Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice is a collection of essays by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha published in 2018. It is an influential text for disability advocates and all people working to overcome systems of oppression.
People’s fear of accessing care didn’t come out of nowhere. It came out of generations and centuries where needed care meant being locked up, losing your human and civil rights, and being subject to abuse. – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
“In their new, long-awaited collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime disability justice activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centres the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all. Leah writes passionately and personally about creating spaces by and for sick and disabled queer people of colour, and creative “collective access” — access not as a chore but as a collective responsibility and pleasure — in our communities and political movements. Bringing their survival skills and knowledge from years of cultural and activist work, Piepzna-Samarasinha explores everything from the economics of queer femme emotional labour, to suicide in queer and trans communities, to the nitty-gritty of touring as a sick and disabled queer artist of colour.
Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of colour are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a toolkit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.” Source: Publisher’s website
It’s not about self-care – it’s about collective care. Collective care means shifting our organizations to be ones where people feel fine if they get sick, cry, have needs, start late because the bus broke down, more slower, ones where there’s food at meetings, people work from home – and these aren’t things we apologize for. – Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Please note this book contains heavy themes around suicide, suicide ideation, abuse and trauma.
Access the book:
- Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Publisher: Arsenal Pulp
- Ebook version (Ebooks)
- Ebook version (Dymocks)
- Audio version (Audible)
- Audio version (Google play)
- Listen to sample
- Preview book
- Borrow a copy from a public library near you (Worldcat)
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Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha gives an author reading and discussion of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice at The Disability and Intersectionality Summit 2018 National conference (DIS2018), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA.
“This episode is on care work with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, a writer, cultural worker, teacher, and trainer based in the Pacific Northwest. Leah will discuss her recent book that came out in October 2018 titled, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. We talked last fall about the meaning of care work and disability justice and how people practice both in their everyday lives. Please note, throughout the interview, the term DJ refers to disability justice.” Source
About the Author
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a nonbinary femme autistic disabled writer, space creator and disability and transformative justice movement worker of Burgher and Tamil Sri Lankan, Irish and Galician/Roma ascent. They are the author or co-editor of ten books, including The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs, Beyond Survival; Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (co-edited with Ejeris Dixon), Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Bodymap, Bridge of Flowers, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, Bodymap, and The Revolution Starts At Home.
A Lambda Award winner who has been shortlisted for the Publishing Triangle five times, she is the winner of Lambda’s 2020 Jean Cordova Award “honoring a lifetime of work documenting the complexities of queer of color/disabled/femme experience.” They are a 2020-2021 Disability Futures Fellow and a member of the YBCA 105. Since 2009, they have been a lead performer with disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid; since 2020 they have been on the programming committee of the Disability and Intersectionality Summit.
Raised in Worcester/rust belt central Massachusetts and shaped by Toronto/T’karonto and Oakland, they are currently at work building Living Altars/The Stacey Park Milbern Liberation Arts Center, a disabled QTBIPOC writers space and accessible writers retreat for disabled BIPOC creators. They are a haggard porch and couch witch and a very unprofessional adaptive trike rider.
- Moving at the Speed of Trust: Disability Justice and Transformative Justice
- Disability Justice Links
- Lessons from the Disability Justice Movement
- Insights from Disability Campaigning from El Gibbs and Elly Desmarchelier