Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Elizabeth Groeneveld


This capstone explores the exclusionary and ableist organizing and protest practices of social justice movements. Digital protest has become a solution to the problem of access, and has morphed into a sentencing of separation that is difficult to escape from. As such, how we protest and participate should be self-determined. Organizers should not assume that because a person has a disability they will be participating digitally, or from the confines of their homes. Equitable physical protest access is a disability justice issue that touches at the intersections of race, gender, class, and, of course, disability. Using intersectionality, black feminist thought, and disability justice I look at exclusionary and ableist practices within social justice movements, primarily through the assessment of gathering spaces. From the conclusions of my theoretical analysis, I then conduct accessibility audits of three Norfolk, Virginia businesses that have been used as social and organizing spaces by Hampton Roads social justice activists. I examine Eleanor’s Feminist Bookstore, the Muse Writers Center, and Cafe Stella. Each of these locations are in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk and were chosen for their proximity to Old Dominion University’s campus and downtown Norfolk. The results of my audits determined several areas of improvement for the businesses as well as areas that activists should be mindful of when choosing these businesses as sites for activities.


Copyright © 2023, Megan Callahan-Palko