From the Bay Area, Allie Cannington is a white, Jewish, Queer, Disabled activist and organizer. Since gaining access to movements for disability rights and justice over ten years ago, Allie has organized people with disabilities on local, state, and national levels, always centering on people with disabilities who live at the margins, including LGBTQIA, Black, Indigenous, people of color, low/no income, and youth with disabilities. As Manager of Advocacy and Organizing, Allie leads The Kelsey’s field-building efforts to increase Disabled participation and leadership across housing policy and practice. Allie also spearheads community engagement initiatives for our housing pipeline and convenes and mobilizes people with disabilities and allies to advance disability-forward and equitable housing solutions. Within and outside of The Kelsey, Allie’s work is ultimately dedicated to unveiling everyone’s proximity to disability and to fueling justice movements that are intersectional, sustainable, and intergenerational.
What part of The Kelsey’s mission are you proudest to be part of / support?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one part of The Kelsey’s mission that I am most proud of, but a core element to our work is to co-create disability-forward housing solutions for people with and without disabilities. As a disabled person, I’m proud to be a part of a team that is grounded in partnership across disability and ability, truly emphasizing that we are stronger together than apart. Additionally, our dual mission approach to creating on-the-ground housing (a model that has never been done before) that directly informs our policy and organizing, and vice versa, strategically positions us to create the necessary cultural and policy change so that more affordable, accessible, and inclusive housing can become the norm.
What does it mean to you to be Disability-Forward? Why does it matter?
To me, Disability-forward means that we put access, inclusion, and people with all types of disabilities, particularly Black, Indigenous, and people of color with disabilities, at the forefront of our work and by doing so, everyone can and will benefit. Disability-forward is an approach and a practice, not an end-point, giving us the opportunities to reimagine how we design communities and create change.