About Dessa

Originally a Southerner, Dessa loves the charm and hospitality of Detroit. Dessa is a proud Little Person, using her disability to challenge, endear, and cut lines at amusement parks. Training community organizers by day and earning her Masters of Social Justice after hours, Dessa loves shifting paradigms, breaking glass ceilings, and honoring the Feminine Divine. Click here to read more about Dessa
Author Archive | Dessa

‘Raw Rudeness’ Blog Draws this Response from a Zumba Instructor

Dessa Cosma’s honest blog post about her humiliating encounter as a woman with a disability wanting to take a zumba class is echoing within the instructor community:   Dear Dessa, I am so moved by the power and grace of your well measured words describing your experience. Thank you. There are all kinds of people in […]

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The World (or at least Michigan) Rocked by Strong Women

It happened! What an event …  women coming together to speak their minds – and hearts – about their bodies, kids and rights … from breastfeeding to Choice to factory farms that pollute our food streams. Importantly, echos from the Michigan Women’s Power Assembly invite women to ramp up and dig in to galvanize actions that […]

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The Sticking-Your-Neck-Out Guide to Loving Courageously

I’m not prosthelytizing. Believe me, I’m pretty sensitive about that after growing up as a religious minority in the Deep South. What I am though is extremely proud of my religious tradition, Unitarian Universalism, for being so affirming of our LGBT sisters and brothers. This morning on the way to work, I drove by my […]

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Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)

The Contours signed with Motown in 1960 and 50 years later I was dancing to one of their songs in the streets of Philly, as part of what is believed to be the first ever Crip Flash Mob*. Along with hundreds of other academics and activists, I was attending the Society for Disability Studies annual […]

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To Abort or Not? That is NOT the question

Well – just in time for Michigan’s Primary election – disability issues finally made it into the debate. Although it’s probably in one of the most hijacked and meaningless ways possible. Rick Santorum, the GOP primary presidential candidate is currently ahead in the polls here. But I wonder if his recent comments will turn that. […]

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What Women & Crips Have in Common

Nearly 5 years ago, Detroit Police Officer Tisha Prater was forced to go on unpaid leave when she revealed to her team that she was pregnant. Unlike wounded members of the Detroit Police Department, Officer Prater was not given the option of “light duty” under the circumstances. Instead, she was forced to choose between having […]

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“You look normal up top. I would have never known.”

All the handicapped parking spots appeared to be full. But there was hope – hope in the form of a dark blue Expedition with its blinkers on in the furthest spot. As I have learned to do, I inched up parallel to the driver and rolled my window down, smiling. Reluctantly, the woman in army […]

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They Giggled. I Knew Why.

As I stepped out of my car, I was concentrating on not slipping. The roads hadn’t been bad, but I quickly realized I had parked in an ice puddle. As I slowly made my way to the sidewalk, I heard giggling. “Heeheheeehee!” I looked up to see the two happiest teenaged girls I’ve ever seen […]

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The Shocking Truth About Detroit

Less than a year ago, I sat in a classroom with two dozen Detroiters when something hit me with the ferocity of a deep razor-sharp truth. We had only just met, but when our professor asked us to talk about what in our lives had lead us to work for social justice, we shared generously. […]

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