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Engaging Disability, Empowering History: Ethics and Politics of Disability History

Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture

Engaging Disability, Empowering History:
Ethics and Politics of Disability History

Featuring Dr. Joanne Woiak

Associate Teaching Professor
Disability Studies Program
University of Washington

Established in 2005 and named in honor of the UW’s first vice president for the Office of Minority Affairs, the annual Samuel E. Kelly Distinguished Faculty Lecture is dedicated to acknowledging the work of faculty whose nationally-recognized research focuses on diversity and social justice.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Section 504, the first disability civil rights law enacted in the United States. In this lecture, Dr. Woiak  explored questions about how the histories of disabled people and the concept of disability are remembered and forgotten. When society, academia, and historical records marginalize and erase disability, whose stories are left untold? And what are the consequences for people with disabilities today? Disability historians examine the archives through the critical lenses of disability studies and intersectionality, producing and making accessible new knowledge about lived experiences and cultural beliefs around disability. Drawing from the example of studies of the Black Panther Party’s role in the fight to implement Section 504, the lecture addressed the impacts of engaged and empowering directions for historical inquiry into disability activism, politics, and community.

Disability historians examine the archives through the critical lenses of disability studies and intersectionality, producing and making accessible new knowledge about lived experiences and cultural beliefs around disability. Drawing from the example of studies of the Black Panther Party’s role in the fight to implement Section 504, the lecture addressed the impacts of engaged and empowering directions for historical inquiry into disability activism, politics, and community.


Sacred Breath: Indigenous Writing and Storytelling Series

November 16, 2023 at 5-8pm at wəłəbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House

Doors open at 5:30 PM with light refreshments

Event is FREE but RSVP Required

The Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Washington hosts an annual literary and storytelling series. Sacred Breath features Indigenous writers and storytellers sharing their craft at the beautiful wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House on the UW Seattle campus. Storytelling offers a spiritual connection, a sharing of sacred breath. Literature, similarly, preserves human experience and ideals. Both forms are durable and transmit power that teaches us how to live. Both storytelling and reading aloud can impact audiences through the power of presence, allowing for the experience of the transfer of sacred breath as audiences are immersed in the experience of being inside stories and works of literature.

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From Artistic Joy to Collective Wellness with Marc Bamuthi Joseph

By Meany Center for the Performing Arts

At Meany Center, we believe that art-focused, youth-centered, mental health today is a key ingredient in an equitable and inspired social future. Our 2023–24 season engagement with Marc Bamuthi Joseph begins our journey of imagining Meany as a cultural hub that facilitates accessible pathways from artistic joy to collective wellness.

Marc Bamuthi Joseph (a man with dark skin, a beard in a purple jacket and white shirt)

In this coming year, our engagement team will be gathering various communities of practice together with Marc — who is engaged for five separate virtual and in-person residency visits — to imagine ways to normalize arts spaces as hubs for mental and emotional wellness for young people of all kinds.

We began our partnership with Marc Bamuthi Joseph in 2021, with Sozo Vision’s Healing Forward program, through which Meany Center staff identified the mental health of our student population at UW to be a top priority and a place where we felt we were well positioned to make a meaningful impact. This season we will explore the various ways that Meany’s programs can support the wellness of young people in our region, together with our partners who are committed to these values in their work with students on the UW campus and with youth in our surrounding communities.

Look for opportunities to engage with us around these ideas, including Marc’s UW Public Lecture at Town Hall on March 5, 2024. Marc’s residency with Meany will also include the premiere of his newest piece, Carnival of the Animals, at Meany Center on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

To learn more about this initiative, please contact our engagement manager, Kristen Kosmas:

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When: November 7th, 2023

Where: Virtual & Walker Ames (Kane Hall)

Time: 6:30 pm to 8 pm

Click here to register

Event Description: The Pandemics – COVID 19 and the worldwide racial reckoning – forever changed how we work, live, go to school, and interact as a community. Come listen to recorded dialogues about the pandemics, and engage in dialogue with your UW community. Together we will remember and honor our lived pandemics experiences.

