Coalition of Disabled Gators and Allies provides advocacy, visibility and support
In early 2021, former UF Disability Resource Center staff members Priscilla Adams and Lexie McGarvey, EdD, realized there wasn’t an affinity group at the University of Florida focused on faculty and staff with disabilities. This led them to create a framework for the Coalition of Disabled Gators and Allies, or CDGA, with the goal to build and sustain a community and safe space for people with disabilities — or who identify as disabled — as well as advocates at the University of Florida.
Soon after, UF/IFAS Research Associate Professor Katie Stofer, Ph.D. — who is also a member of the UF Persons with Disabilities Presidential Committee — joined the group and together they reached out to the Black Graduate Student Association to both increase their racial diversity and seek graduate student representation.
Currently, Stofer, UF Department of Political Science Ph.D. candidate LaRaven Temoney and UF Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity staff member Jessica Baker are carrying forth the coalition and actively seeking people to help steer the direction of the CDGA.
By launching this affinity group, the founding members aim to raise the visibility of and improve the conditions for people with disabilities at the University of Florida and beyond. Through their programming, they also aim to create a community that will serve and empower UF faculty, staff and students in a variety of ways according to their needs. One way to do this will be to bring leaders to campus to provide learning opportunities for the broader community.
While the CDGA is in the initial stages, the group is already turning their eyes to the future — in particular, they are actively seeking to form partnerships with other affinity groups and UF departments that will promote solidarity and intersectionality. Currently, the group is meeting regularly with UF Chief Diversity Officer Marsha McGriff, Ph.D., and other affinity group leaders to explore upcoming events. Affinity groups or departments that wish to partner with the CDGA are encouraged to reach out to Stofer, Temoney or Baker via email at email@example.com.
This semester, monthly Meet N’ Greets are taking place via Zoom on the second Monday of the month, from 4:30–5:15 p.m. (EST). A Discord community is also available for members to connect for community and networking. Faculty, staff and students interested in joining the Coalition of Disabled Gators and Allies can complete this online form. For assistance completing the form, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Katie Stofer at 352-273-3690.
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