Today’s Google Doodle honors Stacey Park Milbern, a champion of the disability justice movement, as part of Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month.
In the United States, Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month is observed throughout May and aims to honor the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islanders to the country’s history. There’s no better recent example of the impact even one person can have than Stacey Park Milbern.
Stacey Park Milbern was born on May 19, 1987 in Seoul, South Korea, and was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Throughout his life, as the New York Timeswhile Milbern was not averse to accepting help from caregivers, she did not treat her differences and disabilities as something to hold her back, but as challenges to overcome.
Often people with disabilities have the solutions that society needs
Stacey Park Milbern, in an interview with KQED
Growing up in North Carolina in a conservative family came with its own set of challenges, especially for someone who identified as gay, as Milbern herself shared in an interview with Atlantic. Instead, she decided to move to the San Francisco Bay Area, knowing that the region was not only one of the most accessible areas in the country, but also a hub for youth activism. People with Disabilities.
Milbern was particularly interested in the disability justice movement, which aims to bring the voices of a greater diversity of races, genders and sexual orientations into discussions about disability.
After moving to California around 2011, Stacey Park Milbern immediately decided to be part of the disability justice movement, while also working in human resources at a bank. Milbern quickly rose to the forefront of the movement, even having been appointed by President Obama in 2014 to the Presidential Committee for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.
In 2017, Stacey Park Milbern was one of many voices speaking out against proposed plans to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act which involved major cuts in funding for people with disabilities, including support for attendants. . Speaking about her own life experiences, Milbern explained that having an attendant was the only way she got to work every day.
Then in 2020, as COVID-19 cases surged in the United States and the Bay Area, Milbern and his friends saw an urgent need to help homeless people stay safe. Together, they formed the “Disability Justice Culture Club” and created kits with essential supplies like masks and hand sanitizer to distribute in Oakland.
All the while, Milbern was dealing with a medical issue of his own while waiting for the kidney cancer to be surgically removed, with COVID-19 making it much more difficult to perform the procedures. Tragically, Stacey Park Milbern passed away from complications during her kidney surgery on May 19, 2020, her 33rd birthday.
The Doodle honoring Milbern was commissioned by Google from Art Twink, and it features an incredibly bold color palette, with elements inspired by the life and activism of Stacey Park Milbern.
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