Disabled Lives Matter
S01Ep04_Terence_Moorer

S01Ep04_Terence_Moorer

March 25, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter

Season 1, Episode 4

Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley

Guest: Terry Moorer

 

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter… here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley... yay! 

 

Nadine Vogel: Hello I’m Nadine Vogel your host of the disabled lives matter podcast I am joined today, as always, by my fabulous co-host Norma Stanley, Norma says hey to everybody.

 

Norma Stanley: Hey everyone how you doing?

 

Nadine Vogel: And today, we are joined by such a fabulous guest I’m so excited I’m like a kid in a candy shop, so this is Terry Moore he is known as the hottest disabled speaker, so we want to get to that title. He is an award-winning author publicist speaker consultant, in both the entertainment and the sports industry and he just happens to have a disability, so you know I don't even know what else to say and we just got started right this so Terry welcome to the show.

 

Terry Moorer: Thank you, thank you for having me on appreciate it, thank you, Hey Norma.

 

Norma Stanley: Hi how are you. Yeah, terry and I have known each other a little bit and I just love this guy I think he's so talented and he's been a blessing to me, and in my music career, so I wanted to share him with a few other people.

 

Nadine Vogel: That sounds great, so Terry just tells us a little bit about the very varied and accomplished background that you've had.

 

Terry Moorer: Oh, OK so I’m going back several years I’m 56 of it, I actually started my music career in 1986. And I was very fortunate I started working for a couple of recording studios, well actually one recording studio for free from 12 noon in the afternoon to 12 at night every Sunday for about a year it allowed me to really work with some fantastic people like Yoko Ono and boy is and David Belafonte who's Harry Belafonte’s son, then I moved on from the recording to work for billboard magazine, which was fantastic I was a gentleman that when you open up billboard magazine, and you saw the number one single chart to the number one album I would be the guy calling the radio stations in a record stores for the top playlist and a top record sales and putting that in the computer and that's how you came up with the top hits every week and after losing billboard, went to work for a record label out of Brooklyn New York called first priority music and that opened up the door for me to work with everybody from Will Smith to Queen Latifah and that was just such a blessed thing and did that for about eight years before working with a Kenny Smith from the Houston market and then I also worked for a clothing company for major damage which was run by a gentleman two gentlemen Heavy and Izzy. Heavy and Izzy started a hip hop line for major damage, but and the claim to fame was they actually started the jean company Sergio Balenté so do volunteer so worked with them and me and a good friend of mine named Jean Peterson, we were in charge of what was then called product placement putting clothes on every audit of celebrity that we could find and that's it in a nutshell.

 

Nadine Vogel: Holy Shmoly, that is quite the career and I have a feeling you're still just getting started so I expect to see a lot more wow, you know something that I read, obviously I know that you were born with cerebral palsy but I read somewhere that you've liked you tell people that you're, the most important person in your life right, yourself, can you tell us a little bit about what you mean by that because I thought that was pretty important.

 

Terry Moorer: Thank you, thank you, you know I, I believe that we have to be our own cheerleader, we have to be the one to motivate ourselves each day and we do have to treat you know. We oftentimes give everybody everything except for giving it to ourselves, you know we're doing it for the family member or a friend calling us, hey I need a favor can you do this, but we don't return that to ourselves. And you have to treat yourself if you're, the most important person in the world, because if you don't believe that your important then nobody will believe it either.

 

Norma Stanley: So True.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh no Norma you and I have had those conversations.

 

Norma: Yes, right. And it's definitely true for parents, like us, because we are the most important people to our children because they depend on us so much because of you know, some of the challenges that they face in life, I know my daughter is totally dependent on me. And so, I’ve got to be here and so I’ve got to make sure I take care of myself and so that I can be here for her.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and Terry, you're gonna you're gonna laugh because I like, I listened to every word, you said you know and it whether it's in a book it's other places, and so another statement i've heard you make is that success lies within the heart. That was that hit my heart actually as Norma was saying, as a special needs mom you know that was that was really important to me. Looking at my own children success, separate from mine but even just their success in life so talk to us a little bit about that because I had a lot of meaning for me.

 

Terry Moorer: When you know when I first decided to get into the music industry, I had just lost my real, first I moved recently from New York, I live in Atlanta now.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh, I'm from New York, woo-hoo!

 

Norma Stanley: Me too.

 

Nadine Vogel: The Bronx baby, I'm like J-lo.

 

Norma Stanley: We're cool New Yorkers, okay.

 

Nadine Vogel: See, so success not only lives within the heart it lies within New York.

 

Terry Moorer: Absolutely, absolutely and you know New York really made me who I am because of the toughness and being resilient so yeah absolutely so you know when I when I decided to get into the music industry. I was at a crossroad in my life because I didn't really know what I wanted to do, and I got fired from my first corporate job in Manhattan and I was home one day watching prince performance at the American music awards and I remember thinking to myself wow he looks like he's having a lot of fun and he's getting paid to do it. that's what I want to do, something where I can have a lot of fun and get paid to do it all I want is to be in the music industry. And because of my passion in my life, it was just something that I just believe that I could do, even when people say oh you disabled there's nobody disabled in the music industry. And me and a gentleman by the name of Kline he was on the west coast and I was on the east coast. We literally, were the only two disabled people working in the music industry and you know my concept beyond with a third person that I know of so literally thousands of people was only three people that would really doing something in the music industry.

 

Nadine Vogel: Wow, so how do you think the music industry has changed or has it changed relative to people with disabilities and opening doors and being inclusive.

 

Terry Moorer: You know a lot of companies are still struggling with that um Netflix just made a commitment to invest 100 million dollars literally they just announced it about two or three days ago 100 million dollars into diversity for the disabled community as well as the LGBT community, because they realize that they're lacking in diversity, if you watched a lot of movies, and a lot of TV show that very seldom how a person of disability that's represented in the Shell and so even in the music side there's not really I mean first person to come to mind, Steve Wonder, that you know Mathematica but their blind and they all play an instrument right, but no one on the side of a disability that works behind the scenes, that I know of.

 

Nadine Vogel: So how do we change that.

 

Terry Moorer: Yeah, you know, we really have to get to be more media talking about it and companies like Netflix by them, investing in $100 million into the Community that's also going to put the spotlight on another company to say well why aren't you doing Hulu, how can you not doing with Netflix is doing and HBO Max I figured you'd do what Netflix is doing. So, it's got to be done when we're with people say Okay, we gotta step up the game and what's so strange about it is the disability community of the Community there's always growing I tell people all the time, you know you're born black. Your born white, you're born a woman you're born a male, that Community pretty much stays the same once you become you know born black male, you're gonna say a black male with a disability community that black male can be disabled in a car accident, you know. It's growing every day.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right, it's a private club anyone can join.

 

Terry Moorer: There you go absolutely there you go absolutely well said.

 

Nadine Vogel: So, you know Norma and I have been having conversations Terry about this intersectionality of race and disability. And Norma I think that that was something you really wanted to you know, have a conversation about today was you know really about how you navigate your career and navigate life as a black man with a disability. Norma, I don't know if you wanted to that comment on that.

 

Norma Stanley: Yeah, that's fine look I really just want to know what kind of experiences that have you had that you know you that you know that you encountered maybe that Someone assume something about you, whether they realized, you had a disability or not like a police officer or anyone. And really treated you in a disrespectful manner or did you have you had any of those types of experiences and what can we do about what seems to be a growing phenomenon in this area, where you know people with disabilities are being a special people of color are really being victimized in many ways that you know society doesn't seem to understand it's almost focused, it seems on people with disabilities.

 

Terry Moorer: I'll tell you from my experience on, on the law enforcement side thankfully I’m never had that that disrespect mainly because even though I’m a black male I’m a non-threatening black male. And so, when a law enforcement officer looks at me nothing all one flash off the BAT or anything like that I don't come across as threatening because of my disability I really come across more as a victim that may you know the what's the word on the misconception, is that Oh, we need help. Really, we don't need help like that, and so you know, the thing about it is when I walk into a room as a disabled black man, I feel, like, I have one of the best kept secrets. Because if I wanted to people are sort of looking at me and trying to figure out Oh, you know poor Terry and oh Look how he walks I sort of feel like they have no idea that I’ve met Janet Jackson and Madonna they have no idea Queen Latifa.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right.

 

Terry Moorer: I feel like I had that, and the table actually change a turn I should say if I’m in a conversation with someone and soon as I start saying. Oh well, I’ve done this, and I’ve done that you can just see the light bulb go off and all of a sudden, now they want to know more and I’m like oh really okay tell us more but, at the beginning, the conversation I’m just to disable guy and folly had a very lackluster life.

 

Norma Stanley: Right and that's an assumption that we have to change that just because you have a disability, no matter what it is that you are not living your best life and that you don't have the capability to do more and Be more than people want to allow you to do.

 

Terry Moorer: Absolutely, absolutely yeah.

 

Nadine Vogel: yeah, you know because you know look, we named these disabled lives matter right it's not just a podcast it's a movement. And something we want to put forward, but I, and I say this, all the time that hearing what you just said, makes me sad, in some ways, because it's almost like If you were quote unquote just disabled and you didn't have this amazing background your life doesn't matter as much, but now that I find out wow. And you've been out there you've been doing wow now your important baby.

 

Norma Stanley: Now you matter.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right now, you matter and that's a disconnect for me that's just that is really bothering me.

 

Norma Stanley: You know that society seems you know the populism, you know if you don't have a quote unquote name if you don't hang out with the influencers if you don’t, you're not you don't matter and that's something that concerns me to what we seem to be like you know what social media has caused us.

 

Nadine Vogel: to become right, right I think it's I think to your point Norma, it is a societal issue, but then you add disability and takes it to a whole nother place yeah, I mean that's just upsetting, even Terry hearing what you said you know, so you are non-threatening to say you know black man to the police well black men shouldn't be threatening to begin with Right and.

 

Terry Moorer: Absolutely, exactly.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right, you shouldn't be seen as a victim. Great you have a disability or for any other reasons, so whether its ability if skin color I didn't I don't care what it is, I just as you can tell this makes me just nutty, I get crazy over stuff like this And, and I, and I shouldn't even use those words because it does not appropriate words relative to mental health issues. You know, for me, I get really upset I it just it bothers me at my core when I hear things like this because disabled lives do matter and, on that note, we're going to go to a short commercial break and we're going to come back with some more questions for you, Terry so stay tuned.

