Books for changing the world

Marta Russell

Marta Russell (December 20, 1951 - December 15, 2013) was an American writer and disability rights activist. Her book, Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract published in 1998 by Common Courage Press analyzes the relationship between disability, social Darwinism, and economic austerity under capitalism. Her political views, which she described as "left, not liberal," informed her writing on topics such as healthcare, the prison-industrial complex, physician-assisted suicide, poverty, ableism, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Disabled since birth, Marta's identity as a writer and journalist emerged as her disability progressed and she had to navigate the disability policy netherworld to survive. She became involved with disability rights groups such as ADAPT. A photographer as well as a producer of audio and visual content, Russell was recognized in 1994 with an award from the City of Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities for her contributions to disability society in the media. Russell was co-producer/correspondent for the KCET Life & Times documentary entitled, "Disabled & the Cost of Saying 'I Do", which was honored with a prestigious Golden Mike Award for Journalism (1995) from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California.

In 2016, Routledge Press published an anthology dedication entitled, "Disability Politics in a Global Economy: Essays in Honour of Marta Russell". Numerous authors contributed to the piece, which was edited by Ravi Malhotra. In October 2016 a Second Edition of "Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract" was released in Amazon Kindle format. The new edition features a new foreword by the anthology's editor, Ravi Malhotra.

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