Webinar - Amplifying the Voices of Black Disabled People Abroad

 Black and red fist raised with neurodiversity symbol next to text that reads Black Disabled Lives Matter
February 23, 2021

For Black History Month, the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) invited a panel of black, disabled international exchange alumni to share their international exchange experiences and offer considerations to educators when planning for access and inclusion to students from dually marginalized identities. Their stories will impact future access and inclusion planning for international exchange practitioners and empower more black, disabled students to take their rightful place in international exchange.

We are grateful to have collaborated with Howard University and to have had Maraina Montgomery, Assistant Director for Study Abroad in the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, at Howard University as moderator for the webinar. 

Also follow: #StudyAbroadSoBlack #BlackDisabledLivesMatter 

Text: #StudyAbroadSoBlack


Gillian Giles a non binary black person with short  afro hair and a septum ring looking straight forward. They are in front of a grey wall and are wearing a light blue collared shirt with stripes.

"Gillian Giles (They/Them) is a 23 year old Sarah Lawrence graduate from unceded Niswi-mishkodewinan Land (Chicago). They are most known for their writing on topics ranging from disability, racism and travel, which has been featured in The Body is not an Apology, The Black Youth Project and IES Abroad. Gillian has been a featured panelist for the Massachusetts and the Carceral State Conference at Harvard Laws School as a representative Decolonize Media Collective who was able to accomplish one of the only college private prison divestment campaigns in the country. After having the privilege be able to travel to Amsterdam to study gender, society and culture. Gillian dreams of a future where more black disabled people have access to opportunity to travel, study and work internationally."

Profile photo of bropwn woman sitting in a wheelchair smiling wearing a red blazer and black dress with white polka dots.

"Johileny Meran (She/Her/s) is a Program Coordinator with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, working to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange. As an intern with the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD), Johileny worked at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in emergency response and preparedness. A Dominican immigrant and native Spanish speaker, Johileny has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Public Health with a minor in Disability Studies from New York University (NYU), having been motivated to pursue an international disability rights career after experiencing “accessibility shock” during a visit to her home country.  She studied abroad at NYU London, England as a Global Equity Fellow, where she was tasked with improving resources for diversity, equity and inclusion.  Based on this experience, Johileny created a “London Access Culture Guide '' to inform students with disabilities how access in London compared to NYC. Johileny enjoys adaptive sports like indoor rock climbing, scuba diving, sled (ice) hockey and writing poetry."

 Profile photo of black man smiling wearing white shirt and black lipstick.

"D'Arcee Charington Neal (He/They) is a professional storyteller, and 2nd year doctoral student at The Ohio State University in English and Disability Studies, focusing on the intersections of black digital media and disabled erasure within Afrofuturism. With a double Masters in Creative Writing and Rhetorical Composition, through the lens of audionarratology, he works to tell stories of the Afrophantasmic, or black disabled people who exist as ghosts within the community as both a power and a problem; while critically analyzing digital blackface and ableism across popular culture. However when not theorizing about black techno-agency, he works as a disability and writing consultant, and professional speaker for clients like Uber, The World Bank, The Ford Foundation, and many non-profits. Ultimately, as a queer disabled digital griot, he believes that the future can and should be both, accessible, and in Wakanda, forever."


Profile photo of a black woman standing outdoors smiling wearing a blazer with arms crossed.

"Maraina Montgomery (She/Her/s) is the Assistant Director for Study Abroad in the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center, at Howard University. As an international education practitioner-scholar, she actively publishes and contributes to the work of NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, Diversity Abroad, The PIE, and for the past four years has sat on the Academic Advisory Board for a study abroad provider. She ongoingly works to decentralize US ethnocentric practices within her own Ed Abroad work, amplify the experiences of minoritized/HBCU students, and advocate for greater Access, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AIDE)  for all students with an interest in study abroad. Since 2016, the hashtag ‘StudyAbroadSoBlack’ is the brand she uses to empower, call to action, and celebrate the impact of education abroad as a social justice practice at Howard University/HBCUs and throughout the field of Education Abroad.  Increasingly, her research and practice create an intersection between ecotherapy and study abroad. Maraina is co-chair of the Forum on Education Abroad’s TCU, CC, HBCU, MSI working group and an International Career Advancement (ICAP) fellow, and Forum fellow."

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange is a project of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, designed to increase the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange between the United States and other countries, and is supported in its implementation by Mobility International USA. 

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