FAQ: What does our umbrella logo mean?

It started with my electric wheelchair.

Power wheelchair with rainbow umbrella
Power wheelchair with rainbow umbrella

The accessory kit for the wheelchair included an umbrella holder. I like shade. I spend a lot of time outside in my chair, and an umbrella is very helpful to sensory regulation.

When shopping for an umbrella to go with the chair, I came upon this rainbow one and knew I’d found my match. When I roll outdoors, I roll umbrella up and out, flying the colors of queer and neurodivergent pride and acceptance.

Meanwhile, we’d been searching for a logo for Stimpunks. When I turned to my cousin and fellow crip, designer Becky Hicks, she suggested we do a vector drawing of a 3/4 view of the umbrella wheelchair as a placeholder.

Vector drawing of power wheelchair with rainbow umbrella. Credit: Becky Hicks
Vector drawing of power wheelchair with rainbow umbrella. Credit: Becky Hicks

I love this design. I deployed it immediately to stimpunks.com and social media, where it remained as our icon and logo, until yesterday.

Yesterday, we updated our logo to this final design.

STIMPUNKS in black text with a black and white umbrella coming out of the U. Credit: Becky Hicks
STIMPUNKS in black text with a black and white umbrella coming out of the U. Credit: Becky Hicks

The umbrella remains.

We like the umbrella as a symbol of shelter, sanctuary, respite, community, inclusion, and pluralism. The umbrella emanates from and covers U and PUNKS, evoking our mission.

We exist for the direct support and mutual aid of neurodivergent and disabled people.

Source: Mission – Stimpunks

Staying alive is a lot of work for a disabled person in an ableist society…

Source: Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the 21st Century

The Stimpunks umbrella evokes…

Crip Space and Electric Belonging

The Stimpunks umbrella evokes crip space and the electrifying feeling of belonging.

It is very rare, as a disabled person, that I have an intense sense of belonging, of being not just tolerated or included in a space but actively owning it; “This space,” I whisper to myself, “is for me.” Next to me, I sense my friend has the same electrified feeling. This space is for us.

Members of many marginalized groups have this shared experiential touchstone, this sense of unexpected and vivid belonging and an ardent desire to be able to pass this experience along. Some can remember the precise moment when they were in a space inhabited entirely by people like them for the first time.

Crip space is unique, a place where disability is celebrated and embraced-something radical and taboo in many parts of the world and sometimes even for people in those spaces. The idea that we need our own spaces, that we thrive in them, is particularly troubling for identities treated socially as a negative; why would you want to self-segregate with the other cripples? For those newly disabled, crip space may seem intimidating or frightening, with expectations that don’t match the reality of experience-someone who has just experienced a tremendous life change is not always ready for disability pride or defiance, needing a kinder, gentler introduction.

This is precisely why they are needed: as long as claiming our own ground is treated as an act of hostility, we need our ground. We need the sense of community for disabled people created in crip space.

How can we cultivate spaces where everyone has that soaring sense of inclusion, where we can have difficult and meaningful conversations?

Because everyone deserves the shelter and embrace of crip space, to find their people and set down roots in a place they can call home.

Source: “The Beauty of Spaces Created for and by Disabled People” by s.e. smith in “Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the 21st Century“.

All human beings have the same innate need: We long to belong.

And finally, if you go back to Abraham Maslow, he identified “belongingness needs,” stating that, “if both the physiological and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, then there will emerge the love and affection and belongingness needs.” Psychological safety is a postmaterialist need, but it is no less a human need than food or shelter. In fact, you could argue that psychological safety is simply the manifestation of the need for self-preservation in a social and emotional sense.

Source: Clark, Timothy R.. The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety . Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Peer Respite

The Stimpunks umbrella evokes peer respite.

Afiya strives to provide a safe space in which each person can find the balance and support needed to turn a difficult time into a learning and growth opportunity.

Source: Afiya Peer Respite

Community: Magic, Resistance, and Power

The Stimpunks umbrella evokes the magic, resistance, and power of community.

What I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.

Community is magic.

Community is power.

Community is resistance.

–Alice Wong

Source: Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the 21st Century

For and With

The Stimpunks umbrella evokes creating for and with each other.

We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.

Source: Boggs, Grace Lee; Kurashige, Scott. The Next American Revolution (p. 47). University of California Press. Kindle Edition.

That’s What

That’s what the Stimpunks umbrella means to us. It started with a wheelchair accessory and became a logo, symbol, and reminder to foster inclusion, belonging, and pluralism.

Embracing pluralism is good citizenship. Democracy demands equal accommodation.

Pluralism is our reality.

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