Stacey Milbern, a Warrior for Disability Justice, Dies at 33


That last quality was something experienced firsthand by Jim LeBrecht, who with Nicole Newnham directed the recent Netflix documentary “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution.” Ms. Milbern, along with Ms. LaVant, created a campaign to broaden the impact of the film.

“She focused our campaign towards those in the disabled community whose important contributions and teachings were often overlooked,” Mr. LeBrecht said by email, and developed workshops on self-care, sexuality, the history of disabled black activism and other topics.

“Here’s the point,” he said. “She would come up with ideas for our impact campaign that seemed outlandishly beyond imagination or possibility, and then pull it off in splendid fashion.”

Stacey Park Milbern was born on May 19, 1987, in Seoul, South Korea. Her father, Joel, was in the United States Army, and her mother, Jean (Park) Milbern, was self-employed.

Ms. Milbern was mixed-race — her father was white and her mother Korean — and identified as queer. She wore those labels with both pride and good humor. On a blog she maintained when she was living in North Carolina in the late 2000s, she described herself as “just your everyday queer corean girl living in the south.”

In a 2015 interview with her friend Dolores Tejada, she recalled an incident from fourth grade that first underscored for her that she was different. She still walked at the time, though unsteadily, and had fallen in a stall in the girls’ bathroom. Three classmates came in, and as she sat on the floor puzzling over how to get back up, she heard them chattering about frivolous stuff — “boys and bras and all of these girl things,” she said.

“It was just like, ‘Oh my gosh; they’re from another planet,’” she said. “Or I’m from another planet. We have a totally different reality.”

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