Stacey Park Milbern was a Korean-American activist and advocate who fought tirelessly for the rights of the disabled and for social justice throughout her life. Milbern was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1987; at the age of three months, she was adopted by a white family in the United States. She was raised in North Carolina, and after making the Bay Area her home, she became active in the disability rights movement.
Early Life and Disability Experience
Milbern’s inability to move and breathe on her own is the result of a neuromuscular disorder she was born with called SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) type 2. She breathed with the help of a ventilator and used a power wheelchair. Milbern was an outspoken supporter of the rights of people with disabilities despite the difficulties she encountered on a daily basis.
Education and Activism
Milbern earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She formed the Disability rights Culture Club at Berkeley to advocate for disability rights through the arts and culture during her stay there. She also helped launch an initiative aimed at elevating the voices of persons with disabilities by collecting and disseminating their personal narratives: the Disability Visibility Project.
Milbern was a sought-after speaker who shared her knowledge on disability justice, intersectionality, and social justice in addition to her activism. The Asian Pacific Islander Disability Network and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund were two of the boards she was on.
Legacy and Impact
The life and activities of Milbern have had an enormous impact on the field of disability rights and beyond. She fought diligently against ableism and other forms of injustice in order to advance the rights of persons with disabilities, especially those from underrepresented groups.
Milbern died in 2020 at the age of 31, but her influence and legacy live on to encourage and inspire people everywhere. Her tireless labor for social justice serves as a reminder of the never-ending effort required to realize a more just and equitable world for all people.
More about Stacey Park Milbern’s
- Stacey Park Milbern’s activism and advocacy work highlighted the connections between various oppressions and disabilities. She understood that persons with disabilities who also belonged to other oppressed groups, such as people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, or people living on low incomes, faced extra challenges and discrimination.
- Disability justice, which was a major theme in Milbern’s work, is a theoretical framework that prioritizes disabled people’s right to self-determination and freedom from discrimination. This paradigm expands on the concept of disability rights by emphasizing the role of community and group effort in making society more fair and equitable for all members.
- Milbern’s creative output included both her activism and advocacy for disability justice. She was an accomplished storyteller who utilized her prominence to elevate the perspectives of persons with disabilities from underrepresented groups.
- Milbern was active in the movement to ensure everyone had equal access to quality healthcare, in addition to her advocacy activities. She has firsthand experience with the catastrophic effects of inadequate or inaccessible healthcare due to her own disability and need on a ventilator.
- The legacy of Milbern’s contributions to the disability rights movement and beyond lives on. Her life and work should serve as motivation for those who keep pushing for a more inclusive and fair society that gives disabled persons of all identities the respect they deserve.
Stacey Park Milbern was a lifelong activist and campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities. Despite the obstacles posed by her disability, Milbern was a fierce and determined advocate who sparked the efforts of countless others. Her life and work should serve as a constant reminder of the need to center the voices and experiences of underrepresented groups in society.