Young Gifted Black & Disabled: Supporting Our Sisters

On a brown tweed and tan background is the  text, REID MY MIND RADIO in bold capital letters. Underneath reads Young Gifted Black and Disabled: Supporting our Sisters.   Under the wording on the left is Lisa Bryant: A dark-skinned woman with shoulder length highlighted locs sitting outside on steps. She is wearing dark lipstick and her smile is closed. In a slightly tilted pose, one hand rests underneath her chin while the other is atop her crossed legs. She is wearing a blue and wine collared paisley collared shirt with beige slacks. On the right is Heather Watkins: A smiling light-skinned Black woman, hair in a bun atop her head, blue button earrings, makeup with red lipstick. She is wearing a olive-colored blazer and blue and white patterned blouse with a long necklace of various blue-colored pendants

As we close out the 2022 season of #YGBD, I’m passing the mic to my sisters!

Boston based Disability Advocate Heather Watkins and Lisa Bryant, a Philadelphia freelance journalist join me to discuss just some of the challenges affecting disabled Black women.
We’re talking career, relationships, parenting, healthcare and more.

Plus, don’t forget to check out the ACB Audio Description Awards Gala hosted by yours truly along with one of our RMM Radio sisters, Nefertiti Matos Olivares.

While this is the official last episode of 2022, be sure to subscribe or follow Reid My Mind Radio wherever you get podcasts. You never know when I might get in the mood to drop a special holiday episode.

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Transcript

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TR: 00:00
Greetings, family, and welcome back to the podcast. That’s right, I got candy in my mouth. Should I take it out? Or should I just do the whole podcast like this? (Mumbles unintelligibly… ) You know? I’m not recording am I?

— Tape rewinds
— Music begins: Snare hits increasing in volume into a smooth R&B instrumental…

Welcome back to the podcast featuring compelling people impacted by all degrees of blindness and disability in general. My name is Thomas Reid, I’m your host and producer. We’ve reached the last episode of the YGBD 2022 Season, you know, that’s Young, Gifted, Black, and Disabled. Some people ask me, Thomas, why Young Gifted Black and Disabled? My first reaction? Why not? Then I’m like, Nah, that’s not polite. Am I lying.

Now, if you just caught what I threw down and responded, either in your mind or out loud, “No, you’re quite right,” you and I share something that has nothing to do with blindness. However, that thing we share could also make our experience of blindness different from others. In this particular case, my reference was to an early rap song by Doug E Fresh called “The Show”. Just one of many Hip Hop references you will find in the history of this podcast. While Hip Hop isn’t necessarily an identity, one can make a good argument for being one. I personally will always identify as being hip hop. Black is definitely an identity. That intersection between Black and disabled has its own unique experiences that need to be discussed, even for the sole purpose of centering the experience of Black disabled people in the disability conversation. That’s of real value to me.

Then there are the additional levels of identity. Last year. We closed out YGBD discussing masculinity. We went places I didn’t know we were going, but I’m glad we did.

— Music stops

So this year… (repeats in an echo effect)

— DJ scratch
— Music begins: Snare hits increasing in volume into a smooth R&B track.
R&B crooner sings, “Ladies… Beautiful Ladies!”…
– “Ladies” Lee Field and the Expressions

— Reid My Mind Radio Theme Music

TR:

allow me to introduce you first to Boston based advocate, Heather Watkins…

Heather: 02:20
I self identify as a Black disabled woman, born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy, who didn’t always use mobility aids like I do now. I’ve been using them for the past 15 years including a cane and on occasion a manual wheelchair and also a ventilator to assist compromised respiratory muscles. I am a mother, blogger, author and I serve on a handful of disability related boards and projects including as a former chairperson for the Boston Mayor’s Commission, for Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board, the Disability Policy Consortium, the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities and Open Door Arts. My pronouns are she her hers.

