Can a Crip Utopia Exist in Post-Secondary Education?

Happy National AccessAbility Week! Join the National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) on May 27, 2024, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm ET, as we enter in a discussion with disabled students and disabled activists to imagine a revitalization of post-secondary education – one that locates the diverse and intersectional needs of disabled students and neurodivergent students at the forefront of much needed institutional change. In doing so, we reflect on the meaning of ‘crip utopia’ in each of our lives and on the possibility of an eventual crip utopia within post-secondary institutions.

For further information and/or to discuss access needs, please contact Chloée C. Godin-Jacques, panel moderator, at 

Note on access needs: ASL interpretation, LSQ interpretation, and closed captioning will be provided at this event.

Registration for this event is mandatory. Register online here. For further information and/or to discuss access needs, please contact: Chloée C. Godin-Jacques, panel moderator, at Speakers' bios will be posted soon.

Note on access needs: ASL interpretation, LSQ interpretation, English-French simultaneous interpretation, and closed captioning will be provided at this event.

Meet the Panelists

Julia Denley

Julia Denley (she/they) is an undergraduate biology student who currently serves as a Co-Chair of the UVic Society of Students with a Disability (SSD). She is a neurodivergent and queer student leader and disability advocate living with multiple physical and mental health disabilities.

They have been on the Board of UVic’s Society for Students with a Disability for the past five years, previously as a General Member and then as Student Liaison, before becoming the Co-Chairperson. She also founded and helps to lead the SSD’s Access4All campaign, which advocates for equitable access to higher education by maintaining online learning options that were implemented early in the pandemic.

Kinnery Chaparrel

Kinnery Chaparrel (they/she) is a poet, scholar, and community activist who is strongly influenced by their identities as multiply-disabled, neurodivergent, chronically ill, mad/mentally ill, queer, and low-income. Kinnery holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with a major in Classics, a minor in English, and a minor in Creative Writing. She has spent the past year working through a Master’s of Arts in European Studies with a specialization in Sexualities, Genders, and Bodies; in the fall, they will begin a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. All of her studies have been completed at the University of Guelph.

Kinnery is the founder of several community organizations: the University of Guelph Disability Community is a campus organization representing disabled, chronically ill, neurodivergent, d/Deaf, Mad/mentally ill, and related communities; DEEP (Disability Education Empowerment & Pride) is a group that includes social opportunities as well as advocacy and education about issues affecting the disability community; Through the Cracks Relief Network is a peer support service through which volunteers share the skills they’ve developed in navigating health, legal, social, financial, and other services; CripSpace Guelph is an upcoming group providing space centred around disability justice for people with disabilities to come together to share our rage, grief, joys, and celebrations; and the Guelph Access Library is a free rental service for mobility aids such as walkers, canes, and wheelchairs, as well as other accessibility devices.

Kinnery is also an accomplished poet whose work has appeared in publications including Sinister Wisdom and Prairie Fire, and her translations from Ancient Greek will appear in a forthcoming textbook to be used in a mythology course. They were the second-place winner in the senior division of last year’s Classical Association of Canada’s Undergraduate Essay Competition, and the first person to win with a creative work. A chapbook stemming from this work, ΕΦΗΜΕΡΙΔΕΣ ΑΡΙΣΤΟΓΕΙΤΟΝΟΣ (Diaries of Aristogeiton), is forthcoming from Vocamus Press.

Kimberley Chiasson

Kimberley Chiasson is a 23-year-old first year grad student in Critical Disability Studies at York University. Her undergrad in Carleton Journalism opened her up new conversation of what it means to be disabled in post-secondary. Accepting this inherently political identity, she now strives to deconstruct ableist narratives in academia, focusing on the unique experiences of students who require care. Formerly a client of Carleton’s Attendant Services Program, she hopes her work as a budding disability scholar will demonstrate the potential behind a truly accessible future and the changes needed to accept disabled bodyminds as part of Canadian education. 

Raissa Amany

Raissa Amany (she/her) is a social activist and public speaker, who is known for her work around youth engagement in health spaces. Having personal experience of how health inequity affects marginalized populations, Raissa continues to advocate for the improvement of accessibility and equity within the pediatric healthcare sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health. She leads over 70+ youths from across Canada in national child health advocacy and leads collaborations with leading champion children's organization

In her commitment to health equity, Raissa is also a research student with Our Kids’ Health, where she advises on youth engagement research guidelines and co-leading the Digital Health Youth Fellows Program.

Beyond pediatrics, Raissa is a prominent youth expert in child and youth mental health and addictions. As an immigrant with multiple chronic illnesses, she currently serves on the Knowledge Institute for Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions Youth Advisory Committee. She also serves on the National Youth Council at Kids Help Phone, providing her lived and professional expertise. She also served on the inaugural working group for the first national standardization of Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions with the Standards Council of Canada

Raissa's leadership extends beyond academia. As a Youth Engagement Specialist at Children First Canada, she designed and delivered the "Young Canadians Parliament" program, engaging over 150 youth nationwide in learning more about their rights. 

In recognition of her leadership and impact, Raissa is recently named one of the 2024 Top 25 Women of Influence by Women of Influence+ and Student of the Year by Ascend Canada. In 2023, she was awarded the Max Keeping Award for Personal Courage by Youth Ottawa and the Canada SDG Youth Awards: Community Health and Wellbeing by the Alberta Council for International Cooperation.

Raissa is currently an undergraduate Health Sciences student at the University of Ottawa. She is also a first-generation immigrant of Indonesian descent raised on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Peoples (Ottawa, Ontario). For fun, she likes to try out new foods, overanalyze medical shows, and curling. 

Chloée C. Godin-Jacques, M.A (she/they | elle/iel), Education & Research Consultant | Consultante en éducation et recherche, National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6

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