 

Nadine Vogel: As the founder and CEO of Springboard Global Enterprises I wanted to share a little more about one of my companies, Springboard Consulting. Springboard Consulting is a company recognized as an expert in mainstreaming disability in the global workforce, workplace and marketplace. As the mom of two beautiful women who are born with special needs, I understand firsthand the issues the individuals with disabilities and their families face as candidates, employees, and customers. It is my hope that springboard consulting will become a seamless partner with every company, organization, and government agency around the world so that everyone with a disability including your families and friends will feel welcome and wanted with every purchase they make, trip they take, job they get, and everyone they meet. Harnessing the power of difference and specifically for individuals with disabilities who impact the bottom line, I see our work as not just providing a strategic advantage I see it is a business imperative. Allow Springboard Consulting to join you on your company’s disability journey visit: www.consultspringboard.com to learn more.

 

Voiceover: And now, back to our show.

 

Nadine Vogel: Hi I’m a Nadine Vogel and I’d like to welcome you back to this episode of disabled lives matter with my co-host Norma Stanley. Today we are talking with Terry Moore and oh my gosh this conversation we are getting some good stuff I gotta tell you, but if you think you've heard some really good stuff so far Norma take it away because I think people are going to be blown away by this.

 

Norma Stanley: Well, you know, one of the things I love about Terry is that he is an adventurer, and you know nothing seems to stop him I love that about him and me recently, he recently took a skydiving trip which terrifies me, I wanted to know how he felt about that, and why he felt he needed to do it.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh.

 

Terry Moorer: I don't know where it came from, to be honest with you, I can remember from 56 now, but I can remember, being in my 20s and always wanting to skydive and I’m afraid of heights. So I've always wanted to do it and the year that I actually did it one of my business partners David Lee and a good friend of mine Vaughn manager, but we all decided we're going to do a skydiving day and we went on Facebook and we said hey everybody we're going to do skydiving on such and such day and above so people said hey I’m in and, but when the day actually came, only three or four people showed up you know out of 30 people everybody chickened out, and I was actually dating a young lady at the time, and she was going to skydive with me and, of course, at the last minute, she chickened out. So, I said you know okay, I’m not going to do it this time I'll wait another time you know, but because I had paid my money up front the sky diving place said I owe you can't get a refund. I said well I’m here, I might as well just go ahead and do it, and it was probably the scariest phenomenal awesome thing that I’ve ever done just amazing and I’m looking forward to doing it one more time.

 

Nadine Vogel: Wow, I’m scared just listening about so my husband was an officer in the army, and he jumped out of planes. And the funny thing when you said you're scared of heights Terry so if my husbands in a plane and we start having you know turbulence he, like grabs on his knuckles get all white. Like you, he can get on a plane and jump out with a parachute and the only thing he's said to me is that the reason that's okay is because he has a parachute. Whereas when we're just sitting in a plane he doesn't. My thing is you have to get the parachute open.

 

Terry Moorer: Exactly. yeah, yeah absolutely.

 

Nadine Vogel: I think this speaks to a bigger issue of getting outside your comfort zone.

 

Norma Stanley: Absolutely. That’s so true and that's what music and starting to sing has done to me cause I always love to sing but I was terrified of the thought, which is one of the reasons why I became a journalist first before even considering the singing thing it terrified me, but then, when I got you know 50 I was like you know what Why not go for it and see what you can do it's the gift that God gave you don't wait until he takes it away. So, it takes me out of my comfort zone, every time I have to get on the stage but Afterwards, I’m it feels exhilarating that I did that you know, so I could understand and I’m looking for other opportunities to get outside of my comfort zone, because it makes you feel so much better about yourself.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yeah, and as long as you don't have a nervous breakdown in the process.

 

Norma Stanley: Exactly, but it's all about growth.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yeah, absolutely so Terry you know you mentioned, having worked with Queen Latifa and P Diddy and LL Cool J oh my gosh I just get excited just thinking about it. Tell us what your most significant memory is especially because it sounds like when you were working with them, it was really at the beginning of their careers, so you were all launching your careers together, so what is some memories from that.

 

Terry Moorer: I would probably say the two memories that come to mind off hand, one with MC lyte and we will say after Cisco for the event, and we are actually. We were added a villa in San Francisco for Willie brown with the mirror at the time, and if you know Willie brown history, he also dated Kamala Harris Back in the day, so Willie brown back in 1988 89 had a some type of 10 year anniversary that me and MC Lyte and a couple people went a manager that was in the band at the time And we have some downtime and we actually went to the movies together and when went to go see, Madonna had a documentary out at the time, and I remember this movie was like three hours long. The other one that comes to mind, I was in Virginia on tour one of my groups and the company that directly worked with, first priority music, was also a management company gentleman by the name of Robinson management used to manage the artist that was on the label. And one particular show in Virginia, I was backstage, and I said Oh, let me go to the dressing room and hang out for a while, while the group is on stage and when I went back to the dressing room Latifa was in the dressing room. I remember the manager at the time saying welcome Latifa to the family we're going to manage her. I gave a big hug, welcome to the family and you know high five she's like five seven like a grandmother, you know hugging you and everything so. You know she actually wanted to go in with her best friend from high school shot Kim who still works with her today but.

 

Nadine Vogel: Wow.

 

Terry Moorer: But that was a very fond memory of you know we were about to manage Queen Latifa at one point.

 

Norma Stanley: Tell us about those gold records and silver records you have lined up, you actually won your own award working with these celebrities.

 

Terry Moorer: Yeah, one of the tops is actually a when MC Late was with Sinead O’Connor. Okay, and then the bottom one is I worked on the self-destruction record which was sort of like an all-star with MC lyte and Caillat one and a bunch of other artists and that won gold and then I actually have two more of got one in the living room that the more money soundtrack from Damon Wayne.

 

Norma Stanley: Love that soundtrack.

 

Terry Moorer: Huh?

 

Norma Stanley: I love that soundtrack.

 

Terry Moorer: Oh yeah that sounds excellent and my actually have a fourth one for more money, but my son who's 23 years old he's also in music he's got that hanging on his wall, snatched one of my records, we actually have two more that I’m working on getting one Mary J Blige real love.

 

Nadine Vogel: Wow.

 

Terry Moorer: MC Lyte roughneck.

 

Norma Stanley: Yeah, both of them great songs.

 

Nadine Vogel: I know I know so Terry do you feel like it even way back then, and they just say in the day, or even now, you know how you are if you were treated differently You know by these by these entertainers or by folks in the business and, if so, how were you treated differently to your non-disabled peers.

 

Terry Moorer: You know, actually, it was a very it was a blessing because everyone from Shawn Combs to Queen Latifa to just trying to think of names, to MC Lyte never treated me differently if they've never bought up on you disabled you can't do that, it was always. So, what's wrong with you why can't you get up and do it yourself, so you know it's always a lot of love from everybody from Busta Rhymes to you know I met Janet Jackson twice, met Madonna twice as likely one time and just never treated any different never felt any awkwardness towards them, it was always love always to love.

 

Norma Stanley: You're blessed.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yeah, absolutely so we have about five six minutes left and I’m wondering Norma if you don't mind, I’d love to change gears just a little bit. So, Terry you know my company Springboard we work with corporations all around the world to mainstream people with disabilities and I know that you have done and continue to do some of that work and consult and I’m just wondering, you know. What changes you feel you haven't seen happen fast enough what changes you think still need to happen in corporate because um you know we do this, day in and day out and I’d like to hear what your thoughts are.

 

Terry Moorer: Well, I think corporate you know, you know, I wear a lot of different hats music consultant I’ve done, you know legal shield for a while I’m also involved in disability advocate, as well as public speaker I’ve done toastmasters for you to actually spoken with the Atlanta hawks and Coca Cola, and one of the things that I noticed with corporations is they need to have more sensitivity training.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yes.

 

Terry Moorer: It's really awkward when you have employees that do not know how to address a person of disability a Coworker that say. For example, when I worked at Coca Cola for about eight years, one of my coworkers was a guy by the name of Thomas black who was actually disabled. No, no, I should say, basically blind now Thomas used to work he used to cook his own food he used to get dressed like blind faith in the kitchen everything for me and we can laugh and joke about that, but a lot of time when you enter the workplace with somebody that's disabled you really don't know the right thing is the state of all things. And, to be more of what's the etiquette disability etiquette in the corporate workplace.

 

Nadine Vogel: Now, and I’m glad you brought that up, because actually disability advocate and awareness is one of the many trainings that we do at springboard. And it's actually the number one global best practice and most often the first practice, and I think that's important because you know, we need to give people the tools if they haven't experienced disability, for some reason personally or professionally they may not know how to engage. Right, work side by side, do so that they're comfortable they make the other person comfortable but what's really interesting is in Europe, in particular, they like to talk about disability confidence and my feeling is you can't be confident if you're not competent. And that's exactly what you're saying and that's I think in any topic right so for folks that are youngsters today just coming out of college have disabilities, want to go into the music industry, in particular, or could be any what advice do you have for them.

 

Terry Moorer: I would say, learn as much as you can, I actually have a website called learning music business .com, where I teach artists about learning the business. Because it is a business learn as much as you can and be able to be diverse where you know, like right now I’m not too sure if you can see it, but actually have a keyboard in my background here. And because I’ve been teaching myself for the last two years how to play piano, not because I want to you know be a musician on stage or anything but if you know just learn, you know something I’ve always wanting to learn, and if you're in a studio with let's say Bruno Mars and you're an engineer in a studio. And all of a sudden, the keyboard player doesn't show up because he's running late Bruno Mars can look at you and say hey, don't you play the keyboard also and you could say yeah absolutely so you're becoming more valuable, so learn the business learn different instruments and learn how to do a little bit of everything, that's important.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yes, you know that's important Well, first let me just say I do play the piano I minded and Kenyon college, so if you're in that room with Bruno Mars, and you just give me 1-800 Nadine all right just give me a call. I need to join, but I think it's important What you said is you know to kind of learn a little bit of everything, I find that today the students coming out of college they have a major and they get very narrowly focused and they do one thing really well or understand it really well but they don't have the breath right, of grievances and I think that's what you're speaking to now do you think in any way in the minute, or so we have left that it's different or if someone has a disability or something that they have to do differently or more of if they have a disability in that same vein.

