Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program

Through AAPD’s REV UP Campaign, we are proud to announce our new initiative, the Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program. This program is designed for young (ages 18 – 30) Black disabled advocates who are committed to boosting voter registration and civic engagement across Black communities leading up to the 2020 elections. Participants will receive a $1,500 stipend and have the opportunity to create a national nonpartisan campaign that promotes voter registration and participation.

Fannie Lou Hamer is a well-recognized civil rights activist and organizer for voting rights. Her work centered on elevating the rights of Black voters and women, particularly across the state of Mississippi. Hamer had polio as a child and later became physically disabled due to a severe beating in a Mississippi jail. In honor of her legacy and sacrifice, AAPD is proud to launch the Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program.

Black Disability Freedom Dreams Event

A "Save the Date" flyer with a confident Black girl appearing out of a starry night sky that reads "Black Disability Freedom Dreams" in bold orange and teal text. It contains the Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program and AAPD logo as well as a the following short event description "Save the Date, Friday, October 30th, 5:30-7:00 PM ET. Join the Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program and AAPD for a virtual community discussion on how we can fight for a more accessible and inclusive future through voting and other means of integrated civic engagement"

Date: October 30, 2020

Time: 5:30pm – 7pm EST

Virtual Event, RSVP Here: https://aapd1995.wufoo.com/forms/rh56ej010vjh8p/.

What does Freedom look like for Black Disabled people in 2020 and beyond? How are Black Disabled people actively dreaming up alternative visions of freedom, community and political power? What does it mean to center #BlackDisabilityFreedom and #BlackDisabilityDreams in our work? Let’s talk about it!

Join the five organizers from the inaugural cohort of AAPD’s Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership Program (led by Keri Gray!) on October 30th at 5:30pm ET as we discuss the complex intersections of Blackness and Disability with our community, as well as how we might use voting as one part of an integrated civic engagement strategy towards Black liberation.

As young organizers with different political experiences and a shared commitment to helping our people, we feel that it’s important for our voices to be heard in this moment where many of our peers are righteously disillusioned by national politics. Understanding that the Black disabled community encompasses a broad range of people with varied life experiences, needs, and relationships, we seek to build community and start an open exchange of ideas about how people who are Black and living with disabilities imagine and work towards radical visions of freedom. We welcome people of all ages who identify as Black and/or within the disability community. Allies are also welcome to attend and learn from our perspectives.

Featured Speakers include:

Adreenah “Dreezy” Wynn | Tallahassee, FL

Jalyn Radziminski | Fort Wayne, IN

Ra Malika Imhotep | New Orleans, LA

Shayla Gaither | Cheltenham, PA

Tolu Adedoja | Los Angeles, CA

Congrats to our 2020 Fannie Lou Hamer Leaders!

Adreenah “Dreezy” Wynn

The photo is a portrait of Dreezy, a black female indoors in front of gray gradient backdrop. Caramel skin tone, buttery brown skin. Small boxed braids or plats that are crinkled and curly. Black hair with a tiny patch of blonde. Bright red lipstick and one stud nose ring. Black rectangle shaped glasses. Black shirt with tiny white cow print patterns that look similar to polka dots. Posing with arms on hips and a cheerful smile.

City/State: Tallahassee, FL
Website: https://www.adreenah.com/
Twitter: @Adreenah
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adreenah/
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/147361303

Bio

I’m Adreenah but everyone calls me Dreezy. I am a graphic designer, female, African American, thriving with a blood disorder called Sickle Cell Disease, anxiety, and depression. My hometown is Apalachicola, Florida which is a rural community. I graduated from the University of Florida with a dual degree in Graphic Design and Art+Technology, minor in Sociology, and I will be finishing up my Arts in Medicine Certificate this year also at UF. I have hopes to get my Masters in Art Therapy program in the future. I consider myself a Digital Storyteller, Act Activist, and Social Designer.

I use design as a catalyst to initiate real conversation, amongst real people, about real issues. Much of my work has a social justice theme. My top medium would be video and digital media. You can check out my work at www.adreenah.com I volunteered and facilitated art and story-telling workshops in UF Health Shands Hospital, juvenile detention centers, and within the community including schools. I spent this past year doing community organizing and I love it! I currently volunteer with the Sunrise Movement and I’m working on starting my own blog. I can’t to see how my experience in this program will shape the black community and my journey.

Jalyn Radziminski

Jalyn, a light skinned, multi-racial person with medium length dark brown, curly hair, is outside on grey steps during a bright day. They are wearing a plain, black dress and smiles at the camera.

City/State: Fort Wayne, IN
College: Emory University
Major: Linguistics & Human Rights
Website: http://countusindiana.org/
Instagram: @awoken_nova
Twitter: @awoken_nova

Bio

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Jalyn Radziminski is fueled by their passion to unite education, non-profits, government, political and grassroots community initiatives to promote equity both socially and systematically.

