Meet an SLSV Partner: Alexia Kemerling, American Association of People with Disabilities

For this month’s partner highlight we’re so excited to uplift Alexia Kemerling from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Through her work in the Rev Up Voting Campaign, she’s helping to lead efforts that are building the power of the disability vote. We caught up with her this month and heard more about the upcoming Disability Voting Rights Week September 11-15, as well as some of the things that keep her inspired to do this work! Read on to learn more about Alexia and how you can get involved in disability advocacy.

What are you working on these days?

So many things! But one that I am especially excited for is preparing for Disability Voting Rights Week, September 11-15. During this week we host in-person and virtual events, share information, register and educate voters, and most importantly, celebrate the power of the disability vote.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is getting to connect with disabled activists around the country. My background is in disability grassroots organizing at the state level in Ohio. Now that I am meeting so many people in other states, I really wish I could’ve been connected to them earlier as a state policy organizer. But, the cool thing is, I now get to help people make those connections across states, as our national disability voting rights coalition has partners all around.

What are some of your personal inspirations?

I have to say that the 10 Principles of Disability Justice, created by Sins Invalid, really guides my approach to life and work. The idea that interdependence is not only valid, but necessary, was revolutionary to me. Also, the recognition that ableism is rooted in racism is so important to keep at the forefront of your mind when engaging in disability advocacy. To capture the importance of intersectionality, the principles include the Audre Lorde quote, “We do not live single issue lives.” I have these principles hanging right in front of my computer and I reference them often. Also sneaking in a link to this definition of ableism from TL Lewis, which explains this so well. 

Have you read any books lately? What are you doing when you’re not working?

Yes! I just finished Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. I couldn’t put it down. When I’m not working, I love going on walks with my dog Rupert and cooking.

The SLSV Coalition is the national hub and largest nonpartisan network in the United States dedicated to increasing college student voter participation. The Coalition convenes and connects partners, campuses, and students with each other and with resources and programming towards achieving a vision of ensuring that every student has easy and equal access to participate in every election. They use data, relationships, celebration, and easy-to-follow planning structures, to help campus and local leaders register and turnout more student voters every year. The SLSV Coalition is a project of NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy is strictly nonpartisan, and does not support or oppose any candidate or party.

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