Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Disability Culture

This page is focused on ongoing initiatives within PCC related to Disability Culture. It features information on the monthly student facilitated Town Halls that kicked off in July 2020, as well as opportunities for engagement, and resources to learn more.

What is Disability Culture?

This article from Disability Studies explores definitions of disability culture with quotes from around the world. 

See the disability history exhibit to learn more about how the treatment of people with disabilities has shifted over time, or check out our presentation on Understanding Disability: Stereotypes, Bias, and Microaggressions for examples of how ableism continues to show up today.

Read the classic written piece that has come to be known as spoon theory.

Creating space for disabled artists to express themselves, and see themselves, is an important part of disability culture. Check out Sins Invalid: An Unshamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility

“Sins Invalid is a disability justice based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ / gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized.”

What are Disability Cultural Centers?

This special article from the Association on Higher Education and Disability provides good context on the creation of disability cultural centers at colleges and universities.

Here at PCC we have student leaders and employees who are working to make the case for dedicated space and staffing that is akin to the other Identity Based Resource Centers.

Disability and Accessibility Advocate Positions

The Accessible Education & Disability Resources team includes student advocate positions. These positions are  held by students or alums who experience disability and want to work together to create programming such as the Town Hall Meetings, and the Accessibility First Employment Week. Advocates often collaborate with our professional staff, as well as with the staff and student leaders from the Equity Based Education Centers.

What are the Town Hall Meetings?

These events are student led, with support of the Committee for an Accessible College Culture. They began with a conversation around Disability Cultural Centers in an initial town hall meeting that was held on July 29th, 2020. Monthly meetings have followed and the 2021-2022 lineup has included a range of topics. Details will continue to be populated on the calendar available on www.pcc.edu/accessibility

Interpreting and Captions are provided at these Town Hall meetings.  Presentation materials are attached to the calendar invitations. Any questions about the town halls can be directed to Patricia Kepler by emailing patricia.kepler@pcc.edu.

Petition and College Response

In 2022, a PCC student created a petition to create a Disability Cultural Center at Portland Community College. Embracing Disability Culture and making space for disabled voices was already a priority for the Accessible Education and Disability Resources team, promoting disability culture was already a key priority for the Inclusion through Accessibility Steering and Action Committee that makes recommendations to cabinet. Student Affairs leaders also came together to share this response to the petition, that provides a summary of ongoing conversations and commitments.