 

Terry Moorer: Well, no, I mean you know, I believe, no matter what you want to do, you just have to plan it. Wether you are able body or disabled you just have to have a plan and a goal and just say Okay, this is what I’m going to do and make it happen so yeah just plan and organize it.

 

Nadine Vogel: Plan and organize it I love it.

 

Norma Stanley: Nadine, I just found something else you have in common, we both minored in music in college.

 

Nadine Vogel: Now, the more you talk, the more you find out right. Now, I think this is this is amazing and Terry I just want to thank you so much for joining us today and being willing to share your story and how you have navigated life and career and have done so in such a such a comprehensive and successful way, I am going to go back to how we started, about what you say about how success lies within the heart and that you are the most important person in your life, I think that if we truly want to ensure that people understand that to disabled lives matter. Then people with disabilities have to take what you just said to heart and realize that they are the most important person in their own life.

 

Terry Moore: Absolutely, Absolutely.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh my gosh, well Thank you so much, I hope to have you back on another episode we'll ask really nicely, and I wish you a wonderful rest of your week Terry.

 

Norma Stanley: Thanks Terry.

 

Terry Moorer: Thank you.

 

Nadine Vogel: See everybody on the next episode of.

 

Nadine Vogel: Disabled lives matters podcast with Nadine Vogel, me, and my partner Norma Stanley.

 

Norma Stanley: Be blessed.

 

Nadine Vogel: Bye everybody.

Closing comment: [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advise and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or Listen Device.

 

S01Ep03_LA_Williams

S01Ep03_LA_Williams

March 18, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter

Season 1, Episode 3

Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley

Guest: LA Williams

Guest Contact Information: 267-290-8188

 

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter… here we go!


Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley... yay! 

 

Nadine Vogel: hello, this is Nadine Vogel your host of disabled lives matter. Disabled lives matter is more than just a podcast, it is a movement and helping me create this movement is my partner in crime my co-host Norma Stanley, welcome Norma.

 

Norma Stanley: hi everybody this is going to be a great show and we're really excited to bring it to you today, so you know today we're actually going to be speaking with an amazing person, Mr. LA Williams, you want to tell them about Mr. Williams, Nadine?

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely so LA is Vice President of dealer synergy, he is known as and we're gonna come back to this, the blind phone master la you're really gonna have to tell us about that one. He's had experience in the music industry which we're going to talk about 10 plus years in the automotive industry. I've had a chance to get to know him over the last month, and he is just one great guy and I am so glad LA you have joined us today.

 

LA Williams: Oh, thanks I appreciate it appreciate y'all having me.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely so tell us a little bit more about your background. Let's start with that.

 

LA Williams: Alright, so goodness gracious for me, I always tell people listen I’m from average and ordinary town America, you know I’m saying. Like most like everybody else right just the average real black kid from North Philly, the only thing that is distinctly different about me is that I’m totally blind right. So, I lost my sight at the age of three due to having glaucoma on my third birthday, I had my twelfth surgery and lost my sight completely, so I don't say that to get into kind of pity or anything like that from anybody, I promise you. I more so just say it, because you know I'm the kind of person that you know when I was growing up and stuff like that, I wanted to be able to do all this stuff all other kids did right. And it was a problem because you know they wouldn't let me do it it'd be like Oh well, you can't do this, you can't do this, and it was really annoying to me right. So, like you know growing up of the kids would be you know playing their video games and stuff like that, or they would be you know riding bikes and stuff I’m like man, I want to ride my bike to so what I can see. Right, it was other kids that was playing video games like I said I’ll be like, so what I can't see I want to play video games right, so I will be like man, I want to play, I want to play. So, I would be doing that kind of stuff regardless and so anyway, so I just I’m like I’m the kind of person I don't want nobody putting no limits on me right, so I just I just always have had that thought process of it. You know if it can be done, I can do it, I just might have to do it a little bit differently so that's.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely! I love, so what I can't see. Exactly I always say to people, so what I’m short. And I'm short LA, you haven't seen me in person right I’m five feet on a good hair day so. But I think that point and Norma, you and I talked about this right having both having adult daughters with disabilities, no limits.

 

Norma Stanley: Exactly. Exactly.

 

Nadine Vogel: Why do they put limits on us? 

 

Norma Stanley: it's so easy for people to do that when they assume that there is something that they consider quote on quote wrong. But you know we can't afford to do that, we can't afford that our children and can't afford to let anyone else who has any ability not be able to use that ability and, and that's what this movement is all about to really maximize. The, the awareness of all the amazing people out there, doing some amazing things that not too many people know about.

 

Norma Stanley: Like LA.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right well la you know it's interesting because when we talk about not only no limits, I actually see your blindness, in some ways, as your superpower right. You and I have talked about that because. I know you do right because you have focused your energy on other skills right the art of sound. And tone and inflection and ability to hear things that I bet others can't relate to how they sound, how they come across so talk to us a little bit about that, because when you coach people that must be an amazing process.

 

LA Williams: Well, you know, one of my favorite quotes is you know, never allow the things that you can't do to distract from what you can do right. And so, my thought process is like for me I’m listening, like remember club house came out and remember the audio Apps and everything listen that's all the way up my alley right. We know that 55% of communication is visual perception body language, but a lot of times we don’t have that, especially if you talk on the phone with most people right, well with anybody right. And so, 38% is tone inflection and so, for me, I said listen that's a large enough piece of communication that people should really put a lot of energy into it right just 7% of communication is text and the words that we use in a problem is a lot of folks just want to text people all the goddamn time. Come on, now how are you going, you can't really you can't hear my heart over a text message. So, I’ve focused on you know also coming from the music industry that's the kind of the cool part about coaching is that. You know when you're talking to a customer all you're doing is basically saying in the hook to him right he just getting them locked in right getting them to really enjoy what it is that you're saying, and you know, make them continuously be attracted to you. So, for me like that's the thought process that I put behind this I like music.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh so, so, but I’m curious. Let's continue on this, because how did you take that skill and turn it into something that you have been so successful with in the automotive sales industry? I remember we were having a conversation, and you know it was like, so do you also drive the cars that we're talking about. That would be a little scary. But talk to us about how the automotive industry came together for you, with this.

 

LA Williams: Okay, so I actually like I said I still open up a studio that was making like $60 an hour reading my studio and I got this client. Name Karena Bradley's pop artists and everything like that, and her husband Sean Bradley says to me man la if you can get pop artists to get songs to sound good. I know you can get salespeople to get phone calls to sound good right, I mean because, like I said it's just thinking ahead to the customer, and you know initially I didn't believe him like yeah, yeah, I am living my life for my life, whatever leave me alone right.

But I went down to one of his seminars and you know, he was you know just really talking to people and really changing folks lives and I'm like wow if I can make a difference, you know in music. What if I could really do what he's talking about he's gonna make it, you know how he makes a little bit of money you know. So, I said, let me, let me lock arms with this guy and really you know dive in. See it's so crazy because right now, they call me the blind phone master in the automotive industry but outside right now I’ve pretty much dropped the phone because I’m like I’m master everything that I do so I’m just the blind master now is like.

 

Nadine Vogel: I like that.

 

LA Williams: As far as coaching folks as far as coaching folks I just teach them the same way I did in the automotive industry, I treat my automotive professionals, as if they're in the booth like when they say something one way, I’m like nope don't do it again say back right, right and then do it again. So, I train them the same way and I learned that from Dr Dre. I mean Dre he'll make you say a line 75 times one line 75 times until he sounds exactly the way he envisions it so.

 

Nadine Vogel: I'm saying, yeah.

 

Norma Stanley: That's awesome because you know I have recorded my first CD about a year ago and it was an amazing experience, and I, you know, working with producers. They absolutely hear things that you don't hear, as the person who's doing the recording and you know that's an amazing and a very important part to getting that project done so that it can be accepted by who you want to hear it. And you know that's such an amazing skill and do you think that you know, the fact that you are blind has helped to heighten that opportunity to hear things because, like, like I said, my producer when he says does what he does and he's you know produce people like you know Mike Phillips, and people like that. You know it's like how did you hear that, how do you do, that is, is that an innate skill, or just something that you can learn to do.

 

LA Williams: Well, I actually think it is something that I learned to do something that I focused on right whatever it is that you focus on will grow. So, I’m not, I don't think that sighted people can't do some of this stuff that I do. I just think they choose not to, right. It's kind of just like you know, a new mom, right, will hear things from her new baby that a regular person is going to like, I didn't know she was wet. How'd you know he was hungry? yeah, you know. It's a certain type of cry that says oh I’m tired mom, you see what I'm saying? That's what I think it's, it's all in the brain.

 

Nadine Vogel: So, I'm in the right, yeah. Everything is in the brain, for better or for worse.

 

Norma Stanley: What you focus on is what you draw.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely good, better and different right, you know, and the problem is when we think about just diversity in general that's part of the problem, we make assumptions. In their head is what they act on whether it's appropriate and not appropriate right and that's what I see, there's a pause. I think you know, LA you have produced tracks for some amazing people right you've mentioned Dr. Dre, but I think also lil Wayne Katy Perry Katrina Bradley's Bradley, and then you transition, I think, if I recall correctly, you are the voice for jigsaw In the SAW movies?

 

LA Williams: Yes, so that was a lot of fun, it was a situation where Darren Bows, a man who wrote a lot of the later versions of SAW, I met him when I went to full sail University on my tour. And he was like yeah man, you know reach out to me if you ever want to do some postproduction and I’m all excited I don't even know what postproduction is right so, so, I graduate and I sent him the email and everything and I graduated in 2004 and he reached out to me he responds to my email in like 2006. So, I mean you know it's one of those things you never expect something to come back and then it does and in 2007 I went to. Canada, he flew me out to Toronto, and we're just you know, working on sounds and different things, but the actor, John he ended up getting sick or something he couldn't do his what we call adr, what we call automatic dialogue replacement. And so, there was some scenes that he had to do where he wasn't on screen, just like recordings and things and we were playing around and I'm doing a voice like make your choice clever dog, you know. So, they were like can you really can you record that, and I was you know just thinking it wasn't serious he's like no I’m serious I really need your help, so I recorded a lot of the lines that are like kind of like off screen that are taped and things like that so it's kind of fun.

 

Nadine Vogel: Norma, this whole conversation just reinforces that the whole premise is, right to see, that disabled lives matter.

 

Norma Stanley: Absolutely, and the diversity of talent, that is available if people really want to access it, you know and so many people say they can't find like the same, as you know, in in marketing and PR and things like that they said, you know we can't find people who can do this, that and the other, are you truly looking.

