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Shaping Spaces: Students’ Disability Stories for Our Time

Herstory Writers Workshop and the Living Learning Community at Adelphi University are happy to announce a new online memoir-writing workshop bringing together high school and college students with disabilities from all over Long Island.* 



Meeting online every Tuesday morning from 10am-12pm

Starting the week of June 15



Too often, even under normal circumstances, students with disabilities find ourselves isolated in a world that hasn’t learned to play to our enormous strengths.   In the time of the pandemic, the isolation and lack of resources grow ever more serious.  Online “learning,” problematic enough for those who don’t have different access needs, is often inaccessible to us.  We see younger students in high school dropping out or falling behind.  We see college students giving up and graduate students questioning their direction.  


On the flip side, we see a world that is adapting and exploring new ways of existing.  In this pandemic, our society is exploring practices such as working from home and self-isolating while sick to protect our more vulnerable neighbors.  We’re also seeing people come together and checking in on neighbors with disabilities to make sure everyone has what they need.  If we maintain these practices after the pandemic, the world could ultimately become more accommodating for people with disabilities.  Let’s use our stories and experiences to help reshape the world into one that is more accommodating and accepting.


The workshop will be facilitated by Janelle Gagnon, a Herstory fellow who is devoting her graduate studies to exploring the power of stories, and Jen Baker, a veteran medic who has spent her life working with those who have been wounded.


Janelle writes: “As a disabled person, there is a lot that I want the world to understand about me and my experiences.  That is why I write—so that others can understand how I experience the world, and the challenges I face.  I also write so that other disabled people can feel less alone.  It is my hope that we can build a community of disabled students, and change the way that people view us and our lives.  Through sharing our stories, we can make our schools and world a better place.”


This group is open to any student who identifies as having a disability, be it physical, cognitive/psychological/neurological, mental illness, chronic illness, being immune compromised, or any other disability.  This is part of a larger online “Students Writing for Our Time” project, hosted by a consortium of 7 Long Island Universities and Colleges.


If you are interested in participating, please send a short email to Janelle Gagnon at , copied to Jen Baker at, Lisa Minicozzi at, and Erika Duncan at


*Students from high schools, colleges and universities are welcome to join, as we work with our college and school partners to roll out options to help you meet your community service and community engagement requirements.   


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