Honoring Stacey Park Milbern and her dream for a more inclusive world

“There is no reason for us to feel shame for who we are. We were born into this world exactly as we are. We are who we were meant to be.”

— Stacey Park Milbern

5-minute read

A Doodle illustration featuring Stacey, a tiger, an array of flowers, an orange tree, and her fellow activist friends chatting at the center — all woven together to create the word “Google.”

Stacey Park Milbern was a Korean-American, queer, disability justice activist. A dynamic leader, she advocated for people of color and trans and gender-expansive individuals to be included in the mainstream disability justice movement. On her 33rd birthday, May 19, 2020, Stacey passed away. But her message and vision for a more inclusive world lives on through her close friend and business partner, Andraéa LaVant.

Before Stacey’s passing, she and Andraéa started their dream collaboration with Google’s Brand Accessibility team to drive a lasting cultural shift toward a more accessible world — a partnership that is still going strong. On her 35th birthday, Google is paying homage to Stacey on its homepage with a vibrant Google Doodle — created by guest illustrator Art Twink in collaboration with Andraéa and Stacey’s family.

Celebrating the disability revolution Stacey led

Watch the video


Google celebrates Stacey Park Milbern’s powerful life and legacy with a Doodle for her birthday.

Screen reader accessible transcript

Stacey’s close friend Andraéa LaVant is a Black disabled woman and the founder and president of LaVant Consulting. She helps us remember Stacey by sharing how she challenged the way the world views and values disabled people.

Stacey was committed to grassroots activism. She firmly believed that we need to save ourselves, but that didn’t come from a sad place. She emphasized that what we do for our community should be created by the community, because no one else knows our needs like we do. Self-identifying as “your everyday queer Korean girl from the South,” Stacey truly uplifted intersectionality and connected those of us who often felt so siloed.

The Disability Justice Culture Club (DJCC) was the epitome of all she stood for when it came to multiply marginalized communities. Stacey’s home in East Oakland, CA, was the club’s center and gathering place for the disabled queer and/or BIPOC community. It was a safe space where people could come live and convene without apology. In response to the pandemic, DJCC provided for the community — making masks, building hand sanitizer kits, and fundraising for those in need of ventilators.

Andraéa LaVant and Stacey Park Milbern riding the San Francisco Bay Ferry together.

Stacey Park Milbern and Andraéa LaVant enjoying a ride on the San Francisco Bay Ferry

An illustration of Stacey wearing her favorite color, pink, with a colorful floral arrangement in the background.

Artist: Michaela Oteri

I also worked with Stacey on Crip Camp. We were co-impact producers on the Netflix documentary and, among many other initiatives, created a virtual camp experience that extended the movie experience by connecting disabled people and sharing their journeys to activism. Initially, we planned Crip Camp Virtual to be 8 weeks long, with hopes of 500 attendees. Beyond our wildest imagination, our attempt to broaden the impact of the film evolved into a new disability revolution. Crip Camp Virtual grew to be a 16-week camp that hosted an incredible range of guest speakers and nearly 10,000 attendees from around the world. Now an Oscar-nominated, award-winning documentary, Crip Camp has brought our disability community to the center stage of the world.

From teaming with executive producer and former President Barack Obama on Crip Camp to walking the red carpet at the Oscars, Stacey would be floored and in awe of what we’ve achieved.

Remembering Stacey’s dreams

A woman in a wheelchair speaks into a microphone held by a woman standing by her side.

Stacey Park Milbern speaks to demonstrators during a protest for disability justice.

“Stacey wasn’t just about centering disability, but the intersectional experiences of disabled people of color, queer and gender-nonconforming people, and indigenous people of color.”

Andraéa LaVant

Stacey was the most fierce, genuine, and loving frontline activist and biggest dreamer I’ve ever known. But more than her dreams, what motivated me most was her staunch belief that these dreams would become realities. In fact, it was these dreams that led us to Google. It wasn’t about charity or employment outcomes. Google truly believed in a systematic cultural shift and its role in partnering with the community to make the world more accessible.

When Stacey and I met with KR Liu, head of Brand Accessibility, we left feeling like the sky was the limit. We appreciated KR’s experiences as a queer disabled woman herself. We could easily envision opportunities for lasting change.

The night before Stacey went into the hospital for the surgery she didn’t recover from, she was dreaming about the possibilities of the future partnership with Google. Our list of “what ifs” from that night informed our proposal and served as the launchpad for LaVant Consulting’s partnership with Google that remains to this day.

An ongoing commitment to making the world more accessible

“We’re never done creating the world we need.”

— Stacey Park Milbern

With accessibility written into Google’s core mission statement, we’re using the power of technology and our reach to co-create a world where people with disabilities can thrive. We’re honored to partner with and for empowering disability justice activists like Stacey Park Milbern and Andraéa LaVant.

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