13 min

Using Our Voice Makes It Stronger What's The Matter With Me? Podcast

    • Health & Fitness

Disabled voices are just like regular voices, just like anybody. Using our voice makes it stronger, and it's doubly true for disabled people who've been disenfranchised, and hidden away, and censored.















Begin Transcript







JOHN HOPPIN: What these people said really impacted me and really moved me, so I wanted to talk about this.







Welcome. Thank you for tuning in. Welcome to the What's The Matter With Me? Podcast.







My name is John. I'm 41 years old, husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster, and I have multiple sclerosis. So, I made this podcast to share what I'm going through. What's The Matter With Me? is an MS podcast. Also, it's about other things.







I'm not a medical professional. You should not take this for medical advice. If you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.







The article that I'm looking at today is from the New York Times.







Dateline, July 26, 2020. We're 20 Percent of America, and We're Still Invisible. Disabled Americans are Asking for True Inclusion. By Judith Heumann and John Wodatch. Ms. Heumann is a disability rights advocate, Mr. Wodatch a civil rights lawyer.







"On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act into law. Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the A.D.A. was watershed legislation, the culmination of a decades-long campaign of organized protest and activism. It, too, was a victory in the struggle for equality for a group of people that had been systematically denied basic rights and access to public spaces and services.







"On the 30th anniversary of the law, it's only natural to want to celebrate. And we should. Yet just as many of the injustices that the Civil Rights Act aimed to eliminate are still very much with us, and still being resisted, the full promise of the Americans With Disabilities Act has yet to be realized. We are not yet where we need to be.







"Historically, disabled people have been hidden away. Disabled people can make nondisabled people feel vulnerable. This situation is thrown into sharper relief when we compare our visibility to that of other identity groups. If you're unconvinced, try this experiment: Randomly look at any 50 print advertisements. You will no doubt find racial and ethnic diversity. You'll see women and men of different sexual orientations. You will see gender fluidity and people of all ages. What you won't see, or you'll see very little of, are representations of disabled persons.







"This is just one expression of how the stories of our lives are excluded for general public discourse. Even though it's common for a disability to overlap with identities across the spectrum of minority groups, fighting discrimination on the basis of disability continues to take a back seat in our national consciousness."







There's a discussion about A.D.A. accommodations. And skipping down, she continues, "Requirements like making playgrounds and movie theaters accessible, providing sign language interpreters in emergency rooms or accessible websites for registering for community programs have been life-changing. But only when people with disabilities routinely work and play alongside their fellow citizens will deeper change occur.







"The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its predecessors have required inclusive education since the 1970s. And we have seen firsthand how the attitudinal barriers long common in this country are di...

Disabled voices are just like regular voices, just like anybody. Using our voice makes it stronger, and it's doubly true for disabled people who've been disenfranchised, and hidden away, and censored.















Begin Transcript







JOHN HOPPIN: What these people said really impacted me and really moved me, so I wanted to talk about this.







Welcome. Thank you for tuning in. Welcome to the What's The Matter With Me? Podcast.







My name is John. I'm 41 years old, husband, father of two, small business owner, radio DJ, podcaster, and I have multiple sclerosis. So, I made this podcast to share what I'm going through. What's The Matter With Me? is an MS podcast. Also, it's about other things.







I'm not a medical professional. You should not take this for medical advice. If you need medical advice, ask your healthcare provider.







The article that I'm looking at today is from the New York Times.







Dateline, July 26, 2020. We're 20 Percent of America, and We're Still Invisible. Disabled Americans are Asking for True Inclusion. By Judith Heumann and John Wodatch. Ms. Heumann is a disability rights advocate, Mr. Wodatch a civil rights lawyer.







"On July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act into law. Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the A.D.A. was watershed legislation, the culmination of a decades-long campaign of organized protest and activism. It, too, was a victory in the struggle for equality for a group of people that had been systematically denied basic rights and access to public spaces and services.







"On the 30th anniversary of the law, it's only natural to want to celebrate. And we should. Yet just as many of the injustices that the Civil Rights Act aimed to eliminate are still very much with us, and still being resisted, the full promise of the Americans With Disabilities Act has yet to be realized. We are not yet where we need to be.







"Historically, disabled people have been hidden away. Disabled people can make nondisabled people feel vulnerable. This situation is thrown into sharper relief when we compare our visibility to that of other identity groups. If you're unconvinced, try this experiment: Randomly look at any 50 print advertisements. You will no doubt find racial and ethnic diversity. You'll see women and men of different sexual orientations. You will see gender fluidity and people of all ages. What you won't see, or you'll see very little of, are representations of disabled persons.







"This is just one expression of how the stories of our lives are excluded for general public discourse. Even though it's common for a disability to overlap with identities across the spectrum of minority groups, fighting discrimination on the basis of disability continues to take a back seat in our national consciousness."







There's a discussion about A.D.A. accommodations. And skipping down, she continues, "Requirements like making playgrounds and movie theaters accessible, providing sign language interpreters in emergency rooms or accessible websites for registering for community programs have been life-changing. But only when people with disabilities routinely work and play alongside their fellow citizens will deeper change occur.







"The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and its predecessors have required inclusive education since the 1970s. And we have seen firsthand how the attitudinal barriers long common in this country are di...

13 min

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