Featured Panel: Disability Justice and Activism
In this featured panel, Aotearoa’s Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero, will lead a conversation with a group of disabled activists, one from the United States, and three from Aotearoa. Together they will discuss disability justice: its potentials and challenges for disability activism in Aotearoa and internationally
Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero, MNZM
Paula Tesoriero is New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner. It is her role to protect and promote the rights of disabled New Zealanders.
She is also a Paralympian cycling gold medalist, a former lawyer, was a general manager at Stats NZ and at the Ministry of Justice, has held a range of governance roles on various Boards and is a mum.
Paula was recently announced Chef de Mission for the NZ Paralympic team heading to Toyko in 2020.
Alice Wong, MS (she/her)
Alice Wong (she/her) is a disabled activist, media maker, and consultant. She is the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, an online community dedicated to creating, sharing and amplifying disability media and culture created in 2014. Alice is the editor of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century, an anthology of essays by disabled people, available now by Vintage Books (2020). You can find her on Twitter: @SFdirewolf.
Erin Gough, LLB (Hons)(First Class), BA (Sociology) (she/they)
Born in South Africa, Erin spent their high school and University years in Christchurch before moving to Wellington in 2015. They have extensive advocacy experience, both personally as someone disabled since birth, and professionally, having worked for Community Law Canterbury, the Human Rights Commission, Ministry of Education and currently, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. Erin is a proud disabled, queer activist committed to the principles of Disability Justice – and to always learning from other activists both in Aotearoa and around the world.
Dr. Huhana Hickey – MNZM, MInstD, PhD (Law) (Ngāti Tāhinga, Whakatōhea)
Dr. Hickey is a goal-oriented professional Māori woman, with proven success as a solicitor, researcher, educator, advocate, consultancy advisor, board director (currently on the Odyssey house board), business owner and facilitator combined with extensive involvement on governance boards, community groups, trusts, management and committees. She achieves results by applying initiative, intellect and determination, utilising my organisational and problem-solving skills, mentoring performance and managing challenges in a pro-active and positive manner. She has demonstrated strengths in communication and relationship management, building credibility, integrity and mutual respect amongst colleagues, clients and key stakeholders. Dr. Hickey is committed to human rights issues that impact in particular on disabled and indigenous peoples, but human rights as a concept overall.
Kera Sherwood-O’Regan (Kāi Tahu, Te Waipounamu)
Kera Sherwood-O’Regan (Kāi Tahu, Te Waipounamu) is an indigenous and disabled multidisciplinary storyteller and rights advocate based in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the Co-founder and Impact Director at Activate, an Indigenous and disabled social impact agency specialising in campaigning and narratives for social change, with a particular emphasis on Indigenous & disability rights, and climate justice. Her work focuses on centring structurally oppressed communities in social change, exploring community-led collective storytelling, and seeks to raise the bar for free, prior, informed, and ongoing consent in the media.
Kera’s work is grounded in kaupapa Māori practices and approaches, and is informed by 15 years of activism within climate and social justice movements. In her spare time she runs support groups for people with Fibromyalgia, and advocates for indigenous and disability rights at the United Nations climate negotiations and within the wider climate movement through the SustainedAbility Disability Climate Network & the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change. Recently Kera contributed to Climate Aotearoa (Allen & Unwin, 2021), edited by Helen Clark, on the intersections between climate change, health, and Indigenous & Disability rights.