 

LA Williams: You don't know where to look. 

 

Nadine Vogel: That's the problem. Or they're looking the other way. That's what concerns me more

 

Norma Stanley: That's exactly right.

 

Nadine Vogel: Not that they don't know where to look but they're looking the other way, and their looking the other way because they're thinking and making assumptions about what someone can and can't do based on how they come across, la what what's the solution to this dear God, how do we fix this.

 

LA Williams: I wish I knew right because here's the thing for me I’ve only experienced that when I was younger right as I got older and. Maybe it was something where because my mom was a big proponent in this she's like you know you know don't be holding my son back because he can't do stuff even playing on the football team right ever like, well LA I don't know how you're going to do such as such as such and I’m like well, let me show you, right, and so, once I started to have that swag, once I started to have that carry myself like I can do anything that you can do except see, then people started like really just putting me in position, like, I mean, I guess, he can do it, I don't know I mean it's I think that I think that we do as disabled individuals, I think we have to take some responsibility because we got it we got it. We got to put out there right, we have to show and let the word I’m looking for is kind of escaping me but we gotta like you know, a glow that we can do stuff right we can't glow that oh I’m so timid and Labor no we can't do that, like you, gotta be forward so.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and Norma, you and I, so LA just so you know Norma and I when you're talking about your mom we're sitting here with smiles from ear to ear as you know moms with kids with disabilities and I think that we don't talk about that a lot we don't talk about you know the parents pushing behind to get you where you are so, then you can run with it.

Yeah, I always told my girls, you know you're gonna need to develop thick skin. I'm not always going to be here, you need to run with it, and I have to say that they have become the best self-advocates out there because of it.

 

Norma Stanley: Yeah.

 

LA Williams: I'm a big fan of Miss Kristin Smedley. I was trying to tell you about, I couldn't think of her name, when we were doing my show. But Kristin Smedley, she has a YouTube Ted talk that she did talking about her sons, she has to blind sons and an unsighted daughter and man I’m telling you it takes you through an emotional rollercoaster so I don't know how I can plug her, but I guess I did already.

 

Nadine Vogel: Yeah.

 

Norma Stanley: And that's true because having a child, like my daughter with cerebral palsy and she doesn't talk and she does not have the intellectual capacity, you know of somebody her age, but my goal for her Is to live the best life possible and to make sure that she gets to do things like that she can do like model she loves clothes. And you know, so we do what we need to do to make sure that she gets in front of people Whenever she can on a runway and you know you have to maximize whatever the potential is and like you say, have a little bit of swagger as you do it.

 

LA Williams: Now I'm telling you you're really hitting because it goes back to my quote: don't allow the things that you can't do to distract from the things that you can do there so much stuff.

That you have at your disposal that you just got to maximize that so, but you can't do the other part, nobody's worried about that focus on what you can do, and it will grow, and it will manifest into it'll, it'll you know take over the world, so I love.

 

Nadine Vogel: Amen so on that note we're gonna, we're gonna go to commercial break, but one thing I do want to say before we do LA just about what you just said is that that's for everybody, right, not just people with disabilities that's what people don't realize we all want to show our best selves you know I’m terrible at math, right, I am just terrible when it comes to math and numbers it's just not my skill set.

 

LA Williams: I got your back.

 

Nadine Vogel: If you think I'm going to go into a job, where I have to focus on numbers that would be really bad, but I know that about myself right. So, focus on things that you are good at that you can do, I love it. Well with that we're gonna go to a short commercial break and then we're going to come back and hear more from the amazing the incomparable la Williams.

 

Commercial Break:  And now, time for a commercial break. Did you know that Springboard Consulting's global offerings address all segments of the disability community including individuals who are born with, or who have an acquired disability, whether visible or not. Veterans with service-disabilities, those with age-related disabilities, and parents of children with special needs as well as allies, caregivers and others who are impacted by disability in some way.  Although the majority of Springboard’s™ offerings are appropriate for all industries, we deliver many programs, presentations, trainings, and other initiatives that are industry-specific; examples include Travel and Tourism, Entertainment, Insurance and many more.  Visit us at consultspringboard.com to learn more. And now, back to our show.

 

Nadine Vogel: Hello, and welcome back to this episode of disabled lives matter, this is Nadine Vogel, your host with your co-host Norma Stanley and today's fabulous guest LA Williams. Norma

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my gosh this is, you know you've made me laugh so much through this set. It's really cool and you know it just goes to show how comfortable you make everyone that you're around LA. I've had this experience with you, the last two times we've been on together, and just so you know so thank you. So, part of this part of this conversation of disabled lives matters needs to focus on some topics that are uncomfortable right? So, Norma I’m going to turn this over to you to maybe lead us through our first uncomfortable topic and let's see where that goes.

 

Norma Stanley: Okay well you know, there is a real I think misunderstanding about people of color with disabilities, who tend to be you know, targeted in some ways um when it comes to issues like police brutality, I don't think the community knows just how important it is to people to understand that a lot of the people who have been. You know. Victims of that situation have been people with disabilities, and they have been people of color. You know whether it's autism or whatever the challenge was mental illness, that is something that is not being really paid enough attention to and you know, people of color are being victimized in that regard and that's a subject that I think needs to be discussed a little bit more intently than it has been. Is that something, how do you think about that? Because I mean right now, we just had the recognition of you know Bloody Sunday, I mean if people in color who have disabilities have been a part of making change from day one in our communities, the same way. You know African Americans have, you know, revolutionized the changes that needed to take place in our communities just so we can have the freedoms to do the things we do today, even though they're trying to turn some things backwards, but we're not going into that right now, but you know. What do you think about that, and how can we move into, you know, helping people to recognize that this needs to change and, and some of the solutions that we can possibly put in place?

 

Nadine Vogel: And LA before you before you respond I would just like to add that this podcast today is being pre-recorded right after the same infamous march, 1965 Selma Alabama protest. We want to recognize the bravery strength and determination of those marchers protesting against racial injustice and we dedicate this podcast specifically to the late Martin Luther King and the late John Lewis.

 

Norma Stanley: That's right.

 

Nadine Vogel: All the people that marched that day, so I just think that's important so LA back to you.

 

LA Williams: Hey, thank you so much, now that, now that makes me even feel even more honored. To dedicate something to those folks I mean you know put themselves really in so much harm's way. In order for the rest of us to live better lives, so I just want to say thank you to them again right um but no everything you talked about is 100% true and it's wild, because I mean even the George Floyd situation, I think he was a slightly autistic, there was something different about him you know. And I think that one thing is awareness, Nadine you talk about it a lot the simple fact that folks just aren't aware and so, then they treat the situation, you know as normal, I remember listening, I was talking about the time I got locked up. You know I'm saying, and you know it was so crazy because they were like you know now, it was a halfway domestic situation, and I was actually the one who called the cops because I was like yo this girl's crazy right she bout to kill me you know what I'm saying. Yeah exactly right, so it was crazy because I mean the cop basically locked me up, and it was funny because, when he took me in, right, that you know you could you could, there was not, here was an air, but the lady, one person actually said it, they were like, really Dan I’m, I don't know if the guy's name was Dan but it's like really Dan, like you go and bring the blind guy in like seriously like come on man like you know. So, not to say that I couldn't have been dangerous or anything, but I think that the people knew that you know, based on what was really going on, I was the one who needed some protection. And they didn't do that for me at all, you know it was crazy, but so what you're talking about is very real. You know there's a lack of awareness of what's happening and then people are, they're purposely discriminatory against anything that's different and so some people take the, the, account like I don't care you can't see how to do this anyway, and then some people take the account that. I'm not paying attention to that and so I’m going to just treat you just like a regular average ordinary person as you can see, shining lights in your face and stuff like that, like what do you think that's going to do. I remember one time, I was at my studio and I think I might of set the alarm off or something but, whatever. So, the guy the, the cop knocks on the door and I'm like who is it and they're like it's the police, and so I kind of like crack the door open a little bit and I’m like how you doing and I like putting my hand out to shake it and he liked just slap my hand down like oh that's how you gonna be and I’m like I’ll go back at my studio. And then he realized I can't see, he's like oh wait I’m sorry. No, you shouldn't treat a normal person like that. It's so, there's so many different situations, but I definitely believe that um number one we got to raise awareness and people got to know what to do and I apologize if I’m like staying on this, but I do jujitsu right, so I’m in jewelry jujitsu and what was crazy yesterday I’m in there and I’m working with a little guy right he's a little guy and I find out he's like hey I need my shoulder for what I do I say, what do you do he's like I’m a police officer and I’m like oh, now, this makes so much sense to me okay y'all can't see me but I’m kind of a bigger guy now I finally get to say that right I’m a bigger guy and so I’m like man I’m darn strong too man, you know you're doing something really, really good, and I said this is crazy because a lot of this is it goes into something else that I do it's like insurance we learn how to do these moves and you know break somebody's shoulder and all but you really hope that you never have to do it. And if you're really a professional if you could show the restraint like I can get you, to the point where I’m. Almost going to break your shoulder, but if you learn how to relax and if you're going to calm down, then I don't have to do it so there's little stuff like that that I think that um you know folks need to be trained it's the bottom line.

 

Norma Stanley: Yeah and I do believe it is a lack of training because there's a lack of sensitivity to begin with, and you know again if the people in the force are not trained properly because they don't have the right type of information in terms of how to approach people with potential disabilities or mental illnesses, then they're not going to go out and do what needs to be done, and if they have a predisposition to think of us as people of color as enemies, to begin with, then you're just gonna have a whole you know, a just a mess and that's what we're seeing in our society today it's a disastrous mess and we have to stop. 

 

LA Williams: Yes. Yep. Hundred percent, so training all begins with training.

 

Nadine Vogel: Well, I want to touch on this because my frustration is that I have reached, Springboard has reached out, our company, to so many police departments around the country and in other countries by the way, to provide training and I get met with well you know we really don't have budget for that or we just completed our general diversity training that's just going to have to do for now, or, I mean just all kinds of things right and I’m just like what do you mean you ran out of budget, this is important, and the more I get a response, like that the more, just angry right, you know and frustrated I get because I think when they say that what they're saying to me is disabled lives don't matter. And that is just frustrating as heck right, because then they're saying my girls don't matter. Now it's personal.