TR: 03:06
Also joining me today co host of the white stick Connect podcast from Philadelphia, PA, Lisa Bryant

Lisa: 03:12
I’m a Black female, dark skin with locs. And I’m currently a freelance journalist. And I’ve written for few local platforms but also looking to expand my reach, looking at some national opportunities. I was just recently appointed to the board of the Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation

TR: 03:35
Two Black women with different disabilities, each bringing a unique experience of disability.

Lisa: 03:41
In terms of identifying my disability, I struggle with using the white cane but I’ve had to do that a little more of late. I went most of my life without having any difficulty. I was still driving. Then along came 2011 things took a turn and I had to stop driving and adjust to being legally blind.

— Music begins: A piano melody leads into a slow, dramatic groove.

TR: 03:59
If I asked you what does it mean to be a woman? Perhaps you have a list of things that come to mind. Maybe you even strike up with images that represent that. What does it mean to be a Black woman? What comes to mind now?

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
I want to start here with what did you learn about being a Black woman as a child? What were the lessons that you were getting, whether they be from adults in your life, even from the media, like what was sort of the things that you were learning about being a Black woman, Heather you want to start it off?

Heather: 04:30
I grew up in the city of Boston, we lived in a section called Dorchester, which is one of the predominantly Black areas. Roxbury Dorchester Mattapan.

It was definitely a matriarch. My grandmother lived on the second floor. Aunties lived on the third floor. There was always family around. I was surrounded by strong women and bringing that up from the Greenwood Mississippi. All that wisdom sort of poured into me from my grandmother having grown up in the Jim Crow south. She laughed and joked, but she did not play. We didn’t have everything afforded to us. You kind of get inventive? I learned, if it’s not there, we’ll figure it out

TR: 05:11
pretty valuable skill, especially necessary as a disabled woman

Heather: 05:15
in terms of disability an being a Black disabled woman, Across the media landscape, I didn’t see that reflected back in ways that I found meaningful. Flip through beauty magazines, I didn’t see Black disabled women openly identified that way. That message was like, Where are we? Why is that hidden? What I didn’t see in the media I saw within my family.

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
Lisa, same question.

Lisa: 05:41
My family images were very strong women. But I definitely remember as a very young girl, being more influenced by media and even classmates, when I was growing up, dark skin was not necessarily appreciated. We were teased about being dark. I didn’t like being teased. I was an only child, my imagination sometimes got very creative. I had an imaginary friend and she was exactly opposite of me. She was lighter skin, long, long hair. That was just what I did. And that was just how I imagined. I guess the way I sort of internalized that I just accepted that as No, that’s kind of the way it is. I don’t know that I remember even having meaningful conversations with my parents about that. I think I probably just kind of tuck that away. Later on. I thought, wow, how about that kind of self hate.

TR: 06:44
I really admire and appreciate Lisa for being so honest, and sharing that with us. It’s hard being vulnerable, that something only really strong people can do. That hate doesn’t start from inside us. It’s just another tool of white supremacy. A systematic approach to establishing power, by convincing Black people in others of color to feel inferior. It’s anti-Blackness at its finest.

Internalizing negative beliefs. That’s not just about race or color.

Lisa: 07:12
Fast forward to becoming legally blind, like Heather said, When did you see, on the cover of a magazine, someone very proudly, in a wheelchair, or proudly using a white cane?

I had absolutely no one else to relate to until becoming a member of the local NFB chapter. And even those that I did see some of the elderly people like in my church who vision was failing, I was so much younger, and I still had usable vision. So that was just a whole different world, the age I think, alone being like the big kind of barrier. So then it’s becoming a matter of, well, let’s see how we can fake this without making this announcement about my disability. It’s funny how much you just kind of internalize and live through things, and accepted as normal, even though it’s really not.

— Music ends.

TR: 08:13
Actually, I think these reactions are quite normal. I don’t think anyone wants to feel less than, unfortunately, what has been normalized is the idea that beauty is one thing. Disabled anything means inferior.

