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Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

4.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,267 ratings  ·  168 reviews
In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all.

Care Work is a mapping of acc
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Arsenal Pulp Press
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Tarah Fedenia Yes! My library system (Milwaukee Public Library) even has it available on their Hoopla App!

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One of the most mind-expanding and heart-opening books I have ever read. In Care Work, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha delves deep into the realities and politics of disability justice, a movement that centers sick and disabled queer and trans Black and brown people. She writes about so many important topics, including the importance of accessibility and how we should strive beyond accessibility too, the ways that we should honor and celebrate femme labor and pain as opposed to devaluing it, an ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful, brilliant book. I learned so much, and it made me real confront my own ableism and sit with that discomfort. I was blown away by this. My full review is at the Lesbrary. ...more
I wanted to put my only negative critique at the beginning of my review for people who skim because it involves one small section of the book that contains dangerous advice. There is a section in which the author shares her tips for touring, many of which are safe and helpful. While she does remark that these things will not work for every body, she does not explain further in ways that are critical for disabled and/or sick people reading.

One thing she recommends is, for chronic pain, to take 8
Tyler J Gray
Nonfiction essays about disability justice, by disabled queer femme's of color. So much packed into this book! As a queer disabled afab person there was so much I related to, I swear it helped heal something inside of me, and as a white person there is so much that I learned from.

If you are abled, or white, or masc, or cishet...honestly, I recommend this book to everyone. Please, read🥰

I read it on Hoopla but I will so need to buy myself a copy so I can re-read and annotate it!
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This totally rocked my world. Exactly what I wanted and so much more! Feels like it would be great whether you are new to or seasoned in healing and disability justice. So much incredible food for thought on community care. Second to last essay - on survivorship and the false broken/healed dichotomy and how applying a disability justice framework blows that wide open - in particular hit hard!
Danni Green
This is definitely my #1 top recommendation of the year and one of the best and most important books I've EVER read. I want everyone I've ever met to read this book, I want everyone I'm ever going to meet to read this book. If I had a million dollars right now I would buy copies of this book for everyone I know.

Update: Re-read it 7 months later. Still feel the exact same way.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist
A good, thought provoking book that is an excellent introduction to the concept of disability justice and it’s history.

That said, I wanted more. Maybe I wanted the impossible? What is really at issue here for me is whether or not traditionally ‘femme’ (to borrow the author’s word) work (aka care work), can be monetized without creating another exploitative and oppressive system of control.

Are we for sale? Is our work for sale? Is care work for sale? These are the questions that unsettle me.

Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book and still try to gather all my thoughts. In short: Please, go read this insightful, brilliant, nuanced essay collection.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about the history of disability justice (and fear of this movement being co-opted), rethinking care and access, suicidal ideation, new models of survivorhood, 'call-out culture', and making space for disabled/ chronical ill elders. Centering the experiences and knowledge of disabled/ sick/ Mad QTPoC, especially
Yuni Chang
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
a book i knew would completely alter my life before i was even close to finishing it

favorite chapters:
-care webs: experiments in creating collective access
-crip emotional intelligence
-cripping the apocalypse: some of my wild disability justice dreams
-a modest proposal for a fair trade emotional labor economy (centered by disabled, femme of color, working class/poor genius)
-suicidal ideation 2.0: queer community leadership and staying alive anyway
-two or three things i know for sure about femmes
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the most life-changing, mind-blowing, paradigm-shifting book I’ve read in years-perhaps ever.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Oh, how I needed this gift of a book. (and by the way, you do too, likely)

The words laid down by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in "Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice" lifted my soul this week. Reminded me of the amazing resilience and gifts that every single one of us brings to this work of being alive and trying to make a better world. Centered me in the ways that we have to constantly be learning new ways forward that tear down old myths/structures/inequities. It also deeply reminded me
Samantha Shain
I learned a lot from reading this book and I think many of the ideas, especially the ones that I found provocative or controversial, will stay with me for a long time. Putting words to the overlap between ableism and misogyny was refreshing and cathartic to read. I think the author also did a good job engaging with the critique of call-out/cancel culture; however I think in other parts of the book I felt as though she participated in calling out community institutions that are not able to make d ...more
I love this book!

It helped me understand more about disability justice, how intertwined it is with taking care of and allowing space for all of us, whether we consider ourselves disabled or not.