 

LA Williams: So, let's ask this, what can we do about that, because I think there's got to be some solutions, we talked about you know, everybody, you know, back in the day it was a marching type situation now it's like yeah, we put that type of stuff on blast I mean. Let's do some media behind it like let's go, you know.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right no, no, absolutely and I, you know when I try to your point earlier la you know about you know I help people see and solve the problems they don't see for themselves, you had said that we were on break and I’m thinking okay you're right that's what we do, but unfortunately, not everyone wants to, and I don't mean this as a pun, but not everyone wants to see.

 

LA Williams: Until they hurt, until they feel it, see that's what the challenge is see people run away from pain vs towards pleasure so. Oh well, no, I mean it'd be nice I’d like to do the you know the amazing training that you guys have but until you feel the pain of not doing it. Now you definitely run to do it it's a shame it's kind of like you know insurance thing I talk about right.

People be like oh LA, yeah cause I’m saying yeah I'ma get it I’m gonna get I’m gonna get it, and then, when somebody in their household or you know their family goes into hospitals like yeah, I need to get that life insurance, she was talking about, you know I’m saying my son's mother I’m sorry I’m just going to put her on blast real quick right. She actually developed a form of cancer or something like that, and then I've been doing life insurance for like 10 years and she's like oh yeah, I need to be able to talk to you about that life insurance like now it's too late. You can't get it now.

 

Norma Stanley: It's preventative.  That's the point, it's important, you don't want to wait until the situation comes and then you'd crisis management, you know it's all part of getting ready for something you know and preparing to handle it before it happens. That's just good business.

 

LA Williams: Yeah, you need Health Insurance after you in the hospital, but you can't get it then you know.

 

Nadine Vogel: No, no, absolutely and you know it's interesting you brought the life insurance cause my husband has worked in that industry for 35 years and, and you know you right people like can I still get well Oh, I guess, I should tell you I had a heart attack so that's when it comes to like you know, understanding what I need, but you know I just find even with disability right if you bring it back to disability unless and until someone experiences disability either themselves, their child or family member they don't get it.

 

LA Williams: This is what we need to have happen. This why I loved that program that you talked about when you video people trying to like to go through people's websites and everything that's how somebody feels it, so we need to get some video like and just put it out there that's, how can we do that y'all? I'm excited.

 

Nadine Vogel: Okay, another project for LA. We are going to be talking about so many more things after this.

 

LA Williams: I'm telling you I want in like let's go.

 

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, but you know that I do want to touch on to because you're a parent, and I know parenting in and of itself is just really important to you talk to us about that talk to us about being a dad.

 

LA Williams: So, this is a very interesting type of situation but let's just kind of like you know, the thing I think that's crazy for me is that. My son, initially, I want to kind of think where maybe when he was about six, I think he really figured it out right because, or it was just like you know okay everything's everything, and you know I mean I had been around him and, and, he has brothers on his mom's side and stuff like that, so they have all been around me. But the one time, I think we got out of the car and he, like, took my hand and he took the lead, for the first time I thought that was kind of cool I’m like, yo he really gets it like.

 

Nadine Vogel: And it's amazing, little kids get it better than adults.

 

Norma Stanley: They sure do.

 

LA Williams: Yeah absolutely, but I mean I'm so proud of him right now just made the basketball team so yeah he's just you know he know how to roll he, he, he look out for me, you know I’m saying we walking and stuff like that he does like I said a better job than you know some quote on quote trained people who are trained by the wrong people, by the way, I was telling Nadine about going through the airport, where people like slow down when you coming to a step that's The worst thing you can do, don't do that so just keep it moving keep the pace going pace is more important, so, but no father, being a father man it's a blessing, and I love what you said how the kids understand it, more so than the adults do because it's all it's almost natural to'em so.

 

Nadine Vogel: Right. Well, they haven't had time to develop that bias right and. 

 

Norma Stanley: That's the thing and that's where it comes from. These children that I'm blowing up today with any kind of bias, any kind of prejudice, any kind of bigotry they're being trained to be that way. And it doesn't have to be so we have to change ourselves as a society to not train our children, you know they said train up a child, the way they should go, yeah. We don't have to be this way we are choosing to be this way and that's an unfortunate thing yeah.

 

Nadine Vogel: Well, I gotta tell you, I, you know when talked about training and I know we're about to run out of time, what we hear a lot of training I'm sure both of you hear about is this thing called unconscious bias and that's like the new buzzword that's the training that all these companies are doing and, and I gotta tell you when it comes well probably more than disability, but I believe that when it comes to disability bias is conscious it doesn't mean that someone's necessarily trying to be mean right. But, based on their experience or lack thereof right or how they grew up or where they grew up its biased, but we have to own it. People will not own their bias and that drives me crazy.

 

LA Williams: Yes, I mean that's what you talked about the whole you know race thing and they just, just own it; you know what I'm saying just admit, right, that it's not something that you're familiar with you don't know anything about it. And I think when people admit like you know, like, I was thinking, I was working with Mr. Gabriel Craddick and he talked about you know yeah, I might have probably had some white privilege like people correct me and we're like well that doesn't exist are you crazy, right, everything privilege exists. I mean man privilege female privileges exist you know I’m saying look I used to have fun being on a cheerleader bus when I was in high school, I had blind privilege you know what I'm saying. 

 

Nadine Vogel: Okay that's a whole nother privilege.

 

LA Williams: I used to love; can you help me put my dress on? Sure. 

 

Nadine Vogel: Ok we are going downhill fast. Alright Norma, we have to create a different podcast for that. Absolutely, but I am so sad to say that we are out of time, oh my gosh LA it has been a pleasure, having you on this show, I hope you will join us again, and you can be sure that Norma and I are going to be calling you for about five other projects now as a result of this. So again, this is Nadine Vogel with my co-host Norma Stanley signing out for this episode of disabled lives matter with la Williams and we look forward to seeing you.

 

LA Williams: Put my number in the show notes.

 

Nadine Vogel: Okay, you got it well you know what LA, what is your number go ahead put it out there.

 

LA Williams: Okay, 267-290-8188. You can find me on all social media platforms, including clubhouse the blind master.

 

Nadine Vogel: Oh, I love that, that's so sexy, you know. See y'all next time. Bye, bye.

 

Norma Stanley: Bye.

 

Closing comment: [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advise and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or Listen Device.

S01Ep02_David_Renaud_Pt2

S01Ep02_David_Renaud_Pt2

March 11, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 2
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: David Renaud Pt.2

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!

Nadine Vogel: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you to the second show of Disabled Lives Matter, as you will recall. this is more than just a podcast Disabled Lives Matter is a global movement, where each week we interview individuals who have disabilities or in the disability community to hear how they will positively contribute to an impact society. Now what's really special about this week's show, is that it's a two-parter from last week. So we're going to here once again from David Renaud, and the incredible work that he is doing off-screen on-screen, he just speaks for himself, so I'm not going to say any more. David, welcome back to the show.  Let's keep going with the conversation.

Nadine Vogel: Well, you know it's interesting because so we're building a house and um it's on stilts and so it's basically four stories and we're putting in an elevator.  And the builder asked us, you know, why do you need an elevator, you don't seem like you, you know, you and your husband need an elevator. And I said, well, we don't. My older daughter, while she has physical disabilities at the moment, doesn't need an elevator, but I might have a friend over tomorrow, who does.  And so right, we said… right, right so, why wouldn't I put an elevator in? And, to your point David, it was very interesting because they said, well, do you realize what the cost is to put an elevator in a home and especially if you don't need it? And that you, you know, on and on. And I said.  I’m so confused because you know what the cost is of losing a friend? Right? Because they can't get in my house. I just it's a whole different way of thinking and.

 

David Renaud: I love what you just said it's absolutely...

Nadine Vogel: Right? And to me it's, I’m placing value on a friendship whether the person has a disability, or doesn't have a disability, it's just about I’m valuing them as a human. I want them to be able to get into my house like anybody else can.

Norma Stanley: Absolutely and that's something, that you know, my daughter is in a wheelchair, and so I don't like for her to miss anything, and so, when I go to restaurants, when I travel, the things that we do, I want her to be experiencing those things too. And so, the accessibility aspect of all of that is very important and you'd be surprised how many places on not ready for prime time. Right here in the U.S.
[group laughter]

Nadine Vogel: oh yeah.

David Renaud: I hear you, it's like my, I think if I was going to start a movement in this regard my my words would be "let us in the front door."

Norma Stanley: yeah.

David Renaud: Let us in the front door, like everybody else. Like that, that, you're absolutely right,  like, I feel for you, because I'm, I'm, I'm dealing with, and you know, places that are good that have "accessibility," again, it's often, you know, there's a lot of little, you know, extra things you need to do that makes the person feel awkward, and now, and we were, we have to burden that awkwardness. Well, it's, it's not, it's your problem, you're the one with the disability. So, if you're uncomfortable because you've got to you know go through the kitchen to get into this restaurant, or whatever it is, you know.  You know, I don't, I don't want to march through a kitchen before I eat dinner in that place, I want to go in the front door and sit down, I’m paying for my meal, I want to be treated like royalty like everybody else. So, I get, I totally feel that and I love what you said about, you know, my in laws you know, they built, they just build a whole ramp and everything for me to get into their house. Okay, and I, I don't go there as much as they would like me to, or as much as I would even like to, it's on the other side of the country and I’m super busy. But I love them. I’m so grateful to know, my wife's sister my sister in law, they just built a whole house and they built an elevator for me, to go in and to go to all the levels of the house.

Nadine Vogel: right. 

David Renaud: So, and that, yeah it was a huge, I’m incredibly grateful for them for doing that. I think there should be money available for anyone who wants to do that, in fact, I think homes should be designed that way to make sure it's accessible.

Norma Stanley: I agree.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, absolutely, well you know, it's interesting David, because you have so many roles in life, right? You do so much.  And when I think about this issue of disabled lives matter, I also think about how leadership matters in this regard, and you've really taken the position of, you know, not, not necessarily just shouldering the burden, but helping leaders understand how to be good leaders relative to this work. And, And I’m wondering, you know if you can just talk a little bit about that. I know that you yourself have done that from the standpoint of becoming a mentor and taking the time to do that, but, but it's also when you talk about the Sony’s and the Disney’s of the world, it requires leaders to be able to take this and willing to take a stand.