Sharon Stein, “The University and Its Responsibility for Repair: Confronting Colonial Foundations and Enabling Different Futures” | A Worlds of Difference lecture (Nov 7th)

For the past 500 years, higher education has been entangled in the reproduction of social and ecological violence around the globe. This presentation asks how universities, and those of us who work and study within them, might meaningfully reckon with and enact repair for our complicity in historical and ongoing coloniality and unsustainability. It approaches reparations as a potentially regenerative process of enacting material redistribution and restitution, (re)building relationships grounded in respect and reciprocity, and repurposing our institutions to be more relevant and responsible in the context of the current polycrisis. The talk will also review several resources for navigating the complexities of confronting the colonial foundations of higher education and enabling different futures.

Sharon Stein (Educational Studies, University of British Columbia) is the author of Unsettling the University: Confronting the Colonial Foundations of US Higher Education (Johns Hopkins, 2022), founder of the Critical Internationalization Studies Network, and a co-founder of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF) Collective.

WHEN Tuesday, Nov 7, 2023, 4:30 – 6 p.m.
EVENT INTERVAL Single day event
CAMPUS LOCATION Communications Building (CMU)
ACCESSIBILITY CONTACT Accommodation requests related to a disability or health condition should be made 10 days in advance to the Simpson Center, 206.543.3920,
EVENT TYPES Lectures/Seminars
EVENT SPONSORS Simpson Center for the Humanities,, 206.543.3920
Co-sponsored by the Office of Global Affairs in partnership with the UW Law Sustainable International Development Graduate Program, the Comparative History of Ideas Department, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies.


Go to the event page

UW Launches Faculty Diversity Initiative

Diversity, in the words of University Diversity Officer Rickey Hall, is everybody’s everyday work. To further accelerate this ongoing work, Provost Mark Richards has launched a Faculty Diversity Initiative to examine the policies, practices, and climate that impact our ability to attract and retain faculty who advance our diversity goals.

The initiative, consistent with Regent Policy 33, includes redirecting University resources to bridge funding that will help departments recruit faculty who will advance the University’s diversity goals. In addition, a subgroup of the Race & Equity Steering Committee will examine best practices across the nation – and within our University – and make recommendations on benchmarks and accountability for recruitment, hiring, and retention in alignment with the UW’s Diversity Blueprint.

Read more about the initiative which builds on the substantial contributions of the Office for Faculty Advancement, the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, the Office of Academic Personnel, and the Office of Research, among others. Further and more critically, this work builds upon the efforts of generations of BIPOC faculty who have voluntarily recruited and mentored additional faculty that advance diversity.



By Jim Davis Thursday, October 8, 2020

Miranda Belarde-Lewis probably was always destined to study art. On her father’s side, she is Zuni Pueblo, a tribe in the Southwest U.S. with a rich aesthetic tradition and love of adornment.

“If there’s something that we could paint on, we’re gonna paint it,” said the University of Washington Information School assistant professor. “We’re gonna make it beautiful.”

On her mother’s side, Belarde-Lewis is Takdeintaan Clan from the Tlingit tribe, one of the Native groups in Alaska who cherish stories of the trickster Raven figure: “There’s this phrase that Ravens like shiny things. So, either way …”

There’s a less happy reason why Belarde-Lewis studies Native American art, a reason that dates back nearly a half a millennium.

“I’m so invested in Native art because it’s something that has survived 500 years of intense colonization,” Belarde-Lewis said. “It represents activities and ceremonies that were directly outlawed and banned and targeted for eradication through various federal policies.”

For many years, the only safe way for American Indians to express their culture was through artwork, commodities often sold to tourists, she said. Belarde-Lewis has studied Native art, first in her work at museums and now in her academic career at the UW.

To further her study, Belarde-Lewis was recently named the inaugural recipient of the Joseph and Jill McKinstry Endowed Faculty Fellowship in Native North American Indigenous Knowledge, the first endowment for the iSchool in this area of study.

The award comes with funding that Belarde-Lewis can use with a great deal of discretion to apply for federal grants, bring speakers to the campus and the community, and aid in other ways with her research.

Associate Professor Emerita Cheryl A. Metoyer, director of the iSchool’s Native North American Indigenous Knowledge research initiative, is ecstatic for her former student and current iSchool colleague. “I’m doing my happy dance,” Metoyer said. “I absolutely could not be more pleased.”

