UC and California Level Opportunities in Advocacy in Education: Advocates for Social Justice on Campus and Beyond


UCSB Associated Students is the largest collection and student government/senate of student-run and funded organizations on our campus. Its mission is to help students uphold high academic standards and give them leadership, employment, cultural, and growth opportunities to serve the campus community. A.S is a non-profit organization and a department of the UCSB campus, funded by undergraduate student fees. Through elected student positions and appointments we voice student concerns and express student opinion to the UCSB administration, UC system, our community, and state and local governments. We have dozens of boards, committees, and commissions that are organized and funded through A.S. to enrich student life and give students services and opportunities not offered by the administration. Our mission is to help students uphold high academic standards and give them leadership, employment, cultural, and growth opportunities to serve the campus community. To learn more, or to get involved in any of the current organizations, commissions, and advocacy groups, including AS CODE, click here.

UC Student Association (UCSA)

UCSA is the official voice of students from across the 9 UC system of campuses. It is our mission to advocate on behalf of current and future students for the accessibility, affordability, and quality of the University of California system. At the 2022 Student Organizing Summit, CODE’s collective advocacy and UCSB’s student government’s continuous efforts were monumental in ensuring that “Disability Justice: Fund Our Services!” was the voted ACQUIRE campaign goal for the 2022-2023 year! To learn more or to get involved, visit here. Sophia and Cindy’s notes from the Students with Disabilities 2022 SOS Identity Caucus can be viewed here. You can also reach out to the A.S External Vice President of Statewide OR Local Affairs by emailing as-evpsa@ucsb.edu OR as-evpla@ucsb.edu

UC Access Now!

UC Access Now is a loose non-profit coalition of students, staff, and faculty working for accessibility and inclusion for all disabled people in the University of California community (as well as disabled visitors to UC locations). Their Demandifesto was written by Megan Lynch using input from disabled UC students from several campuses as well as some faculty. It was released in July of 2020, on the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) CODE encourages all members of our community to listen, learn, and read their collective power and wisdom.

UC Justice, Advocacy, Disability Education (UC JADE)

Are you are interested in disability advocacy on a UC systemwide level? UC Student Association is partnered with the group “Justice, Advocacy, and Disability Education” (JADE) recruiting. JADE’s vision is to serve as a catalyst for the reformation of practices within higher education to systematically remove barriers and uplift disabled students so that they can thrive in and beyond the classroom. When disabled students thrive on campus, they can feel more prepared for their careers and confident in their qualifications. JADE interest form here: https://forms.gle/ViPStGY45PJ9M5hk9 

Autism Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement and autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. We work to empower autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure our voices are heard in the national conversation about us. Nothing About Us, Without Us! The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN is a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community. We fight for disability rights. We work to make sure autistic people are included in policy-making so that laws and policies meet our community’s needs. We work to support all forms of self-advocacy and to change the way people think about autism. Our members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)

SABE is the United State’s national self-advocacy organization. We are a national board of regional representatives and members from every state in the U.S. Their mission is to ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends, and to learn from their mistakes.

Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC)

The mission is to strengthen the self-advocacy movement by supporting self-advocacy organizations to grow in diversity and leadership. In 2016, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), the oldest national self-advocacy organization in the country, was awarded a grant from the Administration for Community Living to establish the first-ever national Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC). The resource center is funded as a Project of National Significance by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities under the Administration on Disabilities.

Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston Think College is dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving research and practice in inclusive higher education for students with intellectual disabilities.

UCSB’s MultiCultural Center (MCC)

In 1987, the MultiCultural Center was created out of student demands, along with the support of the larger campus community, for a safer and inclusive community space for students of color at UCSB. With the original intent to facilitate the recruitment and retention of students of color and to combat intersecting systems of institutional oppression and racism, the center has grown, both in its mission and physical footprint, to address myriad social justice issues and take action in pursuit of a more just society. Through its pillars of educational programming, student engagement, and community outreach, the MultiCultural Center models a mutually supportive relationship with its students, and the campus at large, and serves as a bridge to the larger surrounding community. These pillars, along with the day-to-day interactions and opportunities for students and community members to foster and maintain connections, continue to ground the center as a shared community space that provides platforms for critical dialogue and serves to uphold a safer, welcoming space that validates marginalized identities.