David Renaud: yeah, yeah that's absolutely it. You know, I, it's funny you say that, because I was just on this panel, which is a TCA that’s the Television Critics Association panel and the title of the panel was "inclusion is not a spectator sport."  Disney that put it on, a, Disney is a huge,  a huge advocate in this regard for disability, that they were out in front of this before many, many other people, and, and as Sony. I just happen to work, I don't I think it's a coincidence, that I work for Sony and ABC which are probably two people that are really, as I said, really have been out in front of this, but Hollywood is getting out in front of.   The CBS, I’ve done, a, an act a "lights camera access" panel with them. When I was on pure genius, which was a CBS show. And so, getting to that so, first of all you have to find it, you have to find an advocacy group. Okay, and what you're doing is an incredible form of advocacy, advocacy RespectAbility has been a big one in Hollywood that has been knocking on doors and saying, hey we we want your attention for a minute, just hear what we have to say. We are people with disabilities or we are family members of people with disabilities. And we we just want you to know we don't feel like we're being seen, and we don't feel like we're being heard, and, and, and finding people on the other side of those doors who are going, you know, what we've been looking, you know. I'll tell you something, when I first came to Hollywood, I played my, I can’t say where but I applied for a program, and I applied for a program to help me with my career as a writer, a young writer and director coming up, and they said, it was a, it was a diversity program, and they said, well what's divert? Like, why are you applying to this program, and I said, well, I don't have access to a writers room,  because I’m in a wheelchair, and I can't just get coffee, I can't be a writer's assistant, you know, not traditionally the way writer's assistant is sent to go to Starbucks and get coffee, and run around town and put together sets, and do all this stuff.   I don't really have access to what I need to break into this business, and they said, well, disability is not one of our categories.  And I said, well, maybe it's not one of your categories, because nobody's ever knocked on your door and asked for it to be a category, but can you think about it?

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: And they didn't take me into that program. To their benefit, they do now and I, I'd like to think that, that conversation I had with them, was the thing that provoked them to do that now.  Fast forward to, you know, Disney’s where I got into, the Disney ABC writing program, several years later. And they had disability as part of, now diversity, and they were one of the first to include that in one of the big major Hollywood writing programs.  And all the others have followed suit, and, and I’m not, I may have it out of order, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure just one the first one at least at the time of deployment went on, and so I knew that we're including, I think CBS came very quickly, right after that. Um and I’ve really wonderful things to say about the CBS program to, but, but the, the, when I went in for my interview, and I, and I got in that program they were saying they were looking for people with disabilities, because they wanted to add that into their Program. I'm not sure if I was the first, but I’m certainly one of the first may been the first to go through their program, but and it may not be true, but um, but yeah so, I’ve forgotten how we got here. 

Nadine Vogel: [Laughter.] We were talking about Leadership and how leadership matters.

David Renaud: Thank you for bringing me back, thank you.  Got me going on something I’m very  passionate about. Yeah so, a leader, yeah so, so now, you know, with the help of RespectAbility, and perhaps me, and Disney, and ABC in their openness to this and the people like Tim McNeil who's running that program over at ABC.  Lauren Applebaum at RespectAbility, that they, the doors are open and now you need somebody to come through that door that proves that there's a reason why that door should be open and and that's where it's kind of like leading from example comes in. I’m the person that and I wish there were many, many more people that they could call upon with disabilities to represent, what I’m, where I’m at, and at my level as a writer, and there are. I’m not the only one for sure I’m not the only one, but, but I’m somebody that they call and say, look here's a guy who's, you know, a producer level writer on the good doctor he's got a pilot in development at ABC, you know he's had some success, he's got into the rooms with his wheelchair and his disability. And to not only survive, but rise up the ranks, and has shown his ability, and if you will, at doing this job.   So, we want you to open the doors, then we've proven that it's worth opening the doors 

Nadine Vogel: Right 

David Renaud:  You're going to find talent, going to find talent you didn't think was there.   So speaking, you know truth to power is one important thing, but also leading by example for, for powers, and other important thing, because what I, now I remember my point I was trying to make about that panel, I was just on inclusion is not a spectator sport that panel was all essentially white, white men for essentially there were, that's not totally true, but of the people who were sort of the decision-makers on that panel, right to hire people, very specifically or to do development and they've done their work. In there plenty of, not plenty, but there are many people at Disney working on shows that they could have brought in, that we're not that, but the point in that panel was it's not enough for to have diverse people, people of color, women to rep, you know to shoulder the burden of hiring people who are diverse. It's also their responsibility, because they are the people in power and how to do it right now? So, they need to, they need to do that and, and I, of course to, the opportunity to advocate for disability to be included in that, that discussion, and again I found very, I found very welcome an open-mind, minded people when it came to disabilities as.

Nadine Vogel: Right, right. Well, and I mean, look you, you've done a lot of mentoring, you know, you continue to do that, but again, even that wouldn't be an option, you wouldn't even have the opportunity to do that. If we didn't have leaders that are saying this is important, right? And we need to include it.

Commercial Break: And now time for a commercial break.  Did you know, "Success Is Simple?"  When traveling the road to disability inclusion, a company’s success is determined by its commitment, competence, creativity, and often its consultant. Springboard Consulting, a recognized expert on all things disability, is a one-stop shop from assessments and training to marketing, events, and more. Whether delivered in-person or via live-stream, we have what you need to achieve success. Contact us and put your journey to disability inclusion in high gear. consultspringboard.com.  And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: Um, I think Norma you were talking earlier, somebody was, oh I don't even know who was talking earlier about, uh the pandemic, right, there were, all been in, and I think Norma, you had a question about the impact of that, did you not?

Norma Stanley: Well, you know that it has been like you were saying, I think David was saying, also you know, how impacted we all have been, and how families adjusting, and people with disabilities, and people who are caregivers of individuals with disabilities like I am, you know, how are we supposed to maneuver successfully, and, and really make sure, that our family members and individuals that we love, get what they need.  Because we're still left at the bottom of the pile of information, we're still not being included. And right up there with everybody else who's getting the information, is getting the shots.  How do we, how do we break through that, that process, and do we have to speak louder? I mean, I thought we were speaking pretty loudly but, you know.  Yeah, what do you think about that?

David Renaud: yeah, you're right Norma, when we do, we got to speak louder. We do, because you know, and maybe this is part of the theme, is they're kind of related themes, right?  One is disabled lives matter, well if they do, then we need to act like it, and own it in a way we have not acted like it during this pandemic. And it's the way we were all used to this is already, there's nothing new to us. Just like, you know, my friend; I have a very close friend, a black friend, who when I said, wow you know it's this movement of black lives matter it's really exciting, actually was, actually before that we had this conversation, but that we, I have been aware of this problem for a long time man, you're aware of it now, but I’ve been aware of this.  I’m glad you're paying attention, but it's been our problem for a long time.  Well, it's the same thing here, it's we have been shouldering the burden of, not wanting to inconvenience society as people with disabilities, for a very long time and the pandemic just really shone a light on that you know. We are, we are told, well, certain people with conditions, preexisting conditions, are more at risk, so there's a big swath of society that says, well, let's just put those people away and we'll I’ll just go out and live our lives. Yep, one, like this is not happening, and we'll we'll have them shoulder the burden of the pandemic. Well, what did we do? I didn't you know get, get a bat, or whatever caused, you know, Covid-19, but yet, I’m being asked to shoulder extra burden, because if I get this virus, I’m more likely to die. So, so yeah, we are being asked to shoulder a burden, because society doesn't want to be inconvenience. And, I, look I get it, I get the counter argument here, which is, we need to open up the economy, we can't, people need to eat, they need to feed, that's all true and I empathize hundred percent with that, but, but that doesn't make it any easier for us to swallow that pill. And we need to be a part of the discussion, part of the narrative when it comes to it, because as you said, we have families to feed too. And I think often people think of people with disabilities as people who aren't working who are being supported.  

Nadine Vogel: yes. 

Norma Stanley: That's right.

David Renaud: Yeah, I got a family, I got two kids and a wife, I have a family I’m supporting.

Nadine Vogel: right. 

David Renaud: yeah, my wife works, but I am the, one of the bread-winners of my family and we need me to make my money, and have my job, and have my income to feed my family. And I’m blessed, don't get me wrong, but there are many, many people with disabilities who have jobs they need to go to too, and you're seeing, you know, a staggering number of people dying with disabilities, because of this pandemic. You know, we need access to that sort of protection, to those vaccines. And we need everybody out there, in society to go, you know, what we're going to bear some of this burden too, so we're all going to wear the freaking mask. 

Nadine Vogel: Exactly 

David Renaud:  And socially distance, we're not gonna have covid parties in warehouses, because we can share some of this responsibility with these people with disabilities, who are being asked to do it, but we don't need to do that, if we don't value their lives.

Nadine Vogel: Right, right, well you know, at the very, if you guys remember at the very beginning of the pandemic,  I was just appalled, but they were, you know, the people that needed ventilators and they were saying, well, if this person has a disability, we won't give them the ventilator. 

Norma Stanley:  Right.

Nadine Vogel: because they're probably going to die anyway.  I mean, I’m rarely speechless, but when I heard that, I was just like, I must have heard wrong it can't possibly be.

Norma Stanley: It was amazing, I couldn't believe it, I know what you mean.

Nadine Vogel: I know, but I think it goes back to David, what you were saying about, you know just, we have to change the narrative.   

David Renaud:  Yes.

Nadine Vogel: Right, we have, if we don't do that, nobody else is going to and it's just going to keep perpetuating itself, and I just, I, I refuse, at least in my lifetime, my legacy is that I’m not gonna let that happen, or I’m gonna die trying.   

Norma Stanley:  That's right.

Nadine Vogel.  [laughter] One or the other.

David Renaud: Absolutely.  Look, if I can say something, and I am not, I consider myself a relatively humble person, but I feel like this is a time not to be, you know, I I had an accident when I was nineteen years old, blue collar family, I did not come from wealth.  You know, I had very little money, I had a family that, you know, my my parents, my, my very loving and caring parents both, you know, never finished high school. So, I didn't come from wealth and privilege, I came from an already a blue collar family and then I had a disab, paraplegia on top of that. I went to Medical School, I went to university, I got a biochemistry in molecular biology in grad school I was trying to find a cure for paralysis, which I didn't, yeah, yeah.

Nadine Vogel: [laughter] Next.

