CfDC Minutes — February 13, 2018

ATTENDING: Kathleen Mozak-Betts, Mina Ajam, Jason Apap, Sue Bade (BlueJeans), Jane Berliss-Vincent, Chun-Han Chen, Natalie Nordby Chen (minutes), Gina Choe (Pipedown Campaign), Dessa Cosmo (Detroit Disability Justice), Bonnie Dede, Jeff Edelstein, John Hagen, Libby Hunter (Pipedown Campaign), Janet Keller, Christina Kline, Els Nieuwenhuijsen, Feranmi Okanlami (Dr. O.), Stephanie Rosen (Chair), Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, Brandon Werner, Tracy Wright, and Fred Wurtzel (BlueJeans)


With construction on the Michigan Union beginning in May, there will not be an accessible route from the Union to the current meeting space. Let Stephanie Rosen know if you are aware of other suitable locations for CfDC meetings.

Jeff is investigating the potential of building a disability cultural center at UM. If you are interested in this endeavor, contact him at

See Jeff’s email regarding College While Disabled. Jeff is serving as ad hoc UM liaison. As such, he is coordinating written, video, and other submissions. The project is especially interested in the intersectionality of disability with other social categorizations.

On this topic, it was suggested that we view the UM-made film, "You Can Quote Me on That," regarding the experiences of students with disabilities. View on youtube.


Representatives from two local advocacy groups presented to the Council.

Dessa Cosma, Detroit Disability Justice

Dessa has been involved as a social justice worker and advocacy for a number of causes, including economic, reproductive, racial, and LGBTQ. Within these organizations, she often finds herself the only person identifying as disabled.

So she started doing radical disability justice organizing, and is devoting this year to creating this league which is dedicated to building power for disability communities. Power, she noted, is the ability to get things done. If the disability community is powerful enough, it will become a sought-after constituency and provide a stronger influence in public policy.

Two main strategies to build power for people with disabilities:

  1. Make sure other movements (racial, LGBTQ, etc.) are inclusive of their members with disabilities. Politically and marginalized groups can and should work together; this broadens stories and narratives of those included. People have multiple identities: one may identify as disabled, female, queer, Christian, etc.
  2. Disability groups (those focusing on a single disability, such as mobility or vision) need to be purposefully intersectional in building the movement. This allows the building of power across issues, and provides a stronger voice.

Dessa is currently interviewing disability justice leaders across the country, and will be compiling this work into a book which will be available in a couple of years. In addition, she is building a disability justice organization in the Detroit area. This is an intersectional group, with an advisory board, to receive Ford Foundation funding. The structure of the organization is still in development. If interested, contact Dessa at

Gina Choe & Libby Hunter, Quiet Ann Arbor: Creating Sanctuary from Piped Music

The Piped Down movement started in the UK, in an effort to create quiet space, free from ambient music. Quiet Ann Arbor shares these goals locally.

People negatively impacted by background music (BGM) include those with PTSD, ADHD, post-concussion syndrome, hearing aids, and others. Many of these individuals find it difficult to focus or carry on conversations in such environments, limiting both employment and enjoyment opportunities.

Quiet Ann Arbor suggests initiating a “quiet hour” in some shopping centers and other public spaces to better serve those negatively affected by BGM.

If you are interested in joining the effort, or finding more information, visit their website,

Closing Remarks

Christina Kline summarized the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR-620), which is up for vote on Thursday. This act would limit people from taking legal action against entities that are not accessible. Christine distributed a document detailing the myths and truths concerning this act.

Next meeting will be on March 13th at noon in the Regents Conference Room, Fleming Building.

Natalie Nordby Chen prepared these minutes.

Questions/additions/corrections to: <schnitzr at>