November 12, 2021

Shayda Kafai

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes SHAYDA KAFAI—assistant professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona—for a discussion of her book Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice and Art Activism of Sins Invalid. She will be joined in conversation by community organizer and culture worker LILAC VYLETTE MALDONADO and artist and writer VANESSA DURAND.


In recent years, disability activism has come into its own as a vital and necessary means to acknowledge the power and resilience of the disabled community, and to call out ableist culture wherever it appears.

Crip Kinship explores the art-activism of Sins Invalid, a San Francisco Bay Area-based performance project, and its radical imaginings of what disabled, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming bodyminds of color can do: how they can rewrite oppression, and how they can gift us with transformational lessons for our collective survival.

Grounded in their Disability Justice framework, Crip Kinship investigates the revolutionary survival teachings that disabled, queer of color community offers to all our bodyminds. From their focus on crip beauty and sexuality to manifesting digital kinship networks and crip-centric liberated zones, Sins Invalid empowers and moves us toward generating our collective liberation from our bodyminds outward.

About Author(s)

Shayda Kafai is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. As a queer, Mad, femme of colour, she commits to enacting the many ways we can reclaim our bodyminds from intersecting systems of oppression. She lives in Pomona, California with her wife, Amy.

Lilac Vylette Maldonado (she/they) is a community organizer and culture worker who identifies as sick & disabled, neurodivergent, Two-Spirit, Chicanx femme. Since 2009, she has been actively organizing around many intersectional social justice issues such as racial justice, gender justice, disability justice, LGBTQIA+ issues, and body autonomy and acceptance. They are an avid zinester who has written and created artwork for various academic and social justice-themed DIY booklets. She is a co-founding member of the Los Angeles Spoonie Collective, a grassroots Disability Justice group connecting disabled activists and artists to community organizing and education opportunities. They are a part of the education team at Fireweed Collective, offering mental health education and mutual aid through a Healing Justice lens. She is also a core member of Mirror Memoirs, an oral history project centering on the narratives, healing, and leadership of LGBTQ survivors of color in the movement to end child sexual abuse. Lastly, they are the social media and communications manager for Reclaim UGLY, the intergenerational, multi-racial, LGBTQIA+, and Black-led organization that serves social justice-minded communities and centers the voices and needs of marginalized people. You can follow Lilac on Instagram at @chronically.femme, or at @boldly.femme for her artwork.

Vanessa Durand, better known as V, is a thirty-something, non-binary Queer Fat Femme born and raised in Los Angeles. She has been documenting and sharing her love of make-up through mixed media art and on social media platforms for over 15 years. Their work navigates the complexities of being an autistic, mixed-race, disabled & chronically ill glitter goddess who was sent by their ancestors to break generational curses. V is particularly passionate about combining their love for makeup artistry and photography with writing. In 2012, V earned a B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from CSULB and in 2018 became the self-published author of two books titled, “I Am Still Blooming: a Live Flower Make-up Series on Healing and Becoming” and “Make-up + Creative Advice, Tips, and Affirmations: How to Trust Yourself and Your Unique Process and Purpose.” While in quarantine, they recently created a YouTube series titled "Make-up and Messages from the Universe," where the inseparable healing energies of spirituality, divine purpose, and human connection come together to be honored, celebrated, and shared with the global community. Follow them on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok @glitteryfemme.