David Renaud: I didn't cure paralysis for our peeps.  But um, you know, I went to Medical School and a lot of people said, no way, this guy's gonna be able to go to Medical School. I found  a person in position of power, who support my application, and I thank the couple every day for giving me, great interview, and give me a great opportunity, I mean the other people at university of British Columbia MED school, but, you know, I did it okay, I got a stand up wheelchair when there were not very many standup wheelchairs, and I did my surgical rotation, and I operate in an operating room, I did everything everybody else did, and continue to I worked in the ICU, I worked during Covid-one as I call it, SARS.  

Nadine Vogel:  Wow.
Norma Stanley: Wow.

David Renaud: I worked person in a wheelchair, with a disability, in that lethal deadly virus that was SARS in Toronto. I worked in those hospitals in the emergency department. Okay, you know, it was locked down. I remember going to work every day and I have so much respect for these doctors and nurses and.

Nadine Vogel: Oh yeah.

David Renaud: working out. All these first responders are working, because it is scary, good work, and put your life on the line every day, but I did it.  And, and then I said, you know what, I want to, I want to work in television. I don't see a lot of people like me doing that, but that's what I always wanted to do, so I’m gonna go try and do it, and I did it, I did it, I became a TV writer, and now I’m a producer on a hit show on ABC. 

Nadine Vogel:  Woo-hoo!

David Renaud:  So we can do it, our lives do matter, we do have value that we can bring to society. 

Nadine Vogel: Yup.

David Renaud:  I I like to think I helped make the good doctor, a better show, I mean, I have a wonderful show runner, and a great room full of writers, and great actors, and great people around me, but I like to think, I bring something to that room that without me, that show might be a little less .

Nadine Vogel: Right, right.

David Renaud:  And that's true. Then I think every person out there, with a disability who's listening or anyone who's listening and thinking, you know, why does this, why did these people, let's add this to another, all these people want to be heard and seen, why these people now, hey you know, do we have to listen to everybody who comes along? And the answer is, yeah, because everybody matters, everybody has value that they can, that they can give and bring to society, everybody has a story to tell, and you know, some peoples are not being heard.

Nadine Vogel: right.

David Renaud: And as I said, that's what I think comes at the heart of what the disability movement is right now. 

Nadine Vogel: yeah absolutely. 

David Renaud:  We have not been heard, we have not been seen, in fact, we have been devalued and we've been asked to shoulder your burdens, we've been asked to be the infirmed, and be on the side, and just out of sight out of mind.   

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: You know we're just going to go on living and pretending that stuff doesn't, isn't going to happen, and meanwhile everybody walking around right now, think about this, you could be disabled tomorrow, you could join this group at any time.

Norma Stanley:  Any time

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, absolutely, and I think that is, that in and of itself should remind people that our lives do matter, because David your life did not matter any less five minutes after your accident, then five minutes before your accident. I mean, at the end of the day, if we think about it that way, we should get people to get their heads and hearts around this but you know.

David Renaud: A little less, because I, I think, I was a little more ignorant now than I was before. I really believe in it, it's made me a better person, and I think better person, you know which, which has made me more interested in other people's struggles and doing more and more about other people, and, and I think it's made me a better person.

Nadine Vogel: Well, I don't know if this is appropriate to say or not, especially since we're both married, but I love you. 

Group: [Laughter.] 

Nadine Vogel: Is it okay that I said that? I don't know.  

Group: [more laughter.]

Nadine Vogel: Well, David, thank you. I know our listeners, I know are going to want you and to hear more from you again, and again. So hopefully, David Renaud, you will join us again. But, thank you so much for joining us for the very first show of disabled lives matter, and I just can't wait to tell your story more, and more, because I think the more, we do, the more people will realize that you, like everyone with a disability, your lives do matter in more ways than probably you even know.  So thank you so much, have a great evening, and we will talk again soon, thank you.

David Renaud: Thank you Nadine, thank you Norma.

Norma Stanley: Thank you.

Nadine Vogel: Bye-bye.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday.  Have a great week!

Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Disabled Lives Matter podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Springboard Global Enterprises, Springboard Productions, and its employees, contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter podcast are not responsible and do not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the podcast series available for listening on the Podbean hosting site and/or any other associated hosting entity. The Primary purpose of this series is to educate and inform, and does not constitute disability, medical and/or other professional advice, and/or service(s). This podcast is available for private, non-commercial use only. Advertising incorporated into, in association with, or targeted toward the content of this podcast, without the express approval and knowledge of the Disabled Lives Matter's site developers is forbidden. You may not edit, modify, or redistribute this podcast.  The developers of the Disabled Lives Matter site assume no liability for any activities in connection with this podcast or for use of this podcast in connection with any other Website, Computer, and/or Listen Device.

S01Ep01_David_Renaud_Pt1

S01Ep01_David_Renaud_Pt1

March 4, 2021

Disabled Lives Matter
Season 1, Episode 1, Part 1
Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley
Guest: David Renaud, award winning writer and producer, aspiring musician and father of two.

Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!

Voiceover: Hello world and welcome to the first episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co host Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley..yay!

Nadine Vogel: norma Stanley yay so I'm Nadine, and I am so excited to be here because disabled lives matters more than just a podcast.  It is a global movement, or at least it's going to be each week we are going to interview individuals who have disabilities or in the disability community to hear how they positively impact and contribute to society.  Norma i'm so glad you're here with us.

Norma Stanley: Thanks Nadine I am so excited to be a part of disabled lives matter podcast and i'm so looking forward to meeting and hearing the wonderful stories that are going to be shared, by some of the amazing guests that are going to be part of our podcast.

Nadine Vogel: Well, I gotta tell you wonderful and amazing are two perfect words for today's guest David Renaud. David is a former medical doctor.
That in of itself pretty cool but he's also the producer on the Humanitas Award-winning and Golden Globe nominated ABC series The Good Doctor.  And if that's not enough, he has also He has also written on the CBS medical drama Pure Genius and the ABC primetime soap Blood & Oil.  He is now developing a medical drama for ABC with Sony pictures that I keep trying to get more information about, but so far not too much, but we'll keep trying, maybe tonight. David was born and raised in Canada, and I believe David when you were that 19 or so had a car accident which left you paralyzed if I recall, yes.

David Renaud: right that is right Thank you so much for having me i'm very excited to be here and i'm excited about what you're doing. Yes, so in when I was 19 I I was driving in in rural Ontario in Canada, in a bad snowstorm and I had a rollover and I became paraplegic.  So before that moment in my life I had never really had very much experience with anyone with a disability, so my first real experience with a person with a disability, except obviously i'd had experiences with people with disabilities but I didn't realize, I was having those experiences. So my first real experience with the person with a disability was my own, and it was a real obviously. It was a shocking thing for me in many ways, becoming paraplegic, but it was also a culture shock for me.  That was a big culture shock realizing that I was now a part of a new Community that I didn't really even know existed and then at that time hadn't really coalesce to form a community. You know people were just thinking of themselves as infirmed or sick or r blind or deaf or paralyzed as all sort of separate communities people dealing with. With their own struggles and with their own cultural differences and and I became a part of that sort of Community that has since really burgeoned into a group of people were all kind of working together, which is exactly what your podcast reflects which I love.

Nadine Vogel: absolutely you know. We we wanted to model this off to the black lives matter movement because it is a movement and it's to show that everybody's lives matter and we've been saying that all along, but people don't always listen so much and and you know they pay attention to what they want to pay attention to when they want to pay attention to it. But when we think about lives mattering it's about how we represent these individuals right how we represent them in media how we resent represent them in all walks of life. And you and I have had this conversation about you know whether it's behind the camera or in front of the camera this authentic representation is so key to everything we do so, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that.

David Renaud: yeah yeah Firstly I just I do love this notion of, and I know a lot of people have sort of been very inspired and excited about the black lives matter movement and and But I think what's really.  You know, and people have often tried to sort of negate the movement by saying all lives matter blue lives matter you know.  And, and what what where I think it's actually applicable in this case, and not in those cases, is that we all know, black lives matter. We all know, you know because plenty of people are being if a if a white person gets you know shot by a cop, we're well aware of that, you know that happens much rarer but, when it happens we're well aware of the quote unquote tragedy of that, and what I think is similar here is that the black lives matter movement is really about people who had been saying something for a long time, and not being heard. And for a long time that community has been saying we are afraid of the police we're afraid to send our sons and daughters out to school out in the street to walk around on the street, to go out in society to drive a car for for the love of all that's holy okay. Because they're afraid that they're going to get shot or killed by the people, who are there to supposedly protect us.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: and no one's listening and now here, I am in my apartment in L.A. you know, in April and May of this year and i'm hearing people making a lot of noise and and i'm seeing the faces in those crowds and they are not just black people.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: they're white people Latinos know every every every part of society, and let me tell you, people with disabilities are out there, 

Nadine Vogel:  Yes.

David Renaud: everybody's there, and people are listening because The because people are finally ready to hear this message, and this is a movement that has had the power to to basically turn a republican President democratic.  Without the vote of the black lives matter people in that movement you wouldn't have Joe Biden sitting in the White House, right now, so that's a powerful thing.  And I think people with disabilities are starting to want to be heard to we've always wanted to be heard that's not fair, I think we're ready to make people listen.  And been inspired by what the black lives matter movement has been able to do and continues to do and continues to struggle to do. we're early in our our movement sorry.  we're early in our in our movement, but I do i'm very excited by the energy and the disabled community and the fact that disabled communities kind of coalesced itself together and a few of these organizations that i've become very aware of over the last few years, the more sort of prominent I become the more organizations have sort of reached out to me and i'm excited to be part of that.  And to see, like so many people getting together and working together.  So so yeah i'm very excited i'm excited about this notion of disabled lives matter I mean.  i'm excited about the comparison I don't think it takes anything away from the black lives matter movement in fact I think you know, we have some of the exact same goals and agendas.  Not all but some of the exact same goals and agendas and as everyone knows, there are many, many black and Latino and Latina X and every other. race and culture and religion represented in the disabled Community we're. Definitely a small society.

Nadine Vogel: Right well you know you you touched on, you know police brutality and things like that and norm and I were just talking, the other day that you know just as many people who are disabled succumb to police brutality, as people in the black and brown community but nobody's talking about.

Norma Stanley: that's what i'm saying. that's right.