We can keep on with other things like age, gender…

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
I’m wondering whether your experience with disability, how did it impact the definition of Black womanhood? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Heather: 08:38
Sure. I think it definitely evolved. So when we talked about disability, what back then we would say, quote unquote, handicapped, your handicap, but your healthy. So it was spoken about like that. The exposure that I got, regarding disability at that time was through MDA camps, Muscular Dystrophy Association camps, and like clinics. But still, I wasn’t seeing all the Black disabled kids. I saw maybe one during summer camps.

TR: 09:09
Every summer for about a week, Heather, as a child would stay at these camps for children with muscular dystrophy in the New England area, a chance to get away from the city environment.

Heather: 09:18
It was just like one, or maybe another person who was of color, or certainly only like one Black kid. And the messaging there too, was like, I have to go outside of my community to see other kids with visible disabilities. It was hard to really connect and have that kind of support system where you can connect with other kids in peers, who are disabled to talk about your life experience, but also to talk about frustrations because that’s important to getting tips and resources. Those weren’t things I discovered until much later in advocacy circles, so important in terms of building your own self awareness and even sharpening your advocacy skills.

TR:10:04
As a child Heather never really had the chance to form any sort of relationships with other Black disabled children.

This reminds me of the time in 2020 when clubhouse was new, and the 15 Percent Club was rockin. We hosted an event to discuss Black disability experiences. There had to be 30 people or more predominantly Black. Read my mind radio alum and CO producer of the first YGBD episode, AJ Murray famously remarked that it was his first time being in the presence of that many Black disabled people. There were several others who acknowledged it being their first time as well.

Lisa: 10:40
I had a similar experience when I went to a national convention. So this was 2019. I knew of other Black people in the Federation who were blind, but I had never been in the same circle with them. That was the first time and it was like, wow, I went a long time without really having anyone else who got me not just being female, not just being Black, but being visually impaired female or Black, or at least two of the three. It was a long, long, long, long time.

Heather: 11:15
What if we were exposed to cultural icons in grade school, who had disabilities? How that might have shaped and impacted our awareness? I’m talking about like Fannie Lou Hamer, and Harriet Tubman, Brad Lomax Sojourner Truth, all of them had disabilities, and it also impacted their life, how they govern their lives. Imagine learning that at such a young age or even being newly disabled, how that would shape your awareness and your concept of disability.
We get so many messages that downplay or erase disability because people generally assume that it’s synonymous with negativity. It has a much wider lens, it’s actually very comprehensive.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 12:01
Heather’s describing what we mean when we talk about disability isn’t what you think it is.

Consider how disability is talked about. Often from the perspective of a diagnosis. It’s used as a metaphor, often to indicate negativity:

— Music begins, melodic, dramatic strings…
TR in a mimicking over dramatic voice
“, she was blind to what was going on around her.”
TR in a “Financial commentator” voice
“That will cripple the economy.”

Heather: 12:20
Who would I be, without having a disability and the evolutions and the twists and the turns and all of the folks that I’ve met in advocacy circles, especially diverse advocacy circles, who really has been a mirror for me, in validating that and raising that ceiling, where I was often capping my own potential.

So I often like to say I’m a woman in need of care, a caregiver and a community builder, all at once. But if you redact any part of that bio, then you reduce my community contribution, and visibility. It impacts every aspect of your lived experience in determining key quality of life areas. housing, health care, education, employment, how you live, how you shop, dine, socialize,

— Music fades out.
— Sounds of a woman walking down busy city street.

TR: 13:15
let’s get into these lived experiences, beginning with relationships.

Lisa: 13:19
I was walking down the street with my cane, and I just kind of had an image of myself. And I just had a thought, Well, I wonder what attention I don’t get now because of this cane.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 13:33
So you walking down the street looking cute. You got the white cane? I don’t know what your status is dating, married, not sure of your status. But how has it affected that part of your life?

Lisa: 13:45
I have not been actively dating. So I’m not on any kind of dating website or anything like that. There’s certain places where I’m very familiar with my surroundings, and I may not have it right out. The sort of compliments or whatever I make it. I don’t think I had the cane.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 14:05
So they try to holla when you don’t have the cane?

Lisa: 14:08
Yeah.

