Stacey Park Milbern
“I do not know a lot about spirituality or what happens when we die, but my crip queer Korean life makes me believe that our earthly bodyminds is but a fraction, and not considering our ancestors is electing only to see a glimpse of who we are.” - Stacey Park Milbern
Stacey Park Milbern was a self-identifying queer disabled woman of colour and a trailblazer. A long-standing and respected organizer and leader in the disability rights and justice movement, she also advocated for the rights of many different communities, not just her own. Stacey’s activism had mighty roots in her experience at the intersections of gender, disability, sexuality and race.
Stacey, along with some friends, co-created the Disability Justice Culture Club, a group working to support various and especially vulnerable communities, including helping homeless people gain access to resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was also a co-producer of an impact campaign for Netflix’s documentary “Crip Camp”, a board member of the WITH Foundation, and led organizations at local, state and national levels. Stacey wrote beautifully and powerfully:
“My ancestors are people torn apart from loves by war and displacement. It’s because of them I know the power of building home with whatever you have, wherever you are, whoever you are with. My ancestors are queers who lived in the American South. It’s because of them I understand the importance of relationships, place and living life big, even if it is dangerous. All of my ancestors know longing. Longing is often our connecting place...” - Stacey Park Milbern
She was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in North Carolina, later continuing her journey in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stacey passed away of complications from surgery on her 33rd birthday on 19 May 2020.
“She was, a lot of people would say, a leader. She kind of encompassed all of it. You know, sometimes there's like a lead from the front, lead from the middle, lead from the back. And she was just somehow able to do all of that.” - Andraéa LaVant, disability rights activist
“What a blow to lose Stacey when our communities need her leadership more than ever, and at a time when her strength, insight, and grit were receiving increased recognition outside of disability circles, giving her a greater platform to advance her life’s work...We will not have the gift of learning where her charismatic leadership would have taken us. But let there be no doubt: What Stacey gave us, in a relatively short time, will continue benefiting others for years to come.” - Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)