I have just learned of the death of disability activist, writer and comedian Stella Young. She was 32 years old.
I did not know Stella, but I am a huge fan of her writing. There was no-one like her in the world of disability activism. Her work was incisive, bold, usually hilarious, and often incredibly poignant.
I think a testament to her skill is that every time she published a new piece of work I thought to myself “This will be on the syllabus when I become a teacher”. Her writing was accessible, confrontational, and could cut straight to the point.
It’s late, and I am tired and devastated. I have no more deep, meaningful words to say, so let’s allow Stella’s words do the talking. It’s the least we can do for someone who has done so much for our community.
Below are links to two letters she wrote, one to her past self as a teenager, and one to herself as an eighty-year-old. As Andrew Pulrang says:
I want every high school age kid in a wheelchair, who uses crutches, or who is sure that their bodies are too weird and messed up to be loved, to read these letters before they graduate into adulthood.
Stella’s words went far (one example; last time I checked, a .gifset of her excellent TED talk had over 100,000 notes on Tumblr). Let’s ensure her legacy is that they are not forgotten.