Sometimes I hear people say, well, blindness doesn’t define you. I know what they mean by that sentiment in terms of, they don’t want it to define you in a negative way. But at the end of the day, it is a part of you. It’s just as much a part of you as anything else about you your name your hair color. So let’s not sort of suppress that. There’s got to be a way to embrace it, put it out there, but in a way that just lets you know, people know like, this is who Lisa is, in fact, it’s an integral part of me because it does define my world. I navigate my world as a visually impaired Black woman. People probably see the ladder first.

Then there’s the cane.

TR: 14:49
The cane we know serves multiple purposes. First, an aid to orientation and mobility.

Lisa: 14:57
It’s just as much for me and my safety. but it’s also an identifier. It’s a way of saying to the world, you may think I see you, but I may not. Or I may only see you til you’re right up on me. I need to accept that it may sort of reduce some dating opportunities. But then, at the end of the day, are those really people I’d want to date anyway. Maybe one day, it’ll actually attract the right guy.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 15:25
Heather, what do you think

Heather: 15:27
I was so ambivalent, for a while to use a cane 15 years ago, because I was thinking I was quote, unquote, giving in to my disability, it’s gonna make me appear weak and old. Then it dawned on me that this is a mobility a that is quite liberating. It’s helping me get from point A to point B, giving the nod that yeah, I’m in charge of my life here. I’m not sitting idly by, I’m actually moving and grooving. Those are the kinds of epiphanies and internal dialogue that I had to have, in rooting out that internalized ableism. So much of our gaze comes from a non disabled viewpoint. You’re not even conscious of it until you are and then you’re like, oh, wow, I’m comparing myself to all the non disabled peers and counterparts. And it’s just so self injurious.

TR: 16:23
It’s not only canes and adaptive equipment we use in public.

Heather: 16:27
I especially felt that when I started using the ventilator, and it looks like scuba gear. And I’m like, how sexy is that? Because it feels like a robo breather. I’m like, what partner’s gonna see that as sexy. I had to really think about all of those kinds of things in terms of dating and being attractive to the opposite sex and what that means for me, in terms of acceptance, it goes back to not having those kinds of images across the media landscape where the storylines are informed by disability, from a comprehensive viewpoint, where the person is a love interest, maybe they’re running a business, maybe they are parents, maybe they’re out and about moving around in the world, making really critical decisions. We are starting to see more of those images now. And the first thing I think of is on Queen Sugar. It’s informed by Ava DuVernay because she has lupus. And so Aunt Vy has lupus and is a matriarch, she’s married. She’s a business owner, community builder. When you have those kinds of storylines, mirrored in that meaningful way, you can best believe those get absorbed by people. And then we have new ideas and people can conceptualize disability in a much grander way. I’m thankful for shows like that. Echoing all of those thoughts and the ideas of what beauty is. Sex, sexuality, pleasure, kink? How often do we hear that all juggled in the same sentence with disability? There are quite a few Disabled Parents, including myself. And guess what, those kids, you know, were conceived the old fashioned way.

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
(Interrupts)
Not immaculate conception!

TR, Heather & Lisa chuckle!

Heather:
So we exist.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 18:22
So let’s go there.

— Music begins: A slow vibrato synth, leads to snare hand claps and a driving confident Hip Hop beat

You said that being disabled really has informed your parenting? Talk to me about that?

Heather: 18:29
Sure. I had to leave my job due to progression of disability. And that was probably when my daughter was like around nine or 10. I was so nervous about the fact that what does this mean for me? What’s the next step? So I really had to contemplate the trajectory of my life. It was doubly scary for me because I had these little eyes watching you, right? And they absorb everything around them had to get real clear. Take that internal deep dive and figure out, what would you like to do next. And I said to myself, you know, you need to provide a blueprint, an example for how it would be for your daughter, and not that she needs to be at home, but be more empowered to make her own decisions and choices. I just moved very slowly and methodically. I started thinking about what I was passionate about. I was thinking about disability advocacy. I ended up taking a class that the State offers. It’s called the Massachusetts office on disabilities, Cam training class, Community Access Monitor. Little steps I was taking to figure out where I wanted to go next and how I wanted to impact the world. I didn’t just want to instruct her. I want to give you an example. What to do when how to be a person that contributes to your own community. Disability impacted my parenting by being more mindful and intentional about all of my life’s choices.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 20:03
How old is she today?