Miranda Belarde-Lewis curated the "Raven and the Box of Daylight" exhibit of works by glass artist Preston Singletary, displayed at the Tacoma Museum of Glass in late 2019.
Miranda Belarde-Lewis curated the “Raven and the Box of Daylight” exhibit of works by glass artist Preston Singletary, displayed at the Tacoma Museum of Glass in late 2019.

The fellowship is a bright spot, but another achievement for Belarde-Lewis is on hold at least for now. Belarde-Lewis curated a Tlingit glass art exhibit called “Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight” created by glass artist Preston Singletary. It features the Tlingit story of how Raven transformed the world.

The exhibit was headed to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian this fall, but the opening has been pushed back due to COVID-19 until at least spring 2021.

Metoyer takes in pride in Belarde-Lewis, recalling fondly watching her former student demonstrate her teaching method to a class when applying for a full-time iSchool position.

“She was able explain not only the process of creating the pottery and all of the layers of symbolism that you see there, but also talk about the information that’s part of the creation process from the start to the finish,” Metoyer said.

The general public often is ignorant of Indigenous issues, Belarde-Lewis said. One of the ways to reclaim the narrative for Native Americans is through art.

“Native art is information,” Belarde-Lewis said. “It’s knowledge, and how that can be expressed on our own terms is just incredibly inspiring and empowering.”

Pictured at top: Miranda Belarde-Lewis gazes at a glass sculpture by artist Preston Singletary at the Tacoma Museum of Glass during a 2019 exhibit. (Photos by Doug Parry)

UW Libraries Immigration Resources

Post from UW Libraries website:

The UW Libraries recognizes that many students and researchers on our campus have been affected by ongoing and recent immigration and travel bans. We are a university and library system that is proud to wholeheartedly welcome and support undocumented students of all ethnicities and nationalities. Undocumented students are eligible for state tuition, state benefits, and resources. Below are resources that may be of use to those who are facing legal difficulties with citizenship and movement in and out of the United States. If you are not sure who to contact, a librarian can point you towards further resources. Communication with a UW Librarian is always confidential and we never release any personal information about you to third parties. UW Student Legal Services, as well as community resources below, hold free legal advice and sessions to take advantage of.

Link to resources 

UW Black Opportunity Fund

We are writing to you because our country has a problem. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed with fierce clarity the systemic inequality that affects every aspect of life, from who is most likely to be an essential worker to who is most affected by unemployment to who is in the greatest danger of dying from the virus. This urgent wake-up call has been compounded and amplified by the recent police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and too many other Black men and women to name.

This loss of life, safety and opportunity is not coincidence; it extends back to the founding of our country. Racism is everyone’s problem, and we must work together to solve it. Many in our community recognize the need for action and have reached out to ask where they can financially support our Black UW students and create a path for systematic change at the University.

After leadership conversations with the Black Student Union and Black faculty and staff, listening and learning where support is needed most, the UW has created the Black Opportunity Fund through the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. We share this fund with you as a way to make an impact on the lives of our Black students, faculty and staff. We also encourage your support of and investment in Black-led nonprofit and community-based organizations that are critical to the health, growth and success of the Black community.

The UW launched the Race & Equity Initiative five years ago to deepen our commitment to creating a just and equitable world — to confront bias, transform institutional policies, accelerate systemic change and weave this value throughout everything we do. There is still much more to be done. As a public university, we are part of a system that has historically caused harm to marginalized communities, and together we must further our efforts to create a safe, supportive and equitable institution, community and world.

The Black Opportunity Fund has been established to acknowledge the harm that systemic racism has on the Black community, to take action to address these inequities and injustices, and to fund a strategic agenda that meets immediate and ongoing needs of our Black students and faculty.

Your support of the Black Opportunity Fund will make a difference in addressing the systemic racism and inequity hurting the Black community and increase opportunities for Black UW students, faculty and staff to thrive. And when we do that, we will all be better for it. We thank our community for reaching out, and we hope you’ll join us with your voice and actions during this critical time for our nation.

Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Psychology

Rickey Hall
Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity
University Diversity Officer