“Speechless” – ABC’s new Fall Comedy Focuses on Disability

I'll admit, this one got me kind of excited and laughing. As ABC is rolling out its promos for its new upcoming shows and comedies, I happened to catch the trailer for "Speechless," a new half-hour sitcom slated for the Fall 2016 schedule. It's described as: "Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver) is a mother who is willing to do anything for her family. Her son, JJ (Michah Fowler) has cerebral palsy and she will fight for justice in order to give him what he deserves."They manage to fit in most every … [Read more...]

Virginia’s Former First Lady Argues Basement Entrance for Disabled People

Over in the great state of Virginia where I live, I was angered to read this news today about the ruckus being raised by old Virginians over Gov. Terry McAuliffe's plan to build a wheelchair ramp at the Virginia Executive Mansion. When people say that installing a wheelchair ramp is tantamount to defacing a historical building, when former first ladies argue that a ramp will "needlessly threaten" the historical look of a mansion - well that's a major problem. Since when does aesthetics trump … [Read more...]

Why We Share – The Power of Our Disability/Different-Ability Narratives

This past weekend I had the honor of moderating what I thought was the most important panel at the 52nd Annual Islamic Society of North American convention. Our panel was title "Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change," and featured Inshirah Aleem, an author and woman living with bipolar disorder, Safiyyah Amina Muhammad, a mom to five and fierce autism advocate/community leader, Sara Minkara, founder of Empowerment Through Integration, an … [Read more...]

ISNA Disability Narratives – Being a Voice for Advocacy and Change

This post is part of a short series of disability narratives shared by the speakers and moderator (me!), who will be part of a panel discussion on “Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change” this Saturday at the Islamic Society of North America convention. We’re hoping to show how sharing our stories is a way to build community and change perceptions.By Safiyyah Amina MuhammadI feel that my story is a compelling share because, out of the f … [Read more...]

ISNA Disability Narratives: A Purpose to Why God Created You As You Are

This post is part of a short series of disability narratives shared by the speakers and moderator (me!), who will be part of a panel discussion on "Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change" this Saturday at the Islamic Society of North America convention. We're hoping to show how sharing our stories is a way to build community and change perceptions.By Sara MinkaraRed. Yellow. Green. Orange—all the colors of fall that many of us look fo … [Read more...]

Engaging v. Disengaging: When Working With ISNA Means the Push for Women-Friendly Mosques

It’s a debate I’ve watched from the sidelines for several years within the American Muslim community.When organizations (or the government agencies or administrations) are making missteps, deliberately harming or are simply and woefully behind the times when it comes to positive engagement and necessary progress, is better to disengage (even boycott), or is it better to constructively criticize and work from within the system – and thereby risk being lumped with some of those missteps – to af … [Read more...]

Embracing (and Including) Autism and Special Needs Families in Muslim Communities

The day after speaking at the 50th annual Islamic Society of North American conference in Washington, D.C., I was back at home in my basement hanging with Lil D. He was roaming about, spinning his beads and calling “Maw-maw! Maw-maw! Maw-maw” – very much caught up in his stim and oblivious to the world. Every so often he stopped and would come close to me, put his face in mine and say nonsensical words like “Oweeowee owee. Maw-maw! Maw-maw!”As if to say – ok Mamma, you had an audience, you sa … [Read more...]


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