Noted disability rights advocate Keith Jones will speak at Western Washington University on May 18 and 19.
His talk is sponsored by Western’s Woodring College of Education in conjunction with the Ershig Assistive Technology Resource Center and the Department of Special Education and Education Leadership.
Jones is a hip-hop artist and president of Soul Touchin’ Experiences, an organization focused on issues related to inclusion, Civil Rights, and empowerment of people with disabilities. He will present a pair of free talks open to the public on Western’s campus at:
- 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18 in Miller Hall 138.
- 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19 in Fraser Hall 102.
Parking enforcement is suspended campus wide for Alumni Weekend May 18-20 beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Friday; this parking enforcement suspension also allows people requiring accessible spaces to park in lots 11G, 10G and 17G with only a state placard and no WWU permit after 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Jones is extremely active in multi-cultural, cross-disability education outreach and conducts trainings with the purpose of strengthening efforts to provide services and information to people with disabilities. He actively promotes the use of assistive technology as tools that can facilitate inclusion and community membership.
Jones helps people realize that disability is a natural part of the human experience.
“There’s none exempt from this disability community, and as a matter of fact, we’re the cool community, because we accept everybody,” Jones said.
Over the years, Jones has been recognized locally and nationally as a strong advocate on a wide breadth of issues, including education, employment, and community belonging. He has been featured in two critically acclaimed documentaries – Dan Habib’s “Including Samuel” and Maggie Doben’s “Labeled Disabled.” Also, in 2008 he ran for the U.S. Senate based on the idea of “Fulfilling America’s Promise.” The Chicago Tribune wrote a story about Jones at the time. See the story here.
He has received numerous awards for leadership in community advocacy addressing the intersectionality of disability and social justice. Those include the New Leadership Development Award from The President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; the Commonwealth Coalition’s Progressive Leadership Award; and the 2006 Moro Fleming Consumer Involvement Award from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, as well as being a graduate of the inaugural class of Initiative for Diversity in Civic Leadership.
As an artist, Jones has composed award-winning songs and received critical praise for his role of Killer P in the independent comedy “Special Needs.” Bill Gibron of Popmasters.com wrote, “The clear breakout star here is someone called Killer P. A bad ass gansta rapper with cerebral palsy; if he’s not the future of urban culture, no one is. … He’s a classic character (or a great find) and almost instantly demands the making of a solo feature all his own. Every moment he’s on screen is worth savoring and repeating. He’s gutbustingly great.”
Western Washington University’s Woodring College of Education is recognized throughout Washington, and beyond, as a leader in the development and implementation of programs that prepare outstanding special education teachers, and other teachers from early childhood to adult education; educational administration leaders; human services professionals; and rehabilitation counselors. For more information please see Woodring College.