A waterfall is leaping water, the natural movement of which can change the shape of stone.

Image Description: A light skin person with clear glasses, graying black curly hair and a pink and yellow head scarf sits in front of his tuxedo cat, who is also looking into the camera.

Rebel Sidney Fayola Black

Rebel (he/him/his pronouns) is a Disabled, fat, gender expansive, zami, survivor femme witch. He is a fair toned Creole person. He has lived with complex pain conditions since 1994 and considers pain to be a generative force in his creative practice.

Rebel has spent the past 18+ years studying, practicing, and reflecting on social justice issues, actively participating in equity and inclusion work in a variety of contexts for the past 15+. As a multiracial, disabled, nonbinary, zami, and historically very low income person, he identifies as an occupant of liminal, between-worlds, and crossroad spaces in the United States. This helps him hold dialectical tensions and bridge varying perspectives while building relationship with his collaborators.

Rebel landed with Disability Justice (DJ) consulting because DJ encapsulates all forms of liberation in its “commitment to cross-movement organizing” and intersectionality. It is also a rich culture that is widely lacking  in our communities and deeply needed.

Rebel considers himself a healer of his lineage: generational curses are real, generational trauma is real. His role is to heal those traumas and break those curses. He has committed his life work to social change and transformation in order to heal the wounds of oppression in his family, lineage, and communities.

Rebel is an uninvited settler on the forcibly ceded lands of the Chinook, Cowlitz, and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in so-called Portland, Oregon USA.

Image Description: Text over image. Quotation from Rebel Sidney Fayola Black, Access Artist, Disability Justice Consultant. ‘When I’m producing work, I interrupt if there’s an access need. I don’t think, “Oh, it’s so important that the presenter gets to present their whole thing at the expense of people not understanding or people not being able to read the information and just leaving those people behind.” Instead, I say, “Hey, can we take a pause for a minute? We’re having some access issues.”’ Sea holly surrounded by lush foliage. DesirePathProject.com


“Our community was blown away by the way Deanna and Rebel modeled an accessible presentation and space for all participants. Participants expressed feeling more courage to engage in equity work. At the same time, the social justice truths they spoke were received as prophetic and deeply spiritual.  We are attempting to integrate practices they modeled for us, like access check-ins, frequent five minute breaks, and slowing down. Even though we’re a ‘disability organization’ and move slowly in many realms, we are often tempted to move quickly where we can. Deanna and Rebel helped us remember the power of slowing down, both to increase accessibility, and to serve as an antidote to white, ableist culture.”

– Jessica Bridges, L’Arche Portland

“Rebel’s knowledge and practices in disability and racial justice have been a beacon for me since meeting him in 2016. His care for community is so clear through the ways he utilizes his energy and expertise. Always willing to give the difficult feedback (so we can all move forward together), Rebel is both gentle and steadfast. Rebel lives their values through sharing his home, community organizing and pursuing a career that allows him to share his perspectives and gifts. Rebel is well-versed in navigating oppressive systems and supporting others in doing the same. His conduct makes it clear that he is dedicated to living ourselves into the future we want. Rebel models ‘new’ ways for us to work alongside each other to support the liberation of our society’s most marginalized members. The wisdom that Rebel has gained through lived experience and attunement to his ancestors and culture is undeniably valuable.”

-Chelsea Oakerson, MSW

“I’ve witnessed Rebel’s work as a community organizer, thinker and disability justice and racial/ survivor justice movement worker, and collaborated with him, for the last 5-10 years. I am always struck by his clarity, honesty, generosity and how hard he works to bring people together, always coming up with disabled Black innovative solutions and strategies to get people what they need. He excels at horizontal and facilitative leadership and is extraordinarily good at talking to and listening to people and working to help folks see themselves as the leaders they already are and gain skills along the way.”

– Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, 
disability justice worker, author, Care Work.

“Rebel is a brilliant and compassionate thinker, facilitator, accomplice and mentor on a range of issues including trauma, oppression, mental health, disability justice, racial justice, gender and other aspects of identity and experience. The combination of personal lived experience, theoretical knowledge, deep passion and gentle care he brings to his work supports individuals and organizations to shift practices to more just and equitable ways of being. Working with Rebel is a high honor. I recommend him most sincerely.”

-Choya Renata, Metro

“Rebel does a great job combining a few key aspects in effective justice work: he often leads with an honest, but disarming kind of humor that makes truth telling and radical honesty more accessible.He also brings great care to his work, making sure each person knows their perspectives matter, that they matter.He is direct and uses his own resilience and courage in powerful ways to help others understand their own power and how to use it to heal and build up the larger community.”

– Nathan Holst, MSW

Recent Projects and Experiences

Creator of Disability Justice Dreaming Sessions, gentle gatherings where participants build relationship through reflection and imagining.

Founder and President of Disability Justice Dreaming, an organization by and for Disabled LGBTQ2SIA+ and BIPOC people, 2021.

Awarded NWHF Advancing Disability Justice Grant to host a Disability Justice Organizational Leadership Conference, 2021 (Conference to be held in 2022-2023).

One of three international panelists for Starling Collective kickoff event, 2021.

Co-facilitator for Disability/Representation 2021: #AccessIsLove in Action.

Founding Member, Leaping Water LLC (2020).

Awarded Starling Collective grant and Northwest Health Foundation Advancing Disability Justice grant to create the As We Are: Disability Justice and Community Care Conference (2020).

Founder (2019) of the Portland Disability Justice Collective, a mutual aid group by and for disabled people in the Portland Metro OR and Vancouver WA area. 

Received President’s Diversity Award: group award for work on the Students of Color Expectations for PSU’s Graduate School of Social Work (2017).

Member of Northwest Health Foundation’s Disability Justice Leader’s Collaborative (2017-2018).

Participated in the Healing Roots Community Advisory Committee at Bradley Angle (2015-2016).

Supported cross-class cafe Sisters Of The Road in becoming a collective (2012-2015). Developed and co-facilitated racial justice and anti-oppressions trainings, strategic planning, and structural change within the organization.

Attended 30-hour mediation training through Resolutions Northwest.

…and more!

Image Description: Rebel is sitting on a concrete bench at the beach. His new color partial sleeve tattoo is visible: it has red yarrow, pink bleeding heart, and purple clematis with western red cedar in the background. He is wearing a handwoven red and gray woven wool shawl that still smells slightly of sheep.


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