My thoughts on what disabled and/or neurodivergent writers would benefit most from in an organization. This is all subject to change. Feel free to add what you think is necessary.
1. The best place to start is online. Many of us can't travel or cover the expenses of starting an organization... online can help with that. Anything done at a physical location will need significant financial backing. Even if online is the only place this exists, it could still be significantly beneficial. Unless it's a nonprofit, I don't see it branching out to "the real world" much.
2. We need intersectional disabled/neurodivergent poets and writers in some of the top positions. They know more about true inclusion and can find pitfalls or gaps that someone white, cishet, Christian... can't.
3. It would need to be accessible in as many ways as possible.
4. Membership wouldn't be a requirement for all things.
The organization would offer:
1. An online conference, free of charge. Possibly, one offline that's low-cost. Most-to-all presenters would be disabled and/or neurodivergent writers. There would be no stairs to get onstage.
2. Workshops and classes, online (at first). These would be for small groups, as to not overwhelm anyone.
3. Small prize "gifteds". Writers would apply, much like a grant, but receive something they need for their work like new reference books, software, etc. No cash given. Many of us can't apply for grants without jeopardizing medical care or grocery money...
4. A mentor program (may be online only).
5. A newsletter serving to promote member events, new writing, etc.
6. Working with certain literary magazines, virtual fellowships could be created similar to the Kathy Fish Fellowship. Other types of fellowships could follow.
What the organization wouldn't do:
1. Create a retreat/residency. I'd love one, but think a separate organization would be best for this.
2. Be present at the AWP conference. We have a great disability caucus there, already. Members can go anywhere they want, of course. We just wouldn't be there in an official capacity.
3. Offer full-on grants.
4. Charge membership fees. There might be unavoidable charges for some workshops or whatever, but these would be kept minimal. Finances are a barrier we don't need to impose on each other.
5. Have a new press associated with it. A press is a full-time commitment. Unless the organization becomes so successful it has "departments', it isn't going to start one. If an existing press wants to partner... that's different.
I'm certain there are things I'm forgetting in all of this. The organization's goal is simple: Connect disabled and/or neurodivergent writers together and provide resources to further craft and careers.
Everything would only work if a significant group of us banded together and made it so. I don't have nearly enough funds or know-how to begin this alone, hence the tiny blog.
What would you add in all this? Do you think an online organization would be helpful enough?