Today’s Google Doodle honors Stacey Park Milbern, a champion of the disability justice movement, as part of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
In the United States, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month is observed through the month of May and is intended to honor the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander to the country’s history. There’s no better recent example of the impact even a single person can have than Stacey Park Milbern.
Stacey Park Milbern was born on May 19, 1987, in Seoul, South Korea, and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Throughout her life, as memorialized by the New York Times, while Milbern was not opposed to accepting help from caregivers, she didn’t treat her differences and disabilities as something to keep her down, but as challenges to rise above.
Oftentimes, disabled people have the solutions that society needs
Stacey Park Milbern, in an interview with KQED
Growing up in North Carolina in a conservative family came with challenges of its own, especially for someone who identified as queer, as Milbern herself shared in an interview with The Atlantic. Instead, she set her sights on moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, knowing that the region was not only one of the most accessible areas in the country but also a hub for disabilities activism.
Milbern was especially interested in the disabilities justice movement, which focuses on bringing voices from a greater diversity of races, genders, and sexual orientations into discussions of disability.
Having moved to California around 2011, Stacey Park Milbern immediately set out to become part of the disabilities justice movement, while also working in human resources at a bank. Milbern quickly grew through to the forefront of the movement, even having been appointed by President Obama in 2014 to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
In 2017, Stacey Park Milbern was one of the many voices speaking out against proposed plans to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act that involved significant cuts to funding for those with disabilities, including for attendant support. Speaking from her own life experiences, Milbern shared how having an attendant was the only way she was able to go to work each day.
Then in 2020, as cases of COVID-19 rose across the United States and in the Bay Area, Milbern and her friends saw a dire need to help those who were homeless to stay safe. Together, they formed the “Disability Justice Culture Club,” and created kits with crucial supplies like masks and hand sanitizer to distribute in Oakland.
All the while, Milbern was dealing with a medical issue of her own awaiting the surgical removal of kidney cancer, with COVID-19 making it much more difficult to have procedures done. Tragically, Stacey Park Milbern died due to complications in her kidney surgery on May 19, 2020, her 33rd birthday.
The Doodle honoring Milbern was commissioned by Google from Art Twink, and it features a fantastically bold color palette, with elements inspired by Stacey Park Milbern’s life and activism.
If you want to share with anyone that you think it would support. You are cordially invited to our latest Med Talk: My Mental Health, featuring Trauma Care Chaplain Beyssa Buil, of The Grey Tea Kettle Chaplaincy Community Care & Support Thursday, May 26th, from 2-3 p.m.
This installment will expand on how the pandemic has impacted mental health providing strategies, insights and practices to support the healing of our communities.
Beyssa Buil's experience as a Chaplain/Pastoral Counselor ranges from working with individuals living with chronic health conditions, disability, hospice and trauma.
To RSVP visit: bit.ly/medtalk1
*This workshop is provided by the Enable Project: Center for Independent Living of South Florida, Inc. Catalyst Miami Center for Independent Living of South Florida, Inc. Advocacy Network on Disabilities Disability Independence Group, Inc.
The Power of Community and the Power that Women in Community have is unstoppable. Cultures that have matriarchy as the anchor of society have attributes that we should learn from. War would be abolished because the desire to acquire whether by force or or not is something that patriarchal structures have created. History has not shown us women going to burn villages, raping people, killing and colonizing.
Women from colonizer societies have participated in being a passive voice to these crimes. Let us lift our bondage in maintaining binaries of oppression.
Let us learn from the #GulabiGang and support our fellow sisters.
For the majority of my life I internalized anger. This means that the energy of anger was suppressed inwardly. (I can see how my immune system got activated to self destruct myself)
In our dysfunctional society- children being angry is not acceptable. Women being angry is not acceptable. As a person of color being angry is not acceptable
So I learned to code switch to not make people around me uncomfortable. Not get in trouble, not loose opportunities.
I began my meditation and embodiment practices to try and find how to channel this overwhelming feeling. I began therapy to have an outlet. I now am able to say NO, NO THANK YOU, DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID NO and Not feel an iota of guilt or discomfort.
Now when I feel anger I do express it outloud (context of being in Seminary and experiencing lots of BS politics) I laugh inwardly when I observe how people's reactions are in wanting me to be quiet but guess what I will express myself and when people can have a direct conversation about great then we can have dialogue otherwise my empath self won't care how many times you roll your eyes or gaslight me.
I understand that MS also makes an angrier human.
I have learned to transcend hangry because of the amounts of fasting I need to do get my system to decrease inflammation.
Companies, Organizations, Universities, Seminaries should require all employees to receive disabilities training alongside empathy training on how to speak and work with people with varying abilities and illnesses.
I had an Advisor (also a Military Chaplain) that would actually dismiss/patronize anything I would say to them, try to justify what my complaints were about which was essentially gaslighting. (I can see that in a military setting treating people with tough love though not my style could be quasi passable)
Looking back I wish I had a recording device each time I was put through this ordeal because this treatment was a major no no professionally speaking.
However, the point is we don't know what people are feeling inside and when we dismiss their experience and their pain because of your own discomfort then you really are not being part of the solution.
I really hope this will inform people to be a lot kinder to others.
Learning to feel my feelings has helped me in being able to be with others in their feelings.
making friends with your prickly anger is the first step towards coping