Vella Panti is an initiative by Rising Flame to come together as a community in the wake of self-isolation induced by a global health crisis. For the disabled community, isolation and physical distancing is even tougher as our interactions hold us in care and warmth. Community solidarity in such times becomes even more important for us. Keeping this mind, we started Vella Panti, which is an online house party for persons with disabilities and friends! We intend to come together every Saturday in April 2020 on Zoom for some very exciting and fun-filled activities such book readings, film screenings, open mics, etc.
We had our first session on the first Saturday: April 4th at 3.30 pm IST.
For this session, we had planned a reading of the essays I'm Blind, So is Love by Nidhi Goyal and The Smartphone Freed Me: Dating as a Transwoman by Nadika Nadja from the book Eleven Ways to Love.
Invitation for the Vella Panti house party
We had over 60 participants who enthusiastically partook in the discussion and offered great inputs and insights. The entire session was live transcribed, the reading was close captioned and we also had a sign language interpreter present during our call.
A screenshot of the sign language interpreter, Shabina, signing during our session
Watch the entire session here
On the second Saturday: April 11th, we had a live screening of several short films on consent.
Invitation for the second session of Vella Panti house party
The first short film we screened was called Consent - A VICE. This is a film by HBO on sexual consent and how we hold those accountable who violate it. After the first screening we screened four out of a series of eleven videos on consent by Partners for Law and Development.
The screening was followed by some powerful discussions with two lovely activists Subha Wijesiriwardena- a queer-feminist activist, researcher, and writer/ blogger from Colombo, Sri Lanka, working on gender, sexuality and digital rights- and Shubha Kayastha- a queer feminist from Nepal and co-founder and executive director at Body & Data. We were very glad to see that we over 75 people participated in the session from four different countries.
Watch the entire session here
The third session in our series took place on the 18th of April. We had a podcast listening session around body image and body positivity. The two podcasts we listened to were Fat. So? by Suno India and The Conversation: Banishing body shame by BBC. Fat. So? podcasters Pallavi Nath and Ameya Nagarajan also joined us as speakers during the session. To bring in intersectional perspectives and to highlight the experiences of disabled women when it came to body image, we had our senior program's consultant Srinidhi Raghavan and our I Can Lead fellow Kavya Mukhija also join in as speakers. The diversity amongst speakers made for an extremely powerful discussion on self-love, body image, beauty standards, disability and pain.
Read about us in the Mid Day!