Student Disability Commission

Ableism and Coronavirus webinar

Purple poster of the webinar; three purple and green illustrated viruses, and a speech bubble that has the title "Ableism and Coronavirus"

The COVID19 pandemic has had a variety of effects on the disability community worldwide, so we decided to talk about it. We had a panel of disability advocates and authors to discuss topics like the prevalence of remote work, fatphobia and “COVID19”, the importance of social distancing and the devaluation of disabled people, ableist jokes on social media, supply hoarding, and much more.

The event recording is available here:

The recording is manually captioned, so it should be accurate.

The first 30 seconds are just Christine’s face, so feel free to fast forward until you see the interpreters.

An apology: I am so sorry that the interpreters are not as visually clear as they were in the live event. When we recorded it, I had hoped that it would hide the non-video panelists, but apparently it did not and there is no way for me to fix that now, so I hope that the visual is somewhat still usable. I apologize.


Panelists information:


Caroline Reilly

Woman with dark wavy hair and red lipstick looking at the camera

Caroline (she/her) is a writer and reproductive rights advocate. She regularly contributes to a number of publications including Teen Vogue, the Washington Post, Bitch Media, and Vulture, where she writes about gender politics, medical misogyny, men’s fashion, sex, and more. Caroline holds a JD from Boston College Law School and her scholarly writing on abortion access for young people earned national recognition. When she isn’t working she can be found watching British procedurals and parenting her neurotic Italian Greyhound, Rocko.

Check out some of her work here:
“Cover the Coronavirus without Being an Ableist Asshole”:…/avoiding-ableism-in-coronaviru…

And if you’d like to follow her:

Twitter- @ms_creilly


Joe Stramondo

White man in a power wheelchair with two kids hanging off the back, all holding up "Rock on" signs

Dr. Joseph Stramondo (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs at San Diego State University. His teaching and research brings bioethics into conversation with philosophy of disability and he has published nearly 20 scholarly articles and book chapters on topics ranging from reproductive ethics, physician assisted suicide, informed consent procedures, and the philosophy of assistive technology. He is currently developing a book manuscript defending the moral permissibility of using advanced reproductive technology to deliberately have disabled children. Dr. Stramondo has also maintained a presence in the disability movement throughout his career by working or volunteering with groups like ADAPT, Little People of America, Disability Rights Texas, the Connecticut State Independent Living Council, and several Centers for Independent Living. When he isn’t working, you can find him adventuring around California with his spouse and two young kids, unless there is a shelter in place order in effect.

If you’d like to check out some of his work, here’s an article:

“COVID-19 Triage and Disability: What NOT To Do”:…/covid-19-triage-and-disability-w…

You can follow him here:
Twitter: @PhilosopherCrip


Sheila Xu

Woman with dark long hair smiling at camera

Sheila Xu (she/her) is a Deaf freelance writer, copywriter, and speaker based in the United States and Italy. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in science (Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences) and humanities (Science, Technology & Society) since 2014.

In the past decade, she has conducted scientific research projects for MIT, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, NASA JPL, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

After graduating from MIT and backpacking solo for a year, Sheila has won a Fulbright grant and other fellowships to teach American Sign Language and conduct research on deaf Italian entrepreneurs at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy. Then Sheila decided to become a writer and speaker after experiencing the thrill of publication and the power of words to make a positive difference.

Fun fact: She communicates in 4 languages daily: English, American Sign Language, Italian, and Italian Sign Language!

If you’d like to check out her work:…/

If you’d like to follow her social media:
Twitter: (@SheilaZXu)
Instagram: (@sheilazxu)


Clarkisha Kent

Black woman wearing a rainbow jacket, smiling at camera with pink/purple background


Clarkisha Kent (she/her/hers) is a Nigerian-American writer, culture critic, former columnist, and up and coming author. Committed to telling inclusive stories via unique viewpoints from nigh-infancy, she is fascinated with using storytelling and cultural criticism not as a way to “overcome” or “transcend” her unique identities (as a FAT, bisexual, and disabled Black African woman), but as a way to explore them, celebrate them, affirm them, and most importantly, normalize them and make the world safe enough for people who share them to exist. As a University of Chicago graduate with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and English, she brings with her over seven years of pop culture analysis, four years of film theory training, and a healthy appetite for change.

If you’d like to check out some of her work, here you go! :


You can follow her here:

Twitter: (@IWriteAllDay__)
Instagram: (@clarkishakent)


Mary Fashik

White woman with curly dark hair and glasses smiling at camera

Mary Fashik (she/her) is a Miami native who has lived in Georgia for the past 15 years. From an early age she questioned society’s ableist mindset. As the founder of Upgrade Accessibility, she continues to question and challenge ableist behavior while demonstrating exactly why today’s accessibility standards are antiquated and need updating.

If you’re interested, check out some of her work here:

“Employers: Please Accommodate Disabled Workers All the Time, Not ‘Just’ for Coronavirus”:…/disabled-workers-accommodations-co…/

“What’s Keeping Disability Rights in a Stagnant State”:…/whats-keeping-disability-rights-sta…

You can follow Upgrade Accessibility here:
Instagram: @upgradeaccessibility
Facebook: Upgrade Accessibility
Twitter: @upgradeaccessi1