All posts by Kerima Cevik

Nina Simone: Black Activist, Bipolar Savant

I've been on this journey to bring disabled African American history into the light by reclaiming the disabled identities of history makers. There is a hidden rule that unless such revelations are unavoidable, a person's disabled identity is best ignored. When such disability is so inseparable from the arc of the figure's life it cannot be erased, then disability is made the scapegoat for anything negative befalling such a person. Nina Simone was what I'll call a bipolar savant.  She was neurodivergent and did her best work as an activist completely unaware she was bipolar and suffering from PTSD. As such, the disability community should embrace her as a savant in the wider sphere of neurodivergent people who demonstrate talent usually limited to the label autistic savant. The recent purchase of Nina Simone’s birthplace by four African American artists who are now restoring it has brought media spotlight back on Ms. Simone and her legacy. This gives … Continue Reading ››

End Silence from National Organizations on Dietrich Assault

The Dietrich, Idaho locker room assault victim needs to matter to organizations in disability rights advocacy and mental health advocacy.  He needs to matter to human rights advocacy groups. He needs to matter to civil rights groups, and groups advocating against hate crimes.  He needs to matter to advocacy organizations that fight to help survivors of torture. The silence from national disability advocacy organizations makes it clear that when it comes to crimes against disabled victims, Black lives don’t matter. This silence is complete and familiar. This silence is a further indignity on this 18-year-old African American disabled victim. What happened to this innocent Black victim screaming in a cold storage closet of locker room at a public high school didn’t matter to the prosecutor. It didn’t matter to the town’s football team.  The victim’s lifelong trauma didn’t matter to the judge, who shouted insulting accusations at the victim’s parents in open … Continue Reading ››