Candidate for the position of Disabled Students and Carers Officer

Image for Indigo Ayling

Indigo Ayling


[Image description: photo of Indigo, a white, non-binary person with short curly hair, sitting in a wheelchair in front of some big green leaves in a conservatory. They are smiling and have their eyes closed. END ID].

My name is Indigo and I exist with chronic fatigue, constant widespread bodily pain and a very wobbly mental health, as well as a host of other difficult physical and mental conditions and impairments. And yet, what "disables" me most is not my body/mind at all, but the (dis)ableist treatment I experience daily due to not having a body/mind which fits the norm.

I want to continue the work Beulah and I begun this year, and grow it even further, aiming to empower my disabled and caring siblings and collectively dismantle the 'abled supremacy' in which we all live.


1. Disability Justice

I do not want to simply fight for our right to exist as disabled/ chronically ill/ mental ill/ neurodivergent people and carers. I want to celebrate and hold value in the entirety of our varied existences, in all of our forms. I want to contribute to fighting structural oppression through through a form of Disability Justice which insists that our worth is inherent and tied to the liberation of all beings. Practically this means working with other liberation officers and societies to collectively incorporate the ideals of disability justice into the activism of SOAS, making sure disability is no longer seen as a meaningless add-on, but a central to all forms of anti-capitalist liberation.


2. Structural Ableism

Within SOAS, as in our wider society, there are so many over-looked but deeply ableist systems and designs which actively exclude disabled bodies from participation. From the doctorate school and many other SOAS buildings lack of wheelchair access (including almost all floors of SOAS library), to reports of lecturers discriminating against students with invisible disabilities, and teaching staff repeatedly unobserving the Student Inclusion Plans, SOAS needs a lot fo change. I want to put ableism on the agenda and campaign to improve these unacceptable conditions that disabled students are just expected to endure.


3. Collective Interdependance

No-one can do everything all on their own, and neither should they. Disabled people, for the most part, often have to rely on more support and assistance and care work than abled folks. And in doing so we learn deeply valuable and world-changing things about collective responsibility and interdependence. I hope to foster this, especially in response to the narrative of disabled folks as a "burden". I hope to expand on the Disabled Students and Carers' Empowerment Network that Beulah and I begun this year, building more support networks and more caring communities. Under the idea of collective responsibility I also want to create an SU fund to help reimburse the costs on disabled students due to the privatisation of the NHS, helping to pay for medical letters and one-off health care expenses.


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