Image description: A smiling Stacey Park holding a black and white sign that says “CHERISHED.” This image is attributed to Max Airborne. The below text is from a Facebook post on May 20, 2020.
In 2009, I was introduced to Stacey Park‘s work via her blog written under the handle “Crip Chick.” I wasn’t really an *out* disabled person at the time. I didn’t know anything about disability other than my very personal sense of disabled identity, which included sprinklings shame, isolation, and frustration — feelings that were hard to shake despite personal achievement.
It would take 5+ more years for me to discover the bigger, broader, historic world of disability through disability studies. But I can clock my transformation to the seed placed in me by Stacey. Without that seed, my identity couldn’t have been nurtured and watered by dozens of others in the disability community.
One of her ideas, that has stuck with me for 10 years, is her question: “Why do we always interact with each other in a social work-y way? Why do we think this is a program?” This life … it’s not a program. My life, it’s not a program. Our disabled lives are bigger, fuller, messier, uglier and more beautiful than we ever imagined. Stacey gave me this. She gave me a vision of what was available to me, through finding my people.
One time I saw her having lunch with a friend in a cafe in Oakland, and I was too shy to say hello. Because she was a celebrity. And I didn’t want to interrupt her lunch.
Recently, I was tracking and learning from her work on mutual aid. And admiring her stance on the rights of people with disabilities to receive care during a pandemic. Again, she’s been guiding me. And again, I’m less alone.
My life is 100X better because of Stacey, and her blog, and her activism, and her vision, and her sense of community. I’m so sad she’s gone. And I’m so sad that I’ll never have the opportunity to interrupt her lunch like a giddy fan girl. Much love to all who loved her.