September 18, 2023

Day 1: Disability – Concept & Identity

| CHALLENGE | DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 |

Before we begin…

Welcome, community members! Before we dive into the Racial Justice Challenge, let’s take a moment to reflect on the power of knowledge, empathy, and collective action.

At YWCA Spokane, we believe understanding and addressing racial injustice starts with education, introspection, and open dialogue. Our Racial Justice Challenge is designed to be a catalyst for change, an opportunity to explore, learn, and grow together as a community.

Let’s be curious, compassionate, and ready to take meaningful steps toward a more just and equitable society. Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process, a journey that requires commitment and willingness to challenge our own perspectives.

What To Expect

The Racial Justice Challenge is accessible at anytime to anyone interested in learning more about racial equity and social justice and examining these issues in our own communities. This 10-day virtual learning series offers daily prompts that will be shared via email as well as on our website. Each challenge will dive into a topic and provide articles, videos, and/or podcasts to check out. It is also designed to encourage reflection on your own personal experiences.

Businesses have the opportunity to engage employees, customers, and stakeholders in important conversations about race, inequality, and injustice. Participating in this Challenge demonstrates an alignment with corporate values, benefits the workforce, and contributes to a more equitable Spokane that we all deserve. Learn about how the Challenge provides a unique and transformative opportunity for businesses to engage in dismantling systemic racism, fostering inclusivity, and driving positive societal change.


What’s Included
  • Resources to expand one’s learning journey
  • Localized content included, covering 4 key topics of disability, housing, mental health, and music
  • Ways to take action related to each topic
  • Additional resources:
  • (2) virtual discussion sessions at the end of each week
  • (1) in-person post-challenge gathering to discuss takeaways and gather feedback
  • Custom debrief sessions for businesses or groups going through the Challenge together

    (Please email if your group is interested in this additional offering.)

Don’t forget to tell your friends, family, and colleagues to join the YWCA Spokane Racial Justice Challenge at!

We hope you are ready to create a better future, together

Conceptualizing Disability

To advance equity for all, we must understand numerous social identities and their impacts on individuals, families, communities, organizations, and society at large. In this challenge, we focus on building an understanding of disability, a social identity. This understanding must be integrated into an intersectional framework that emphasizes the ways in which individual social identities intersect and overlap, and the impact of these intersections.

Consider how you define disability. You’re not alone if you found this challenging. People often think about disability as a medical diagnosis, health condition, or set of symptoms.

A more robust definition used by the CDC emphasizes that disability has three dimensions: impairment, activity limitation, and participation restrictions.

How we define and think about disability more broadly has tangible impacts on our lives and our world. Models of disability provide frameworks that can help us understand our ways of thinking and consider how our conceptualization of disability impacts personal actions, organizations, and systems.

There are many models of disability. Arguably, the three most dominant are the moral, medical, and social models of disability. A major difference between models of disability is the meaning of disability, namely whether disability is a deficit or a social construct describing human diversity.

Disability Pride & the disabled community

The social model of disability nourished the disability pride movement, which is characterized by disabled people understanding, valuing, and connecting with their disabled identity.

The disabled community is expansive and internally diverse. There are many types of disabilities; a single type of disability can impact different people in different ways; and the ways in which one disability impacts one person can change over time. Additionally, the disabled community includes individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexualities, religions, birthplaces, and living places.

Disability pride is growing within the community, even as ongoing ableist oppression and discrimination continues. To learn more about Disability Pride in Spokane, check out our Pathways Forward event with Inland Northwest Disability Experience here.


5 Minutes


10 Minutes


45 Minutes

Image of a grey clock with text that says, "5 minutes" and Image of a grey clock with text that says, "10 minutes" and

of Imani Barbarin, who shares her journey towards self-acceptance & how she advocates for greater inclusivity & understanding of disability.


that discusses 3 models that underlie assumptions about disability, highlighting the need to shift away from a medical model.


about a mother-daughter duo that share the same physical disability as they talk about their relationship & their journey into activism.


Additional resources:

YWCA USA Disability Justice Report



Take a moment to reflect today’s challenge and any insights you experienced.

  • Download and complete the full Racial Justice Challenge Reflection template here.
    • Questions to consider:
      • What feelings or emotions did I notice while completing today’s challenge?
      • What did I learn? (This could be a new concept, idea, or word.)
      • Why is this topic/subject important?
      • What behaviors and beliefs do I want to let go of?
  • Consider sharing any parts of this challenge with a friend or group to help deepen your understanding of the information.
  • Join us Friday 9/22 at noon via Zoom for a Week 1 debrief session.

    Meeting link:

    Meeting ID: 849 2722 6372

    Passcode: letmein

  • Continue the conversation online and connect with others by joining our Racial & Social Justice Facebook group.

Just joining the Racial Justice Challenge? Register and find the previous days here. Please take the pre-challenge survey – it will help prepare your mind and body to dive into these racial and social topics and provide us valuable feedback for future challenges.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. (2020). Disability and health overview.

Disabled World. (2023). Disability pride: Definition, awareness, flag. Disabled World.

Olkin, R. (2002). Could you hold the door for me? Including disability in diversity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8(2), 130.

Rajkumar, S. (2022). How to talk about disability sensitively and avoid ABLEIST tropes. NPR.

Rogard, K. R. (2020). How disability pride fights ableism. Psychology Today.

Day 1 is authored in collaboration with Mia, a disabled community member. Graphic design by Lara Estaris.

Racial Equity work is consistently underfunded. Make a powerful statement in the fight for racial and social justice. Your contribution directly supports initiatives that promote equality, combat discrimination, and empower individuals and communities. Together, we can create a more inclusive and just world for all. Join us in making a difference today!


Special thanks to our mission partners




and and


If you would like to learn more about partnering with YWCA Spokane in support of this Racial Justice Challenge, please contact Erica Schreiber, Director of Community Engagement via email or via phone at 509-789-8275.

| CHALLENGE | DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6 | DAY 7 | DAY 8 | DAY 9 | DAY 10 |

By: Lara Estaris

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