Heather:
She’s 28.

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
Okay, what’s the impact on her life?

Heather: 20:08
She is a very strong willed empowered out and proud member of the LGBTQ community, her seeing her mother be involved in, in advocacy circles. It made her more open to just being herself in a very big and loud, authentic way.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 20:30
There’s sort of like an “outness”, about disability.

Heather:
Yeah.

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
I dig it!

TR:
What about the impact disability has on a person’s career?

Lisa: 20:38
That is a very important question. And in my case, it’s just starting to turn around. Before my vision became more complicated. And before I even knew all of the resources, assistive technology, I was a senior development officer at a local nonprofit and doing very well in that. But it just got harder and harder to see my work got harder to see on the computer, I couldn’t drive at night. And some of these one on one donor opportunities would be in the evening outside of the city, which meant small streets, maybe dimly lit, and I just couldn’t do that. I actually ended up mutually separating from that position. And it was a long time before I could really figure out okay, what can I do?

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 21:34
I have this thing about that question. What can I do? I mean, I know a specific,

Lisa: 21:39
What can I do on a computer? What could I do where I wouldn’t have to drive and I could just get easily to places on public transportation?

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 21:45
It’s very practical. But there’s a larger question.

Lisa: 21:48
I remember the day when I thought, what do I want to do? I want to do something a little more creative. During the pandemic, I went to school for journalism. This has just birthed , well, maybe rebirth, something altogether new in me. I just think that that writing bug was there for a long time. But just dormant.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 22:10
Journalism was a real interest of leases in her college years.

Lisa: 22:14
I just kind of tabled it all those years ago. Although I really did love journalism. I didn’t like the career paths that were available then. So I just went in all kinds of different directions. Now. I can work remotely, I can do human interest stories. I don’t have to cover murders and fires and burglaries. There’s so much more out there. I can cover the nonprofit sector I can write about in justices. I absolutely love it. And I love that I can do something that’s mentally challenging. Sometimes it’s nerve wracking, but I get to talk to people the same way I did when I was in development, because that’s all about cultivating relationships, you have to know how to communicate to all different types of people. So I think I’ve found my fit. However, I have yet economically to be at that level.

— From ABC News broadcast: 23:07
Today marks the day, the average Black woman working full time must work into 2021 to catch up with what an average white non Hispanic man earned in 2020.
Let me Repeat that. Today, August 3, 214 days into the year is when an average Black woman worker will have to catch up to her white male counterparts. 2020 pay. According to the National Women’s Law Center, Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar made by white men across industries.

— Music ends

TR:
Yet!

Lisa: 23:39
I’m much more fulfilled than I had been in a long time since 2011, when I was declared legally blind.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 23:47
I’m just curious, do you see that as an opportunity that was presented by disability?

Lisa: 23:54
I guess the disability has kind of opened that because it’s allowed me to do it on my terms. I could do it from my computer and I could use 12 time magnification if I need to. And nobody has to know you know, I could have my screen reader on nobody has to know. So yeah, yeah, I suppose it has.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 24:16
Okay, good. Good.

Heather: 24:18
How many similarities? Wow, I’m a Mass Comm major. My daughter was very young when I graduated. So I was going to go to school full time, be a mother full time, but I couldn’t, you know, add on the internship part of it. So when I left college, I started working for a health insurance company. It wasn’t until years later that I got involved in writing and blogging and doing freelance work like that. Disability definitely impacted that sort of rebirth and rebranding you were talking about being online and using the internet. Hasn’t that been such a great equalizer in that way for so many disabled persons? I’m not only talking about obviously a parent, but not a parent in chronic illness, folks who, for one reason or another may not be able to get to a brick and mortar location for being online, they have access to remote work or flexible hours and balancing work life.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 25:15
Meanwhile, there are real benefits for hiring and retaining disabled employees.

