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School of Social Work, 23rd Annual Social Justice Conference: Keynote Speaker

23rd Annual Social Justice Conference

Our Experiences, Our Truths:
Understanding the Intersectional Lives of Disabled People

Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Founder and CEO of Ramp Up Your Voice!   


Description: When it comes to the largest minority group in the United States and the world, our experiences cannot be overlooked. This exclusion and erasure is especially harmful to the lives of disabled people of color, who are living intersectional lives that must be told fully to capture the unique barriers and triumphs that exist. Centering the experiences of disabled people of color, particularly Black disabled people, is imperative so that freedom and liberation can become reality. As Black disabled Ancestor Fannie Lou Hamer is infamously known to have stated, “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” The injustices we dismantle will be successful once solidarity leads the work that we are determined to do. That solidarity and work must include disabled people of color; no exceptions or excuses will suffice.


  • Overview of disability history and disability justice
  • Tackling disability from an intersectional lens
  • Discussion and detailing how individuals, groups, and entities can be more intentional by including disability and disabled people of color in every aspect of freedom fighting and liberation.

Selected Publications and Professional Activity


Thompson, V. (2019). How Technology Is Forcing the Disability Rights Movement into the 21st CenturyCatalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience5(1), 1-5.

Thompson, Vilissa.  (2016, May 5). Black Disabled Woman Syllabus. Ramp Your Voice!

Ramp Your Voice Blog   

Thompson, V. (2020, October 10).  Disability, Slavery, & The Call to #PickUpUnderground

Twitter handles:





keynote speaker

Photo Vilissa Thompson, LMSW Founder and CEO Ramp Your Voice

Vilissa Thompson is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) from Winnsboro, SC.  Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization focused on promoting self-advocacy and strengthening empowerment among disabled people. Being a Disability Rights Consultant, Writer, & Activist affords Vilissa the opportunity to be a prominent leader and expert in addressing and educating the public and political figures about the plight of disabled people, especially Black women and femmes with disabilities.