Jalyn graduated from Emory University with a bachelors and linguistics and interdisciplinary studies with a human rights concentration. As an undergrad, Radziminski co-founded Emory University’s Black Mental Health Ambassadors Program as well as served as a founding council member of Mental Health America’s National Collegiate Innovation Council and Students for Prison Education and Resistance.

After graduation, Jalyn has advocated for diversity and voter equity in Georgia by serving as a Fair Fight Action Political Fellow, conducting research about jail voting for grassroots initiatives, volunteering for disability inclusion initiatives surrounding employment and transportation advocacy, and by serving as a Communication Director and Legislative Aide for the Georgia House of Representatives. Jalyn saw the need to encourage more diverse voter turnout and political participation in her home state as well. Thus, Jalyn founded Count US IN, an Indiana based initiative to uplift, educate, and empower local voices as well highlight Indiana’s relevance in the national political conversations.

Jalyn is grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow in a space that centers Black and Disability rights, and will actively work towards making sure every vote counts!

Ra Malika Imhotep

Ra Malika Imhotep, a Black femme with long black twists in her hair, is pictured in front of a multicolored painting. She wears clear framed glasses and thin hoop earrings with cowrie shells. She also wears a t-shirt with the logo of the Black Panther Party on it under a black cardigan sweater.

City/State: New Orleans, LA
College: University of California, Berkeley
Major: African Diaspora Studies/New Media
Website: http://blackfeministstudy.org/
Twitter: @blackityblk

Bio

Ra Malika Imhotep is a Black feminist cultural worker from Atlanta, Georgia, pursuing a doctoral degree in African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley with a designated emphasis in New Media. Ra’s intellectual + creative work tends to the relationships between queer articulations of Black femininity, vernacular culture and the performance of labor in The Dirty South. Currently living, practicing and dreaming in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ra works across mediums to apply principles of disability justice and the long tradition of Black feminist world-making to collaborative efforts that “make revolution irresistible” through innovative and inclusive approaches to political education and cultural production. Ra is co-convener of an embodied spiritual-political education project called The Church of Black Feminist Thought, and a member of the curatorial collective The Black Aesthetic. Ra is currently being politicized in community with the organizers, scholars and cultural workers of Southerners on New GroundGallery of the Streets and Sister’s Action Team.

Shayla Gaither

This a picture of Shayla Gaither from for the 2019 Disability:IN Talent Network Exchange in Chicago, Illinois. Disability:IN held a conference that connected persons with a disability to employers. They graciously provided the mentees with free headshots. Shayla is wearing a red wrap shirt, a gold necklace and a big smile.

City/State: Cheltenham, PA
College: Albright College
Major: Business Administration and Communications Track in PR and Advertising
Website: https://shaylagaither.wixsite.com/createink
Instagram: @cuteshaybay

Bio

Shayla Gaither is a fun and lively woman from a small town outside Philadelphia. She is currently 20 years old and attends college at a liberal arts school in Reading, Pennsylvania. Ever since Shayla was little, she had a passion for media and advocacy. As a little girl, Shayla would record events with her family’s camcorder and wrote letters to state representatives. Now, Shayla is a Business and Communications major, who wants to create entertaining commercials in her career. In Shayla’s free time, she also advocates for minority and disability rights. Shayla is extremely excited to participate in the Fannie Lou Hammer Leadership Program. Not only does the program combine all of Shayla’s passions, but the program also helps support minorities across the country.

Tolu Adedoja

Tolu, a black young man with natural afro-textured hair, sits by the window side on an airplane. He wears a white chiffon, oxford button-down shirt, with collar buttons undone, revealing an inner, blue t-shirt. He also has a tiny black cord around his neck.

City/State: Los Angeles, CA
Instagram: @toluwase019

Bio

Tolu was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States in 2017. He is highly interested in public policy, and often participates in a lot of volunteer and community service projects. He is also a human rights advocate with special interest in disability rights.

Tolu’s interest in the Fannie Lou Hamer Leadership program stem from his passion for public policy, leadership, and advocacy, with special focus on disability rights. As a college student, he has been actively involved in leadership activities both on and off campus through the Student Government where he served as the sophomore representative, and was on the Speech and Debate Club. In his community, he has been an active member of the Nebraska Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), a self-advocacy leadership organization for youth with disabilities in Nebraska. Through this organization, he has teamed up with other members on how to create a more suitable environment for people with disabilities, by creating awareness and advocating for their rights.  In his leisure time, Tolu likes to watch YouTube, play video games, or just hang out.

Thank You to Our Speakers and Partner Organizations!

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