Read it if you too spend more time in bed or unwell than society makes you feel ok about. And if you want to practice being less abelist!
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disability
A gift, as Leah does. The kind of book I want everyone to read, but want especially to make sure the right people receive it and for it to not ever be misused because it really is such a gift. Must reads (really all of the book, it holds together so beautifully and even scaffolds as a collection): "Care Webs: Experiments in Creating Collective Access; "Protect Your Heart: Femme Leadership and Hyper-Accountability;" "Not Over It, Not Fixed, And Living A Life Worth Living: Towards an Anti-Ableist ...more
I am sure this is a very important book for a lot of people. It wasn't written for me. This wasn't really an introduction to disability justice, but more of a platform for an activist to connect with their community and that is really important and powerful.
I made it over 30% of the book and the writing felt informal, meandered into side stories and was redundant. I also thought the structure itself was confusing-- the essays are all by the same writer but aren't clearly differentiated. I felt
Taz S
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think EVERYONE should read this book.
Amazing read with thoughtful words from the wonderful Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha as always. It's a book that gave me so many feels, thoughts, hope, inspiration, connection and poignant insight into things that disabled/sick QTBIPOC queers have been living through and saying about community and many other dynamics for yearsssss. It's about time to actually listen, y'all.
I have a copy and can lend it to you if the library is taking too long and we know
This book is one of the best of any genre I've read in a long time. As someone who still has a lot of learning an unlearning to do around ableism and accessibility, I had more than a few enlightening moments while reading this; as someone who is queer and chafes a little every time queerness is ignored or only briefly mentioned in social justice conversations, I was overjoyed by how queerness permeated this book. Piepzna-Samarasinha is just wonderful, this is the third book by her I've read and ...more
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the vein of her other work, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's Care Work is incredibly readable and accessible, full of beautifully-written stories from her on-the-front-lines experiences with Disability Justice, Mad movement, care collectives, and much more. This book is about pain and trauma and searching for better ways of being, moving, and relating in the world, and it's also full of hope and wild imagination. Leah is careful to note that these are not her dreams alone, but she collabora ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book with zero expectations and came away so delighted. I learned so much about disability justice. Piepzna-Samarsinha's writing is heartfelt, concise, and inviting. I can't wait to dive into their works! ...more
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
The time I spent with this book is utterly inimitable. It made shapes out of things that have been inside of me for a long time. It fundamentally changed the shape of those things. I feel so grateful and so honored.
Shana Zucker
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020
4.5 stars rounded up. An incredibly important written work. Especially as a healthcare worker, delving into disability justice and depathologizing crip culture are incredibly important to me to becoming a more intersectional, trauma-informed care provider.

One thing that frustrated me in this book was how (surprisingly) the author spoke about suicide as something people “commit,” which is outdated, pathologizing, criminalizing language.
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Disability justice is so often left out of social justice and anti-oppression work. Everyone should read this!
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: s-tier
Clementine Morrigan
Such an important book. Everyone should read this.
anna marie
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
i’m going to write so stuff asap but like o think some f this is incredible & some of it is a little bit unhelpful in its use of “femme” as a gender separator !!
Scott Neigh
A collection of essays on disability justice by sometime-Toronto-based sick and disabled femme of colour activist, writer, and performer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. A wide range of different kinds of pieces, to deliberately capture the broad spectrum of shared knowledge – from get-through-the-day life hacks to no-holds-barred critique to expansive dreaming – that a commitment to disability justice requires. As such, the kinds of craft found in each piece varies quite a bit, but all in one ...more
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Something unprecedented and LOUD. From a 40-something queer, femme, disabled South Asian poet and writer about the abundant knowledge + skills of sick/disabled folx and how care work + healing justice is vitally necessary to anchor the work of all justice/activism. Healing justice sustains, remains, feeds the people fighting where ableist-centered activism burns us out.

Some snippets: Disabled people as doulas birthing other people (me included) into disability acknowledgement + justice. Indigeno
Joy Messinger
[5 stars] A compilation of essays on chronic illness, disability, disability justice, healing justice, and other femme magic from the perspective of a sick and disabled queer mixed race working class femme of color. Hopeful, funny, honest, nuanced, practical. Care Work will provide important historical and theoretical context for those who are newer to learning about the disability justice framework, insightful validation for fellow sick and disabled queers (SDQ) who’ve been there, and useful ti ...more
Sarah Barukh
It took me a while to get through this book, but I'm glad I did. Strong points about how access is only the start of dreaming disability justice, how we are all capable of supporting those in our community though in ways we may not have conceptualized before (or not in traditionally transactional ways), how important it is to realize how much you can realistically offer another person (and more importantly how important it is that we remain aware of how much more we ask of BIPOC women than we do ...more
Amy Layton
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely must-read book. I can only imagine how affirming this book can be for disabled people of color. As someone who is able-bodied and white, I can easily say that I learned a lot from this book and felt–and still feel–the need to take a step back and analyze my own preconceived notions, how my event-planning actions may or may not have been actually accessible, and my own negotiation with myself and the communities that I exist within.

Though Piepzna-Samarasinha doesn’t protest
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Mental Health and...: Care Webs 1 7 Jun 27, 2019 08:33PM  

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Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a Toronto and Oakland-based poet, writer, educator and social activist. Her writing and performance art focuses on documenting the stories of queer and trans people of color, abuse survivors, mixed-race people and diasporic South Asians and Sri Lankans.

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105 likes · 72 comments
“Mainstream ideas of “healing” deeply believe in ableist ideas that you’re either sick or well, fixed or broken, and that nobody would want to be in a disabled or sick or mad bodymind. Unsurprisingly and unfortunately, these ableist ideas often carry over into healing spaces that call themselves “alternative” or “liberatory.” The healing may be acupuncture and herbs, not pills and surgery, but assumptions in both places abound that disabled and sick folks are sad people longing to be “normal,” that cure is always the goal, and that disabled people are objects who have no knowledge of our bodies. And deep in both the medical-industrial complex and “alternative” forms of healing that have not confronted their ableism is the idea that disabled people can’t be healers.” 4 likes
“To me, one quality of disability justice culture is that it is simultaneously beautiful and practical. Poetry and dance are as valuable as a blog post about access hacks - because they're equally important and interdependent.” 3 likes
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