33. ^ Yu, Fei. "Disability Awareness Month", The Watchdog, September 30, 2014.
  34. ^ Parker, Elizabeth. "Queer and disabled activist Lydia Brown speaks at OpenGrounds: Georgetown University student discusses experiences with autism, self-advocacy", The Cavalier Daily, April 8, 2015.
  35. ^ Coghlan, Nora. "Queer Culture Week Comes Out to Grinnell", Scarlet and Black, November 13, 2014.
  36. ^ Cohen, Ariel. "College Works To Promote Neurodiversity", The Flat Hat, April 15, 2013.
  37. ^ Tavares, Frank. "My Experiences at the Inclusive Astronomy 2015 Conference: Part 1", AC Voice, July 23, 2015.
  38. ^ Vo, Tony (July 9, 2015). "The International Examiner – Column: Students of Color Conference—25 years of movement building". www.iexaminer.org. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  39. ^ "QueerIAm". Office of Diversity and Equity. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  40. ^ Brooks, Emily. An Interview with Steve Silberman, Author of NeuroTribes, The Toast, March 29, 2016.
  41. ^ Brown, Lydia X. Z. & The Autism Women's Network. All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, 2016.
  42. ^ Adams, Heather (March 9, 2020). "After FDA bans Massachusetts school from using electric shock devices, advocates seek public apology, reparations". masslive. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  43. ^ Jennifer, Scuro (2018). Addressing ableism : philosophical questions via disability studies. Reynolds, Joel Michael,, Havis, Devonya N.,, Brown, Lydia X. Z. Lanham, [Maryland]. ISBN 9781498540742. OCLC 995285877.
  44. ^ Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence. Johnson, Andy, Nelson, Ruth, Lund, Emily. Springer Verlag. 2017. ISBN 9783319569000. OCLC 995767208.CS1 maint: others (link)
  45. ^ All the weight of our dreams : on living racialized autism. Brown, Lydia X. Z.,, Ashkenazy, E.,, Onaiwu, Morénike Giwa,, Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Lincoln, Nebraska. 2017. ISBN 9780997504507. OCLC 991619149.CS1 maint: others (link)
  46. ^ Barriers and belonging : personal narratives of disability. Jarman, Michelle, 1966-, Monaghan, Leila Frances, 1960-, Harkin, Alison Quaggin, 1958-. Philadelphia. February 11, 2017. ISBN 9781439913888. OCLC 969434384.CS1 maint: others (link)
  47. ^ Brown, Lydia (2016). "'You Don’t Feel Like A Freak Anymore': Representing Disability, Madness, and Trauma in Litchfield Penitentiary", Feminist Perspectives on Orange Is The New Black: Thirteen Critical Essays. ed. April Kalogeropoulos Householder & Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, pp. 174-193.
  48. ^ Brown, Lydia (2015). "How Not To Plan Disability Conferences," QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology. ed. Raymond Luczak, pp. 304-307.
  49. ^ Brown, Lydia. "Compliance is Unreasonable: The Human Rights Implications of Compliance-Based Behavioral Interventions under the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities", Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law, 2014, pp. 181-194.
  50. ^ Brown, Lydia (2014). "Disability in an Ableist World", in Criptiques ed. Caitlin Wood, pp. 37-46, May Day. ISBN 0991573404.

External links[edit]