Meet Elizabeth Kamundia, Disability Rights Scholar

Published on Jun 28, 2013

Elizabeth Kamundia is a lawyer working on disability rights in Kenya. Through Open Society's Disability Rights Scholarship Program, she studied disability law at the National University of Ireland Galway and graduated in 2012. She was awarded a gold medal for excellence after finishing at the top of her class.

Kamundia's journey into the field of disability rights began in 2005 when she started learning sign language. As her understanding of the challenges facing people with disabilities in Kenya grew, so did her dedication to the field. "No matter where they live, no matter where they come from," she says, "everybody wants to be able to have choice in their lives."

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The Aurora Foundation's Vision of Social Change

Our vision for social change involves a multi-tiered and intersectional focus on social justice advocacy, education, policymaking, and community building to work together as partners in social change.

We reach out to our community and partners, governments and agencies, all people with disabilities as well those without disabilities to work together in advocating for inclusion, equity, and access.

Together, we pursue policies to bring about disability justice, and design a just and welcoming society where everyone is fully included with access to abundant opportunities to achieve their potential.

We educate and encourage re-thinking among those who build physical spaces, provide medical care, offer entertainment, make choices in hiring, and with embedded negative attitudes, stigma, and unfounded beliefs about ‘disability.’

We advocate to and with people without disabilities to reframe attitudes, beliefs, and language about disability.

We work with local policymakers as they consider legislation to remove barriers of bias that affect people with disabilities.

We see our disability social justice work as part of the larger social justice movement that pushes back against the inequitable and unjust power structures that bias and devalue human complexity and diversity. While disability social justice is our primary focus, we maintain a constant awareness of how the physical and attitudinal barriers faced by people with disabilities are part of the same system that perpetuates racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, classism, and xenophobia.

Here are other expressions of our values, goals and ideals:

The Aurora Foundations's Vision Statement: We envision a community that advocates for the inclusion, equity, and access for citizens with disabilities. It is key to empowering individuals to fulfill their potential, improve quality of life, and lead healthy lifestyles.

The Aurora Foundations's Mission Statement: Engaging community action for disability justice.

The Aurora Foundation's Value Proposition:

1. We are the leader in disability justice programs and initiatives in Arizona.
2. We collaborate in advocating for disability justice.
3. We enable others to understand the role disability justice plays in strengthening our community.

2014 is an exciting year!

We renew efforts to break through the status quo with three new initiatives. They join existing programs in promoting and expanding advocacy for disability justice. Plus, the initiatives connect stakeholder groups and policy-makers to the complex yet solvable issues confronting disabled persons.

Initiative 1. 10 Best Ideas for Disability Justice is an online, biannual journal launching January-February 2014. 10 Best Ideas for Disability Justice seeks Calls for Papers that examine the social, economic, political, and cultural determinants affecting chronic, adverse outcomes for individuals with disabilities. We challenge authors to submit innovative, bold, pragmatic ideas to everyday critical issues confronting disabled individuals and pragmatic policy solutions to the issues. The journal seeks papers at both national and international levels. Policymakers, leaders in the nonprofit disability community, research and academic professionals in higher education, and individuals with disabilities are primary audiences. Read more...

Initiative 2. Community Making a Difference: Roundtable Discussion Series calls on key stakeholders to gather and confront, discuss and take action that ensures social, political, economic, and cultural inclusion and equity plus unfettered access to resources for the most marginalized group in our nation and community -- people with disabilities. At the table are representatives of key stakeholder groups, those who are affected by the issues and those who have contributed to shaping the issue. Read more...

Initiative 3. Telling My Story, Sharing My Life -- A Storytelling Workshop Series reflects Aurora’s advocacy mission, to advocate not only for disability justice but also for and with people with disabilities to be powerful advocates for disability justice - their justice. Advocacy for issues and actions that are most important to the advocate lies in her or his personal story and how it is crafted, delivered, and relevant to the issue at hand. Read more...

Featured Resource

We Connect Now

We Connect Now is a website that serves college students with disabilities. We recently received this message from the site's founder: Dear … [Read More...]