Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Photo of a young Black woman with her hair parted and hanging down straight. She is smiling and facing the camera sideways in her wheelchair. She is outside under the tree branches while wearing a white and black dress.

Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!; Social Worker, Writer, Speaker, Activist

“Mentoring means uplifting the next generation so that they can continue to shape the world in ways that are within their expansive imagination. For me, I can’t wait to pass the torch to those who will come after me and watch them bring forward their truths that will enlighten us all.”

We are proud to induct Vilissa Thompson into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Vilissa Thompson is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) from Winnsboro, SC. Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization focused on promoting self-advocacy and strengthening empowerment among disabled people. Being a Disability Rights Consultant, Writer, & Activist affords Vilissa the opportunity to be a prominent leader and expert in addressing and educating the public and political figures about the plight of disabled people, especially Black women and femmes with disabilities.

She has been featured in ESSENCE for its Black History Now 2019 series and its “Woke 100 Women” 2018 list; spoke about her entrepreneurship and activism work for Forbes; invited to be a panelist for the Know Her Truths conference at Wake Forest University; invited to be a keynote speaker at Purdue University for its Focus Awards; and written for or appeared in Rewire, Bitch Media, Teen Vogue, CNN, MTV, Healthline, The Hill, NY Times (2020)/(2017), Black Women Radicals, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed.

In addition to her activism work, she is represented as a speaker by CCMNT Speakers.

She also acted as a consultant for the Sen. Elizabeth Warren 2020 Presidential campaign, where she assisted in the development of the Disability Rights & Equality policy plan.

She created the #DisabilityTooWhite viral hashtag in 2016 that addressed the lack of diversity within the disability community, and how a lack of representation impacts disabled people of color and their ability to feel fully included and accepted within the community. Demanding that diverse disabled experiences be seen within the media and the collective community is a mission for Vilissa’s activism focus, and she aims to make this a permanent reality.

Everything she does revolves around being unapologetically herself – Black, disabled, and making good trouble to shake up the status quo.