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President’s Award

This new award honors an activist and/or artist who has advanced the mission of SDS. The award recipient may or may not be an SDS member; there are no restrictions on who may be considered. This is the only SDS honor awarded directly by the Board of Directors, and it comes with complementary SDS meeting registrations. The Board may use the occasion of this award to honor someone from the host community of the annual meeting or the award could draw our attention to someone active in the arts and/or any public realm. In establishing this award, the Board of Directors wants to acknowledge all contributors to the development of disability studies and the advancement of disability justice. We look beyond the usual structure of SDS awards such as paper prizes, editors’ choices, and formal scholastic nomination procedures based on curriculum vitae and letters of reference. This award recognizes the full work of disability studies by noting that academia is only one point of focus of our efforts and creativity.

Laura Hershey, Inaugural Recipient (2012)

Laura Hershey, MFA (1962 -2010) was a Colorado-based writer, poet, activist, and consultant. She was a 2010 Lambda Fellow in Poetry. Her poems and essays explore diverse topics including body, nature, community, activism, social justice, and much more.

She is the author of Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities, a 2005 book offering stories and advice about international travel, published by Mobility International USA. Over 100 of her articles and essays have been published in journals, anthologies, websites and magazines including Waccamaw Journal, U.S. News & World Report, National Parks, Ms. Magazine, Topic, off our backs, New Mobility, Mouth magazine,,, and

Her poems have appeared in anthologies including Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights, Bigger Than the Sky: Disabled Women on Parenting, and Pushing the Limits: Disabled Dykes Produce Culture; and in journals such as, Bumbershoot, Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Gertrude, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review, Trillium Literary Journal, Kaleidoscope, The New Internationalist, Sinister Wisdom, Journal of Progressive Human Services, Slipstream, and several other literary journals, anthologies, and websites. Hershey wrote a blog called “Life Support” for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s website, and was a regular contributor to Huffington Post Denver.

Point your browser to for more about her activism and writing.