Patty Berne is the Co-Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Sins Invalid, a disability justice-based performance project centralizing disabled artists of color and queer and gender non-conforming artists with disabilities. Berne’s experiences as a Japanese-Haitian queer disabled woman provides grounding for her work creating “liberated zones” for marginalized voices.
Berne is widely recognized for their work to establish the framework and practice of disability justice which centers intersectionality and the ways diverse systems of oppression amplify and reinforce one another. As they explain, the disability justice framework was a reaction to the ways that the U.S. disability rights movement “invisibilized the lives of peoples who lived at intersecting junctures of oppression – disabled people of color, immigrants with disabilities, queers with disabilities, trans and gender non-conforming people with disabilities, people with disabilities who are houseless, people with disabilities who are incarcerated, people with disabilities who have had their ancestral lands stolen, amongst others.”
Berne’s training in clinical psychology focused on trauma and healing for survivors of interpersonal and state violence. Their professional background includes advocacy for immigrants who seek asylum due to war and torture, community organizing within the Haitian diaspora, international support work for the Guatemalan democratic movement, work with incarcerated youth toward alternatives to the criminal legal system, offering mental health support to survivors of violence, and advocating for LGBTQI and disability perspectives within the field of reproductive genetic technologies.