March 24th, 2023
HF 1502 Sencer-Mura / SF 1476 Kunesh
Dear Committee Chairs and Chief Authors,
On behalf of the Minnesota Council on Disability, I am writing to express our strong support for including disability as part of the definitions of intersectional identities introduced in the ethnic studies requirements in bill HF1502/SF1476, in section 4, subdiv. 1, 4.28-4.33. As an organization that advocates for the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, we believe that recognizing disability as an intersectional identity is critical to achieving greater equity and inclusion in our education system.
[120B.025] ETHNIC STUDIES.
“Ethnic studies” means the critical and interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and perspectives of people of color within and beyond the United States. Ethnic studies analyzes the ways in which race and racism have been and continue to be powerful social, cultural, and political forces, and the connection of race to other groups of stratification, including gender, class, disability, sexuality, religion, and legal status.
Gender, class, race, and other social aspects heavily intersect with having a disability, and these intersections can often compound the discrimination and marginalization experienced by people with disabilities. By including disability as part of the definitions of intersectional identities in the ethnic studies’ social studies requirements, we can help to raise awareness about the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. This will provide an opportunity to educate students about the history of disability rights and the ongoing struggle for disability justice. By recognizing disability as an integral part of our society, we can help to break down stereotypes and promote greater understanding and acceptance of individuals with disabilities.
Furthermore, the inclusion of disability in the ethnic studies requirements aligns with the principles of intersectionality, which recognizes that individuals experience multiple forms of oppression and discrimination based on their various identities. By acknowledging the intersecting identities of individuals with disabilities, we can work towards creating a more just and equitable society that values and respects the diversity of all people.
In conclusion, we strongly urge you to support the inclusion of “disability” as part of the definitions of intersectional identities introduced in the ethnic studies requirements in bill HF1502/SF1476, in section 4, subdiv. 1, 4.28-4.33. This is a critical step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable education system that values and celebrates the diversity of all individuals.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Public Policy Director