UCSB Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL)

Student Engagement & Leadership (formerly OSL) promotes undergraduate and graduate student engagement and development through co-curricular programs, including campus organizations, fraternities, and sororities, leadership development, and civic engagement. We encourage widespread student involvement in campus life and the broader community to foster a sense of belonging with every student. We uplift student perspectives and champion leadership opportunities, new and continuing initiatives, campus organizations, and events. We believe that co-curricular activities play an integral role in student retention and success, and provide opportunities for academic, personal, career, and leadership development.

Asian Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC)

Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC) gives a voice and a face to Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. We seek to help break down the service and cultural barriers faced by APIs with disabilities, provide knowledge to APIs with disabilities and their families, and create a community network for empowerment and independence. Key to our mission is the development of the next generation of leaders — youth with disabilities.APIDC is a community-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to giving a voice and face to Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities.

We encourage and support APIs with disabilities through programs and initiatives emphasizing education, networking, and community building, including sponsoring statewide conferences attended by consumers, families, mainstream disability service agencies organizations  and community-based organizations within the API community, where APIs with disabilities are among the featured presenters, sponsoring small networking events for APIs with disabilities, sponsoring a unique leadership institute to train emerging leaders to become advocates on behalf of APIs with disabilities, and conducting original research aimed at identifying the particular challenges facing APIs with disabilities

Project LETS: Peer Support for Liberated Healing.

We build peer support collectives, lead political education, develop new knowledge and language around mental distress, organize and advocate for the liberation of our community members globally, and create innovative, peer-led, alternatives to our current mental health system. Project LETS is a national grassroots organization and movement led by and for folks with lived experience of mental illness/madness, Disability, trauma, & neurodivergence. We specialize in building just, responsive, and transformative peer support collectives and community mental health care structures that do not depend on state-sanctioned systems that trap our folks in the medical/prison-industrial complex. We work for and with multiply marginalized folks in our communities to provide access, political education, & material resources that are needed to survive and thrive. We believe in a world without systems of oppression, where non-carceral responses to crises are the norm!

Sins Invalid: True Trailblazers of Disability Justice

Sins Invalid is a disability justice-based performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and LGBTQ+/ gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized. Led by disabled people of color, Sins Invalid’s performance work explores the themes of sexuality, embodiment, and the disabled body, developing provocative work where paradigms of “normal” and “sexy” are challenged, offering instead a vision of beauty and sexuality inclusive of all bodies and communities.

Our Vision:

We recognize that our allies emerge from many communities and that demographic identity alone does not determine one’s commitment to liberation. Sins Invalid is committed to social and economic justice for all people with disabilities – in lockdowns, in shelters, on the streets, visibly disabled, invisibly disabled, sensory minority, environmentally injured, psychiatric survivors – moving beyond individual legal rights to collective human rights. Our stories, embedded in analysis, offer paths from identity politics to unity amongst all oppressed people, laying a foundation for a collective claim of liberation and beauty.

Our goals are to:

  • Promote leadership opportunities for people with disabilities within our communities and within the broader social justice movement.
  • Provide a supportive and politically engaged space for both emerging and established artists with disabilities to develop and present compelling works to a broad audience.
  • Develop and present strong artistic work that explores sexuality and the non-normative body, integrating the full and multi-dimensional experiences of disabled artists who are also people of color and LGBTIQ, in order to represent all of our communities and challenge dominant misperceptions about people with disabilities.

We do this by:

  • Offering political education workshops for community-based organizations and other organizations that share our commitment to social justice principles as a means of integrating analysis and action around disability, race, gender, and sexuality.
  • Presenting multidisciplinary performances (video, poetry, spoken word, music, drama, and dance) by people with disabilities for broad audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere.
  • Organizing performance workshops for community members with and without disabilities.

*** Be sure to follow us on Instagram @ucsbcode to follow and learn more about these amazing people, and to view the network of artists, visionaries, scholars, and advocates we follow!