(logo designed and explained by Frieda Van de Poll)
Explanation of the logo:
The Kolibri or Hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible. For the native Americans, the bird is a symbol of rebirth, and of resurrection. It brings special messages for us, in its capacity of going in any direction; the only creature that can stop while traveling at full speed and the only bird that can fly backwards as well as forwards, up and down.
Frida had a special connection with this bird. She painted her eyebrows in the arc of the wings of the hummingbird, perhaps identifying herself with the extraordinary life skills of this colourful, tiny and vulnerable bird with the heart of an eagle. The logo is set in a stamp which fits the idea of the kolibri being a messenger…
Sisters of Frida CIC is an experimental co operative of disabled and allied women. We want a new way of sharing experiences, mutual support and relationships with different networks.
We are seeking to build a/or different networks of disabled women. The barriers and multiple discrimination have not changed, we struggle to have our voices heard as disabled women in our own rights.
We would like a sisterhood, a circle of disabled women and allies to discuss, share our experiences and explore intersectional possibilities.
Why Sisters of Frida?
We took a long time deliberating on a name. We are disabled women but that is not our only identity – we are also embracing the whole package of being women and disabled. And we believe strongly in the social model of disability. We want to celebrate the difference of being of different ethnic origins, different cultures and nationalities, of different sexual orientation, of being mums, having partners and being single women. We are creative and our creativeness is born from our identities – of the very pain of being impaired and disabled at times. But we are not victims.
Hence we found a role model in Frida Kahlo. She is not one immediately associated with disability and yet her art was filled with images of the crippled body. She was also an activist and she wanted a life full of love, of relationships. In her art we also glimpse the dark landscape of her mental health in the aftermath of still births and in her stormy relationship with Diego Riveria.
We can strive to live our lives as full as she did
Armineh Soorenian completed her PhD in Disability Studies in 2011. She studied disabled international students’ experiences in English universities with a view to create a more inclusive education setting. She has promoted these ideas in national and international workshops and presentations.
Armineh has served on a number of local and national committees related to disability and education, including the British Council’s Disability Advisory Panel and National Students Forum. She has also worked in disability arts organisations in Leeds. Through all these involvements, Armineh has gained a great deal of experience about multiple barriers disabled people face in their daily lives and how these can be removed, through policy and practice. This, reinforced by her firsthand experience of disability has infused her to work towards an equal and inclusive world for all.
Becky Olaniyi is an 18 year old student born with cerebral palsy. She took an interest in discussing and dismantling the social issues around disability in 2014 and has since then been unexpectedly met with several opportunities to express her views in front of an audience. Becky has facilitated a workshop on the colourism that is an integral part of non-white communities at the 2014 Feminism in London conference, spoken at Sisters of Frida events twice (so far!) and is scheduled to speak at the Women of the World 2015, SouthBank festival. She hopes that through Sisters of Frida she can help to improve the sense of identity and self worth felt by young disabled women, by helping them to acknowledge and understand all parts of themselves as individuals rather than simply being ‘that disabled girl’. Becky also hopes to find a way to teach non-disabled young people to view disabled people as capable and intelligent rather than easy targets for bullying or those who are shunned, pitied or patronised as a result of stereotyping.
Eleanor Firman is active in the arts.
She is composer, teacher and Music Director. As a collaborator with artists working in different mediums she has composed music for over twentyfive projects to date. She is also involved in the politics of Land and Natural Resources including affordable housing, taxation, banking and credit.
Eleanor is based in London.
Eleanor Lisney is the founder of Sisters of Frida, and co founder of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). She worked for Disability Awareness in Action (DAA) as their Access and Information Co-Ordinator.
She is the founding member of Connect Culture, a community based group based in Coventry. In the past Eleanor has been an appointed member of Equality 2025 and worked as Relationship Manager at the School of Lifelong Learning, Coventry University.
Eleanor is a member of the Access Association and the NUJ in the West Midlands. She is also on the British Council Disability Advisory Panel.
Lani Parker has worked on disability issues in various capacities including taking part in campaigns, facilitating training, and working within disabled people’s organisations in the areas of advice, information and advocacy. She has a particular passion for doing the work of connecting social justice issues.
She is excited to use her skills to contribute towards tackling some of the concrete issues that disabled women face.
Lucia Bellini currently works as an advocate for disabled people who are victims of domestic violence. She is also a Disability Rights Advocate where she assists people to access care packages, to be re-housed, to apply for benefits and to appeal against decisions they are not happy with.
Michelle Daley is an independent disability equality trainer, consultant and a campaigner. She has worked for a number of organisations both at local, national and international level to develop, promote and implement policies on equality and diversity. She is also a founder member of the 2020 Campaign. Her work has played a major role in promoting and influencing the inclusion of disabled people in the mainstream. Michelle is a former member of Equality 2025 and sits on the Independent Living Scrutiny Group.
For a number of years Michelle has actively worked at the grass root level addressing issues such as access, education, independent living and cultural diversity.
Maria Zedda was the vice Chair of the London 2012 Disability Communities Engagement Group, representing disabled communities’ feedback to LOCOG, organisers of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on issues of access, marketing and representation of disabled people.
Maria is also on the Board of Trustees for the British Library’s Business and IP Centre and a trustee of the Creative Board at Ability Media. She’s also a qualified Access Auditor and has achieved numerous Audit commissions, such as the British Library in London, to the Central Library in Edinburgh.
As a former solicitor, her day-to-day research work is not to do with disability matters. However, Sarah acts as a consultant for select clients on internal equality working groups. She is based in Birmingham and is a Trustee of the city’s Access Committee.