In recognition of Disability Community Month, the University of Michigan Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion launched the Toward an Anti-Ableist Academy conference, which has events throughout the month of October. Oluwaferanmi O. Okanlami, assistant professor of family medicine, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and urology, and U-M’s Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services, gave a keynote speech to kick off the conference on Monday, Oct. 4 at 10am.
Prior to the event, Okanlami joined Michigan Minds to talk about the importance of the conference, outline ways to create a welcoming campus climate, and explain recognizing disability as another aspect of diversity.
“The first step is just recognizing that there is a robust disability community here, and that we need to make sure we are intentional about accessibility and inclusion,” he says.
Okanlami also talks about eliminating accessibility gaps and “disabusing disability™,” his trademarked catchphrase.
“Too often, we treat disability as a negative thing, or something that needs to be ‘fixed’ or ‘overcome.’ This catchphrase is just meant to capture the fact that we need to recognize disability as another aspect of diversity, hopefully changing the stigma that exists around the world itself, and then people who identify with it.”