David Renaud: Absolutely people with autism that friend yeah I mean mental absolutely absolutely again, we have some shared you know it's interesting many great movements in history have have often been many groups. of people who, on their own can't be heard, but get together and all the sudden their voice is just so loud, you know, and I do, I was very excited I was on a.panel this just this week a TCA panel which is is the television critics association panel and Disney had put together a panel talking about inclusion and. You know, it was really about inclusion in the meat in media and how we're representing all kinds of diverse voices in the writers rooms and onset and one of the things I brought up in that panel was disability. Because it's something people don't talk that much about.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: but are talking about it now Disney particularly is very been very, very supportive working with RespectAbility and i've done a lot of work with them mentorship with them. But but absolutely you know, working together with other diverse communities reflecting that we're having the same struggles and the same challenges we have the same wants, and the same as ours, and the same potential.

Nadine Vogel: Right. Right. Absolutely, and you know.  You and I have had this conversation that the media is so powerful the entertainment industry is so powerful in getting messages across. But it has to be authentic messages right authentic representation So how do we ensure that the authenticity is there because I think otherwise.  It takes away some of this disabled lives matter because we're not using people with disabilities in these different roles I don't know what your thoughts are about that.  

David Renaud: yeah I feel very strongly about, I think, look over time, you know, there was a time when. You know that people wanted, if you wanted to have a Latino character, or a black character on a movie or TV show you they did blackface.

Nadine Vogel: Yeah.

David Renaud: yeah okay.That I mean that would be preposterous now.

Nadine Vogel: Yeah right.

David Renaud: Right, I mean that would be I mean I can't even imagine.

Norma Stanley: That would be trouble making if they did that today.

David Renaud: I would be insane right, but yet still you know, to this day we see people with disabilities. represented by everybody people make you know and film themselves now, arguably, you know you can say well there's not the talent there's not. If we can get a big bankable star we're much more likely to have a successful story, and to some extent I agree when you're just trying to get those initial stories out there and say hey we're here. we're a Community people want to hear our stories we want to tell our stories then whatever way, we can get it we're happy to get it, but I think now we're we've in the last couple years we've had some wonderful success in that regard. and I think now we're ready for is exactly what you said, which is authenticity and and authenticity means us telling stories that only we can tell. we need to be the people writing those stories we need to be the people weighing in it's not just enough to say.  I am writing a show that has a lot of you know Latino characters so we have a Latino consultant, you know. You want to have a writer's room that has voices in that room that are reflecting the stories you're trying to tell.

Nadine Vogel: right.

David Renaud: Right and and I think that's absolutely 100% truth disability, I think we need disabled writers disabled actors disabled crew disabled tumor talkers disable directors disable producers.

David Renaud: You know, we need executive producers, we need people in control of those stories we need people who recognize what is an authentic disability story 

Nadine Vogel: right absolutely.

David Renaud: Absolutely absolutely experience.

David Renaud: How can you know what what a real disabled story is what a real disabled voice is what that looks like you know we've had so many wonderful shows in the last you know 10 years that really give us a window into different cultures. they're told by writers of those you know, one of my wonderful writers I love is shonda rhimes you know she tell amazing stories and in a way that it's just so unique to her who she is as a person.  And, and you know what.  I feel like we have those stories to tell ourselves.And you know, there are many I can cite many examples of different. People from different diverse backgrounds were telling they're starting to tell their stories now.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud: I don't think it's equitable in any way, shape or form, I don't want to apply that but. What i'm saying is it's exciting to see those stories because of their authentic and they feel real and you feel like you're getting a window into. To something interesting in new either that you can relate to because it's your story too, right, or that you haven't really seen in that way, so that's an exciting thing to watch and and I think that should be true of disabled stories.

Nadine Vogel: yeah no absolutely norma you, you had a question I think about you know the disability narrative right and and how that works, did you want to ask David about that.

Norma Stanley: Well yeah I am you know I agree with everything you said, and you know, one of my missions is to make sure that we heighten the visibility of people.  In the Community who have disabilities who are doing some amazing things that's the same thing that with a Nadine wants to do, and you know in regards to. The disability narrative you know, could you kind of share how important it is to you to make sure you send a little bit about the authenticity, but as a leader and as somebody into a particular profession.  You know what would you like to see how would you like to see the narrative be you know displayed and shared moving forward.

David Renaud: thanks for that question Norma for me it's it's it's really you know, there are, when I was first disabled and I watched TV, most of the characters that I saw on TV were either the butt of a joke. or they were an inspirational story something to tug our heartstrings you know we we were used. As people to go oh my God what a horrible situation this person is in how do we save them and make them normal again and the happy ending is they get normal you know. They get cured of their disability or order it's a joke you're you're a joke, you know your property in a joke, and some very funny you know movies, that I laughed at and enjoyed looking back at them now to this new lens that I have as a person with a disability, I go how really. What a low opinion and without what a terrible narrative we've created for people with disabilities.This is, and you know what I know of the people that I know with disabilities is, they are a. Big broad.Interesting eclectic group of people with wonderful skills wonderful senses of humor of their own, which has a totally different. shape to it than the kind of humor that i've seen portrayed in disability very early on in my in my experience and and and people capable of amazing things with amazing potential. And it might not be potential they're able to reach because narratives have been created again in the way called stereotypes and you know many diverse communities are used to trying to navigate a world where they're faced with these destructive stereotypes. So I don't when I tried to tell disabled stories I don't lean into that stuff now I go the opposite, I tried to tell the stories that I see happening with the people that I know.  You know I told a story about you know, on the good doctor about a little person, a person with a pseudoacondroplasia. who had two girlfriends. 

Nadine Vogel: Yep.

David Renaud: that was based on an experience of person with the disability that I knew and that's not a stereotype that you commonly think of when you think disability, that there are ladies man.

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud:  You know. So yeah breaking the mold creating a narrative that you can be successful that just because you don't talk the same walk the same sound the same see the same that you are capable of amazing, and you know and wonderful things just like anybody else right.

Nadine Vogel: Exactly absolutely well on that note we're gonna move to commercial break and when we come back we're going to hear more from David Renault and all the incredible things he's doing and why he's doing it and the impact it's having on all of us.

Commercial Break:  Hey, have you heard about the Disability Matters Conference & Awards program.  It takes place annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.  If you are a corporate employee who supports and engages people with disabiloties this is the confrence for you.  To learn more visit consultspringboard.com and visit the events section.  I hope to see you there!

Nadine Vogel: hello, this is nadine vogel and i'm joined by Norma Stanley my co-host this evening with the fabulous the famous David Renaud and we are talking about, we have been talking about the media and its impact. And I want to really hone in now David if we can on this issue of if someone's lives someone's life matters, the way you show that is by including them and giving them access, my concern is that when we look at the inaccessibility whether it's digital physical I mean all kinds. I feel like we're saying that the likes and don't matter and that's very upsetting and unsettling to me i'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.

David Renaud: yeah I have very strong feelings about this.  As you can see, have strong feelings about a lot of things, I guess, but it is a particularly one that that that I think we need to really, really take a look at how we think about. Because I think we, when we think about you know accessibility in society, often what we think about is wheelchair ramps or stoplights that talk, you know.  I think we think about accessibility as modifying the existing infrastructure, so that people with disabilities can get into. And really what we should be talking about is universal access because universal access assumes that everybody is going to need to come into a building. We all need access to that building so it's designed in a way that allows everybody in. And that's true physically, you know I don't think I should need to go through the kitchen to get into a restaurant because that's where the ramp is. And I also don't think I should have to bear the humiliation of sitting in front of a flight of stairs well somebody goes to the back and gets a ramp that hasn't been used or gets an elevator that they can't find the key for so that I can go through this humiliating attention drawing. display of trying to get into a building physically. So universal access, I mean we essentially when we build a building we create a barrier to people with disabilities, when we design it. We build it that my house has no stairs to get into it here, it is possible to build a house with no stairs. And I have no problems with no stairs I don't have water leaking into my front door, I have a perfectly fine home that has no stairs yet still to this day.  We build buildings every day that have stairs and then we build these elaborate ramps etc to get into them and i'm just talking about physical access for somebody. 

Nadine Vogel: Right.

David Renaud:  Now people have all kinds of challenges for accessing society that we don't take into consideration that would be easy if we inconvenienced ourselves for a little bit. And thought about how do we make this universally accessible to everybody. Now that what a huge barrier, that is, if you want to get into a job in a writer's room i'm just talking very specifically about the twofer i've had between medicine and writing. You want to get into a writers room or you want to go, and you know do an internship in a clinic like I did when I was starting out as a medical doctor that's on the third floor. of a building the no elevator wow I going to do that i'm gonna i'm going to be carried up those stairs and when you watch your doctor carried up those stairs how confident, are you gonna feel. Having watched them carried up the stairs so. And that's true of you know, when I want to go and take an interview and take a meeting on a show and that show is in a two story building with no elevator. so and that can be said for any industry anywhere, then england's trying to break, if you want to be a pilot or you want to be an astronaut, or you want to work in you know in as a food service. person whatever you want to do, you need access, so I think that's The first thing is to stop letting ourselves off so easily as a society by saying you know what we. We don't have a responsibility to just design it this way we'll just retrofit everything let's just let's not make us bear. Now i'm just about to get into something i'm really passionate about. let's let's shoulder the burdens of society that doesn't want to be inconvenienced 

Nadine Vogel: Right. right.

David Renaud: We can and we'll talk about the pandemic in a minute when it comes to that, but but but yes, now that access also comes to you know people with you know learning differences people you know with mental health issues where we create barriers, by the way we interview people for jobs. I process of applying for work, by the way, you know meetings are conducted, you know, there are all kinds of you know we there was a writer that I. Was got had the pleasure of getting to know through the Disney program who is hearing impaired so when you go into a writers room and you're hearing impaired. Now this writer can read lips, thankfully, but that's that's the challenge to go into a writers room everyone's talking really fast right to say well it's going to be too hard so. We really can't have very we'd love to have great to have that writer, but we can't because it's going to be too difficult or do you rethink how you run your room how you run your show have to make sure that anyone can come and do that job so removing barriers.

Nadine Vogel: Ladies and gentlemen, I know we had promised to keep these podcasts to about 30-minutes, but this conversation with David Renaud has been so important.  And, and, I just can't let it go.  So what we're going to do is make this a very special two part and so stay tuned as our second show will be welcoming David back once again to hear about the amazing work that he's doing and his commitment, not only as someone with a disability, but someone committed to people with disabilities. To show that disabled lives do matter. We'll see you next week.

Closing comment:  [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next thursday.  Have a great week!

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