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Who Jumps First?

Liz Crow interviewed by Angharad Penrhyn Jones
In Earnshaw, H & Jones, AP (2014) Here We Stand: Women Changing the World, Honno Press, 107-132

Here We Stand won the Bread and Roses Award for radical publishing, 2015

Extract from the chapter:

 

…[I] happened to go on a weekend community action training. There was a brief session on disability equality training in which these two disabled women explained the social model.

And suddenly I had an explanation for all the years, suddenly there was a language that made sense. I’d got a word for what was happening, it was discrimination, disability. That I’d got an impairment was a given, but there was all this other stuff, this discrimination, that didn’t need to happen, and actually my primary distress and loss of opportunity wasn’t from impairment but disability. Being able to name it changed everything. Shortly after, I became a disability equality trainer, that became my work, how I earned a living. I moved to London, got involved with the burgeoning disabled people’s movement, the very beginning of the disability arts movement, and my life changed absolutely radically and much for the better.

So did you feel a sense of… empowerment is such a cliché, but how would you describe that feeling? Did you feel that you were more equipped to face the bullying and the walls and the barriers?

Yes, but I think it’s more than that. I think I found my community. I found a second family really. And that instant recognition, where if you had a conversation with another disabled person there was so much that didn’t have to be stated, that always had to be stated in the world outside, and that was an incredible release. I found a common explanation for what was happening and a common focus for what needed to change. And the late 80s was an exhilarating time. It really was a kind of born-again feeling, like we could take on the world. And to some extent we did. We were the first, I suppose. There had been disability campaigners in the past but suddenly what we had was this mass movement, an international movement, and it felt that anything was possible. And some of the time I think it really was. We changed things with a rapidity never been seen before…

 

Download the full interview.

Buy Here We Stand: Women Changing the World, with interviews and articles from 17 British women campaigners talking about their work.

To cite this page: Crow, Liz (2014) Who Jumps First?, Roaring Girl Productions [online] [Available at: http://www.roaring-girl.com/work/jumps-first/] [Accessed 22/07/2018]