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The Power of Somatics for Disability Justice

28 April 2023
7:00 pm
- 9:00 pm BST

About the event

“All bodies are unique and essential. All bodies are whole. All bodies have strengths and needs that must be met. We are powerful not despite the complexities of our bodies, but because of them. We move together, with no body left behind. This is disability justice.” – Aurora Levins Morales and Patty Berne

Organisations, collectives, communities, all people invested in disability justice: join us online in conversation with Patty Berne of Sins Invalid, Lani Parker of Sisters of Frida, The Triple Cripples and Farzana Khan, where we’ll be exploring the interconnections between somatics and disability justice, and their vital role in our movements.

As we sit in this work and continue to learn, holding the complexity and multiple ways of being in relationship to our bodies, we hope to uplift and sustain the resistance and creativity of disabled bodies as liberatory and life-affirming practices in the face of ableist harm and violence.

Come through on Friday 28 April for this session focusing on Somatics and Disability Justice. The practice of disability justice teaches us to think about the body in a politicised way, to think about which bodies are deemed disposable, and to challenge radical movement spaces that rely on burnout without acknowledging bodily/mental limitations or access needs.

With our #RehearsingFreedoms programme, we’re building towards a complete reimagining of our health systems. We want to cultivate this movement of exploration, building and teaching at the intersection of somatics and justice. While in recent times healing has been depoliticised and individualised, this 3-part series explores how somatics, from the individual to the collective body, can be applied to social justice movements. How the work of dismantling oppressive systems involves transforming patterns, culture and community practices through engaging the body; and the techniques we need to learn as responses to trauma caused by social and political structures.

This series is intended to engage and build a community in the UK, including any and everyone who may be involved in bringing about change. As we learn together, the power of this work grows with the presence of every participant, towards sustainable and embodied processes for personal and social transformation.

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series, parts 1 and 2 were on collective transformation and racial justice respectively.


This event is online with closed captioning (live transcriptions) and BSL (British Sign Language) available. If there are any access needs you’d like us to consider, please email info@healingjusticeldn.org.


Disability Justice Principles (Sins Invalid)

  • INTERSECTIONALITY “We do not live single issue lives” –Audre Lorde. Ableism, coupled with white supremacy, supported by capitalism, underscored by heteropatriarchy, has rendered the vast majority of the world “invalid.”
  • LEADERSHIP OF THOSE MOST IMPACTED “We are led by those who most know these systems.” –Aurora Levins Morales
  • ANTI-CAPITALIST POLITIC In an economy that sees land and humans as components of profit, we are anti-capitalist by the nature of having non-conforming body/minds.
  • COMMITMENT TO CROSS-MOVEMENT ORGANIZING Shifting how social justice movements understand disability and contextualize ableism, disability justice lends itself to politics of alliance.
  • RECOGNIZING WHOLENESS People have inherent worth outside of commodity relations and capitalist notions of productivity. Each person is full of history and life experience.
  • SUSTAINABILITY We pace ourselves, individually and collectively, to be sustained long term. Our embodied experiences guide us toward ongoing justice and liberation.
  • COMMITMENT TO CROSS-DISABILITY SOLIDARITY We honor the insights and participation of all of our community members, knowing that isolation undermines collective liberation.
  • INTERDEPENDENCE We meet each others’ needs as we build toward liberation, knowing that state solutions inevitably extend into further control over lives.
  • COLLECTIVE ACCESS As brown, black and queer-bodied disabled people we bring flexibility and creative nuance that go beyond able-bodied/minded normativity, to be in community with each other.
  • COLLECTIVE LIBERATION No body or mind can be left behind – only moving together can we accomplish the revolution we require.


About the Speakers

Patty Berne is the Co-Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Sins Invalid. Berne’s training in clinical psychology focused on trauma and healing for survivors of interpersonal and state violence. Their professional background includes advocacy for immigrants who seek asylum due to war and torture; community organizing within the Haitian diaspora; international support work for the Guatemalan democratic movement; work with incarcerated youth toward alternatives to the criminal legal system; offering mental health support to survivors of violence; and advocating for LGBTQI and disability perspectives within the field of reproductive genetic technologies. Berne’s experiences as a Japanese-Haitian queer disabled woman provides grounding for her work creating “liberated zones” for marginalized voices. Berne was awarded the Disability Futures Fellowship in 2020 and they are widely recognized for their work to establish the framework and practice of disability justice.


Lani Parker (she/her) is a facilitator, trainer and coach with a background in providing advice, information and advocacy within disabled people’s organisations. She is passionate about making connections and developing new ideas and visions that centre disabled people and other marginalised groups. Since 2015, she has been a steering committee member of Sisters of Frida, a disabled women’s collective. In 2017 she founded Sideways Times, a UK-based platform and podcast for conversations which broaden and deepen our understandings of the politics of ableism, racism/ whiteness, classism, and gender oppression.


The Triple Cripples: Jumoke (She/Her) & Kym (She/They)The dynamic duo, Kym Oliver & Jumoke Abdullahi, were frustrated with the lack of representation and unaddressed discrimination faced by Black and non-Black People of Colour living with disabilities, each and every day. With a focus on Women, Femmes & Non-Binary folks; they joined forces and created a platform to increase visibility & highlight the narratives of these “invisible populations, within an invisible population”!

With topical videos, spotlight interviews, workshops, talks & lectures on topics ranging from dating to travel, the loveable duo have gained steady recognition for their specialist insight & charisma. Featured on international platforms (BBC, AJ+, Vogue, Metro, The Voice, TV3), and consulted for their invaluable perspectives in both academic, political & corporate circles (NASA, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Disability Leadership Institute, WOW Foundation, Centenary Action Group, gal-dem & more). Multidisciplinary cognoscenti, Kym & Jumoke, are relentless in their pursuit to transform the outcomes of those here and yet to come!


Farzana (she/they) is Healing Justice Ldn’s Co-Founder and Executive Co-Director. Her practice works on building community health, repair and self-transformation rooted in disability justice, survivor work and trauma-informed practice working with communities of colour and other marginalised and underrepresented groups. Farzana has over 10 years of background in Youth and Community work particularly focused on arts-based education projects both in the UK and internationally. Farzana is the former creative and strategic director at Voices that Shake,bringing together young people, artists and campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice. She ran this working at Platform London, a climate and social justice organisation working across arts, education, research and activism.

Farzana is a Fellow at the International Curatorial Forum. Farzana’s recent curatorial practice/art includes launching the Black Cultural Black Activism Map with the Stuart Hall Foundation andAll Water Has Perfect Memory, writing on climate and gender justice and generational trauma & memory.


Will this event be recorded?

Yes. For anyone who can’t make it on the day, we will aim to make a subtitled recording available and will let people know once this is out.


Who can come to this event?

This event is open to all!


What do you mean by Somatics?

Here is a subtitled clip of Staci Haines from our previous event in the series, which explains what we mean by ‘Somatics’. Our framing of somatics is to support us to access/grow connection to our wholeness (as living organisms), connecting to disability justice through a lens of access intimacy & consent/interdependence. We believe somatics needs to be trauma informed and appropriately held, and avoid framings that assume it begins & ends with body work (which is limiting & linked to the colonial mind-body split). We hope to unpack & bring nuance to some of this during the event.


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