Heather: 25:20
So many of us have higher sensitivity levels. Have adaptive and analytical skills, logistical skills like nobody’s business, we know workarounds, contingency plans, so many of us are out of the box thinkers. I tell people all the time, you want disabled folks in your employ, in your planning committees, event committees, your communities, your corporations, because there’s a lens and a lived experience that you’re not tapping into that that asset to your organization.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 25:53
Do you see any sort of examples that say, okay, yeah, I see some of this taking place now?

Heather: 25:58
The pandemic, really put that into overdrive, right? So many people were saying, Oh, no, we can’t accommodate you in this way, for remote work and being able to access even entertainment and theater, then all of a sudden, voila, overnight. Everyone has access. So it wasn’t a question of why it couldn’t be done. It just couldn’t be done for y’all!

TR: 26:21
One of several things revealed during the pandemic is the inequity in health care,

Lisa: 26:26
I was thinking of an Article I just wrote on Black women in breast cancer, the death rate is much, much higher for Black women. Nationally, it’s close to 40%, which is ridiculous. So there’s that in general disparity of health care for Black women. But then you add this other layer of having a disability. Now I am in the two worlds.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 26:53
That second world, if you will, is this ability.

Heather: 26:56
It’s been 32 years, since the Americans with Disabilities Act signing, we’re still having to advocate so much for the smallest of rights, it really is daunting and exhausting. nearly 62 million in this country identify as having some form of disability, one out of four people 25% of the population, nearly 1 billion globally, it’s a sleeping giant of a demographic that needs a much better marketing plan.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 27:28
So when someone who is blind, for example, walks into a medical establishment,

Lisa: 27:32
I generally am carrying my white cane. And it’s amazing to me how they’ll see the white cane and still give me a clipboard. People just don’t get it. They only know this is what I do. I’m the receptionist, this is what I do. You come in you tell me your name, I give you a clipboard. Look, I can’t fill out your little iPad. I know it’s cute. And it’s like the way to go here. But that’s not going to work for me. And there have been times when they’ve been helpful. And there have been times when I’ve been dismissed. Some of the same challenges can be addressed if there were more sensitivity and people to help. Because it’s not only vision, it’s not only physical, their language barriers, there’s not being tech savvy,

Heather: 28:19
lack of cultural competence regarding disability, gender, and race, especially when you have providers who are not very knowledgeable about disability, but also, maybe the hospital or healthcare setting is not outfitted for receiving you in a very physical and literal way. Maybe the doorways aren’t wide enough, maybe you can’t access the bathroom because it’s inaccessible. Or if you’re someone like myself, who had difficulty getting on the exam table, because you needed a hydraulic one. And so you had to forego your GYN exam, because you couldn’t access the table that resulted in me filing a complaint with the patient advocacy department. So the next time my follow up visit, that hydraulic exam table was there because along with that complaint form, I included a copy of the part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That said I had a right to accessible medical care.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 29:16
So you have to advocate just for you to go to the doctor and give them money.

Heather: 29:22
Had to do it more than once to a different providers office. You’re not always believed, so many stories of pain management, managing the variety of disabilities, whether they’re a parent, not a parent or include chronic illness, we should all have the right to have medically accessible care that is done with culturally competent providers.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 29:43
That’s medical providers that are not only familiar with the differences, but also value them. That’s reflected in process policy and services.

Heather: 29:52
When I was younger, I was only considering apparent disability and our families. How many of us have died At heart disease, I have died from complications of diabetes. My father, he ended up dying of kidney disease. I took care of him for the last 11 years of his life in our home, just an interdependent relationship, because he’s helping me physically. And I’m helping manage his entire health care, all while raising a daughter. And then also having my nephew come into my home through a DCF kinship placement, Department of Children Family Services placement as a older teenager who had intellectual disabilities.

So many of us live interdependent lives. And when juggling so many responsibilities, we are practicing those kinds of advocacy skills in real time. That’s the real commentary for a lot of Black disabled women.

