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Ashley Votruba


Embracing the New Year and Reflecting on Ableism

Ashley M. Votruba, J.D., Ph.D., University of Nebraska - Lincoln

It seems nearly unbelievable that in a few short days we will be ringing in 2020. Now that my course is complete and grades are turned in, I finally have time to reflect on what an amazing year 2019 has been. I am grateful for the time I’ve spent engaged in research, the wonderful students I work with, and the relationships I have built and nourished throughout the year. I also find myself reflecting on the policy related work SPSSI has advanced and the wonderful contributions The Forward has received. I sincerely thank everyone who has contributed this year. With this reflection, I also find myself excited by all of the possibilities of 2020!

As we reflect on 2019 in this issue of The Forward, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight issues surrounding ableism, and the Journal of Social Issues (JSI) that focuses on the topic. We have asked a number of contributors to provide brief synopses of their empirical articles and the implications for policy. This issue of The Forward includes the following:

The JSI special issue titles Ableism was edited by Kathleen R. Bogart and Dana S. Dunn. They provide an overview of the topic and themes of the special issue in this edition. Read their article here.

Michelle R. Nario-Redmond highlights the article titled Hostile, Benevolent, and Ambivalent Ableism: Contemporary Manifestations. In this article, the authors examined narratives from individuals with a variety of disabilities to identify the different types of ableism they experienced. Read her article here.

Rebecca E. Young discusses the article The Subtle Side of Stigma: Understanding and Reducing Mental Illness Stigma from a Contemporary Prejudice Perspective. In her discussion she considers implicit forms of ableism toward mental illness and the implications for social policy. Read her article here.

Carlyn O. Mueller provides an overview of Disability: Missing from the Conversation of Violence, which considers three major reports that examine violence as it relates to disability. The goal of the article is to better understand the discourse surrounding violence and disabled people. Read her article here.

Joan M. Ostrove, Madeleine Kornfeld, and Marium Ibrahim focused on non-disabled allies in Actors against Ableism? Qualities of Nondisabled Allies from the Perspective of People with Physical Disabilities. They discuss six themes that characterize non-disabled people who could be considered “allies” according to their participants with a variety of physical disabilities. Read their article here.

In our final contribution from the JSI special issue, Carla Branco, Miguel R. Ramos, and Miles Hewstone discuss their article, The Association of Group-Based Discrimination with Health and Well-Being: A Comparison of Ableism with Other “Isms”. In this article, they seek to understand the impact of social and socio-psychological determinants on the health and well-being of disabled people. Read their article here.

In addition to highlighting the JSI special issue, SPSSI’s Policy Director, Sarah Mancoll, offers an overview of disability policy in 2020. With the 30th anniversary of the ADA approaching, she highlights the SPSSI’s sponsored congressional seminar on ableism that took place in November. Read her article here.

This edition of The Forward, we also feature some of the other amazing work by SPSSI members. Linda Silka discusses a preconference workshop put on by the Social Policy Committee that brought in the Scholar Strategy Network (SSN). Attendees from this conference have already placed op-eds inspired by the preconference. Read her article here.

NiCole Buchanan, Dionne Stephens, and Kim Case discuss the #Research2Share free webinar series Putting Digital and Social Media Spaces to Work for Your Career. This series focuses on using digital platforms as an inexpensive, yet impactful, way to disseminate your work to academics and non-academics. Read their article here.

Maya Godbole and David Livert provided an update on the SPSSI UN Committee activities, including a workshop led by the SPSSI UN NGO team at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science, Technology, and Human Rights Conference in October in Washington D.C. Read their article here.

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