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.— Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice
Summary and Thoughts
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all.
Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit 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.
This is a dense read – the kind of book you buy because you’ll be returning to it time and time again. Though I was able to devour this collection of essays on disability activism within a few days, I knew that some of the knowledge Piepzna-Samarasinha offered would require multiple rereads for it to fully absorb into my brain, haha. In any case, this was a fantastic introduction to disability justice and how it’s visible in contemporary settings while also putting LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people in front and centered. The language is intensive as are the theories, activist strategies, and histories explored, so perhaps this may not be a great introduction if you’re unfamiliar with ANY activism writing, but I’d still keep this on your radar regardless. For me, this is a memorable, well-written text full of great analyses on the intersections of disability in self-care, care webs, performance/art, and survivorship. I’m so glad to add this to my bookshelf!
For Those Who Enjoyed
- Invisible Women: How Young Women with Serious Health Issues Navigate Work, Relationships, and the Pressure to Seen Just Fine by Michele Lent Hirsch
- Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery
- The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Reese Taylor
- The Pretty One by Keah Brown