TR: 30:47
All you have to do is follow disabled Black women on social media. And you’ll know that we’re just touching the surface of the many challenges they encounter on a daily basis. And yet, they see hope.

Lisa: 30:59
The small things can mean a lot. I have had to say that I’m visually impaired I use assistive technology. I’ve got well, how can we accommodate? Do you need us to send you things in some other file? I went through a seven month long Fellows Program for journalists, and they were absolutely wonderful. Like they just insisted that like, look, we don’t want this to stress you out. It’s not as off putting, as it used to be.

I said earlier, I had to leave my job. Because they just didn’t know what to do with me. It’s really changing for the better. I mean, you have media platforms that are exclusively devoted to people with disabilities. Are we there? Absolutely not. But there is hope.

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
Cool.

Heather: 31:45
I love it when I’m able to connect with more Black women with disabilities, whether it’s a parent non apparent or includes chronic illness, if their parents, whether they’re into the creative arts, I love being able to connect with them and just learn more about their lived experience and how that evolved over time. Because I always feel like I learned every day, that helps me, in my own self awareness, become a better advocate

— Music begins: A melodic synth piano opens to a inspiring mid temp heavy kick Hip Hop beat.

TR: 32:15
today, passing those lessons on to others.

Heather: 32:19
It wasn’t until I got heavily involved with repeat exposure that I began to deliver how vast and wide that disability is, there comes a culture of political movement, history constituency, there wasn’t an indictment. It’s an identity marker. And even the word itself, disability, the di s prefix is not only not an option, but has a Latin and Greek derivative, meaning dual into so hence another way of doing and being in the world, and so much easier to adopt that first person language and say, Black disabled woman. This is why there will be no ambiguity in that meaning, because I’m not shying away from any of those things. You know who I am is the amalgamation of all my choices. And that doesn’t mean that I’m glossing over any frustrating aspects of disability because for sure, they are there to give a full bodied expression in meaning of what it means to live with a disability to have a disability or to be disabled. It is a very comprehensive, layered experience.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 33:33
Full bodied expression. That’s what I’m talking about. Can you handle all of this greatness? Now I need you all to check out and support our sisters. That’s my fellow Libra. The new addition to the Reid My Mind Radio family from Boston. You see how I did that? New Edition, Boston.
— “Cool it Now” New Edition

Heather: 33:56
My website’s SlowWalkersSeeMore.com. So that’s like my condition and my personal mantra.

TR:
Facebook, Twitter and IG.

Heather:
at h Watkins nine to seven.

TR in Conversation with Heather & Lisa: 34:10
You can find Philly’s finest Lisa Bryant on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Lisa:
@ByLisaBryant

TR in conversation with Heather & Lisa:
Appreciate y’all for coming here and sharing your experiences. And you know, that makes you official, members of the Reid My Mind Radio family. So salute y’all, I appreciate you.

Lisa: 34:28
Thank you, Thomas. This is great.

TR: 34:31
Big shout out to all our sisters out there doing your thing. In fact, that’s how we began 2022 doing your thing with disability. We then had to flip the script on audio description. You know how we do it. And by the way, don’t forget to check out this year’s ACB Audio Description Awards Gala, hosted by yours truly. This year. I’m happy to say I have a co-host one of our Reid my Mind Radio family sisters and alumni, Nefertiti Matos Olivares, who is also providing audio description. We had some fun filming and I hope you all check it out. No spoilers. It drops on November 29 2022 On Pluto TV and of course ACBADAwardsGala.org.Check the site for times and official information.

So this is the last episode of The Year y’all but I feel like spreading some holiday cheer this year. So make sure to keep a watch out for a special episode. The best way to do that is to make sure you subscribe or follow wherever you get podcast. And we have transcripts and more at ReidMyMind.com.

All you got to do is remember it’s R to the E I… D!

Sample: “D and that’s me in the place to be!” Slick Rick
NS be in a place to be
TR:
like my last name!

— Reid My Mind Radio Outro

TR:
peace

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