2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.

avatar for Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Justice Catalyst Fellow
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, and writer whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color, published by the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network in 2017. Morénike and Lydia also co-direct the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, which was created and launched this summer, and provides direct support, mutual aid, and community reparations to individual autistic people of color. The fund has already provided more than $7,000 in microgrants for needs including outstanding medical bills, rent coverage, and emergency relocation assistance.

At present, Lydia serves as founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Services and board member of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They designed and taught a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements for two years as a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College. They also served as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council for two years as the youngest appointee nationally to chair any state developmental disabilities council. In the past, Lydia co-founded the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective. They continue to serve on numerous commissions, councils, and advisory boards related to disability policy and research.

Lydia has received numerous awards for their work, including from the White House, Washington Peace Center, National Council on Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts, Society for Disability Studies, and American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2015, Pacific Standard named Lydia a Top 30 Thinker under 30 in the Social Sciences, and Mic named Lydia to its inaugural list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. In 2018, NBC Asian America featured Lydia as one of 26 emerging voices and breakout stars of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, while Amplifier is featuring Lydia as one of ten youth activist icons for the We The Future artistic activism campaign. Their work has been featured in numerous scholarly and community publications.

Lydia is a Justice Catalyst Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where they are bringing a commitment to neurodiversity and disability justice to educational civil rights advocacy for and with disabled children and youth in Maryland.