Jerome Ellis is an Afro-Carribean composer, musician and writer whose recent performance at the Poetry Project's House Party became a feature story, Time Bandit, within the This American Life audio broadcast (transcript). Both he and Sean Cane unpack how essential and shared the support for accommodation can be for people with disabilities. We encourage you to take a moment and explore more through the links.
His inspiration for the performance: An author was essentially mocking a Brazilian law that supported people with speech disabilities, enabling accommodation. The conversation goes beyond his performance and becomes a deeper dive into his lived experience and how community engagement, as a support of accommodation and inclusion, matters. The performance is supplemented with Poetry Project's transCRIPted, which is Jerome Ellis's illumination of the softer and subtler audio portions of the presentation.
He quotes Black feminist Kimberle' Crenshaw "Treating different things the same can generate as much an inequality as treating the same things differently" which is fully relevant for BIPOC experiences, and also extends for the inclusion of people with disabilities via accommodation. Inclusion occurs with accessible design, universal design, and accommodation. He reached out to the event organizer - UMBC has robust options as well for people with disabilities.
Accessibility and Disability Services and Student Disability Services work in partnership with the campus departments and event organizers to support equal access via design as well as accommodation. We understand Jerome Ellis' frustration when people are thoughtless about how essential accommodation can be.
Disability can occur at any time, and we remind the campus of the following resources and online processes:
- Student Disability Services (department link) works with academic accommodations for all students and links to Accommodate on the home page.
- How to register and use the 24/7 Student Accommodate system (link)
We encourage our entire UMBC community to be more familiar with these campus resources, and to engage with these offices for a deeper understanding of how people with disabilities are included at UMBC, including raising awareness about a concern by, or on behalf of, a person with a disability.
More on Jerome Ellis is linked here.
A close-up photo of a wired stage microphone accompanies the post.