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Overcoming labels to be topic of Schneider Disability Issues Forum

National speaker and author Deborah Jiang-Stein will present “Beyond Labels: Disordered, Special Needs and At-Risk” at UW-Eau Claire’s eighth annual Schneider Disability Issues Forum at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 in Room 1415 of Centennial Hall. The forum is free and open to the public.

Jiang-Stein is the author of “Prison Baby: A Memoir,” a personal recounting of her nearly 20-year emotional lockdown and struggle after discovering she was born and spent her first year of life in prison with her heroin-addicted mother.

Childhood labels like “special needs,” “at-risk” and “disabled” led her to a life of rage, addiction and crime before pulling herself back from the brink of self-destruction.

“My whole book is about not wanting to be labeled,” said Jiang-Stein during a 2014 NBC News interview with Maria Shriver.

Jiang-Stein is the founder of the unPrison Project, a nonprofit that provides life skills and mentoring to incarcerated women and girls in preparation for life after prison.

In addition to “Prison Baby,” Jiang Stein has written “Women Behind Bars: Stories from prison, as told to a woman born inside” and “Even Tough Girls Wear Tutus: Inside the World of a Woman Born in Prison.” She grew up in Seattle and lives in Minneapolis.

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is free and open to the public; an interpreter for the deaf and captioning will be provided. Jiang-Stein’s book “Prison Baby” will available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is co-sponsored by the Chippewa Valley Book Festival; UW-Eau Claire’s Services for Students with Disabilities, Education Studies 385 course, and College of Education and Human Sciences; and the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

To make arrangements for accessible parking, contact Debra Lang at 715-836-5607 or langda@uwec.edu.