Disability Rights Advocate Emily Ladau Blows Our Minds Wide Open


[00:00:00] Kirk: Welcome to let’s hear it.

[00:00:02] Eric: Let’s hear it as a podcast for, and about the field of foundation and nonprofit communications produced by its two. Co-hosts Eric Brown and Kirk brown, no relation

[00:00:12] Kirk: well said, Eric and I’m Kirk

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[00:00:47] Eric: let’s get onto the show.

[00:00:51] Kirk: And we are back. It’s another edition of Het’s Hear It. We’re so glad that you found us so glad to have you here.

[00:00:57] Kirk: And once again, I find myself looking across at my colleague, my cohost and the guy who does all the work. Mr. Brown, how you doing? It’s good to see you today.

[00:01:06] Eric: Kirk Brown, my bosom chum. Okay. I need to tell people.

[00:01:13] Eric: We were talking right before we rolled and I started exchanging pleasantries and you had no interest. You said, save it for the show.

[00:01:22] Kirk: We’re running live. We’re going to keep this really fresh. And I got to say, we’ve got some ground to cover because we’ve had a lot of really good guests. I let’s hear it. And I’d commend to you an email I sent you a few years ago. You almost, where you almost sent me a restraining order. What I suggested to be really good idea.

[00:01:41] Eric: I’ll send you a restraining order. Apparently it was not delivered appropriately.

[00:01:45] Kirk: That’s right. I changed my address, but today. This is a new peak Mr. Brown, because we’ve got Emily Ladau on the podcast and we will get into it after the interview in the setup. But I want to start right up front to say that we have been challenged by Emily to think about how we are presenting this work. And I want to say that there had been, frankly, just some emissions, there have been some things that we could have been doing all along that we weren’t and Emily has through total gracious.

[00:02:19] Kirk: This is such a gracious, honest, intelligent conversation, but through total graciousness has helped us see a different way to approach the work. And so, anyway, I want to say thank you for that, Eric, and say, thank you for doing this work because once again, let’s hear it is challenging us in a very deep way.

[00:02:38] Kirk: And oh my gosh, what a privilege to hear this conversation.

[00:02:42] Eric: Yeah. So Emily Ladau is a disability rights activist and she is a writer. She’s a storyteller, she’s a digital communications consultant hire her because she will help you and your organization do better. And she didn’t put me up to that. I just know what’s right.

[00:03:02] Eric: When I, when I see it and hear it she’s also the author of a book called Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be An Ally, published by Ten Speed Press. And I just thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Emily and learned a lot and became better.

[00:03:20] Eric: I hope I said, as a person and realize that you can work in a business for a really long time and still there’s so much more to know and to learn. And I deeply appreciated. Emily’s her, her generosity.

[00:03:34] Kirk: So you can find emily@emilyladau.com. Emily also has her own podcast@theaccessiblestall.com.

[00:03:44] Kirk: Please check out that podcast and then you’ll find out about. At on Twitter at Emily underscore ladau and also things to say about our Twitter feed when we come back. But this is I’m literally down. Let’s hear it.

[00:03:59] Eric: Welcome to let’s hear it. My guest today is Emily Ladau Emily is a disability rights activist, a writer, a storyteller, and a digital communications consultant.

[00:04:09] Eric: She’s the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be An Ally, published by Ten Speed Press. And she is also the host of the Accessible Stall podcast. And. I could go on, but I won’t. Thank you Emily so much for joining

[00:04:29] Emily: us,

[00:04:32] Eric: Emily. I don’t know where to begin with your really interesting story, but let’s, let’s begin at the beginning.

[00:04:38] Eric: How did you get into this?

[00:04:40] Emily: Sure. So if we’re going to really start at the beginning, I was born with a physical disability called Larson syndrome. It’s a genetic joint muscle disorder and my mother has it as well. And her younger brother and my uncle also has it. And so you can say. The career that I have is quite literally inextricably a part of my DNA.

[00:05:05] Emily: But more than that, it is part of my identity and very much a part of my story. So, because my disability is something that I was born with. It very much shapes how I perceive the world and how the world perceives me. And as I grew up, it became something that I was increasingly passionate about talking about and educating people about.

[00:05:32] Emily: And so I guess me start of the journey, if you will, even though it was technically, the day I was born was actually getting to appear on. Several episodes of fascinating street when I was 10 years old and getting to educate kids and their caregivers about my life with a physical disability. And it kind of just grew from

[00:05:56] Eric: there.

[00:05:57] Eric: And you learn about yourself when you were on Sesame Street and you could speak to children and obviously television, producers, and other folks about, about your life. What did you hear back?

[00:06:08] Emily: I wished that I could say that I understood the immense privilege that I had at age 10 to be on Sesame Street.

[00:06:19] Emily: But I think that I learned more of it in hindsight, but what I can say is that I got the chance to sit down with. One of the script writers who wrote the introductory episode, where I would be appearing on the show and knowing even at that young age and even with less consciousness that I wished that I had had about the importance of the experience.

[00:06:47] Emily: I still knew that there was something very special about being told that my story mattered and. I was the central figure in my story and that I had control and input over how that story was told. And not only that, but that story was going to be told on a national platform. I. So often looked for representation of myself, but when I was younger and there was a young girl who was a wheelchair user who appeared on Sesame Street before I did.

[00:07:21] Emily: And she was one of the very, very few people like myself, who I saw in the mainstream media and then suddenly getting to be that person for other children. And for other adults was this significant symbol. My identity and who I am as a person really did

[00:07:43] Eric: matter. Talk a little bit about your disability.

[00:07:46] Eric: How has, how was your life different from people around you? I think that’s a

[00:07:50] Emily: great question. And it’s hard to say that it’s different in any one way, especially because the disability experience is so unique to each individual. So there’s more than 1 billion. Disabled people in the world. And that means that you’re going to have more than 1 billion opinions and experiences and ways of navigating the world.

[00:08:14] Emily: And so my experience yes is different than a lot of the non-disabled people around me, but it’s also different than the disabled people around me. It’s just different than everyone. But for me, you know, my. Biggest different experience, I guess you would say then most of the people in my life with the exception, interestingly of my mother and my uncle, you know, is that I’m a wheelchair user.

[00:08:40] Emily: Although, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown a group of friends who also have different types of disabilities. And so I’m just used to being surrounded by all different types of wings. Getting around the world of seeing the world of navigating the world. And so to me, to identify any differences. I would miss that.

[00:09:03] Emily: The Tate thing that my disability is unique to everybody else’s and therefore, this is my very different experience than everybody else’s and it’s, it’s, it’s a tough place to navigate because on the one hand, there’s lots of wheelchair users. On the other hand, my experience of a wheelchair user is unique to me.

[00:09:22] Emily: So it’s hard to identify specific differences, honestly.

[00:09:29] Eric: I’m reminded of was, was when we first started talking about asking you, if you would be willing to come on the. You said that you would agree to be on the podcast, but that we would, as long as we would make a transcription available to people who, who, who had hearing challenges.

[00:09:46] Eric: And it was a reminder to me that this is something that I probably should have been doing all along. And I now will endeavor to go back and transcribe all of our episodes, but that your work is not about people who use motorized wheelchairs or something that is very specific to your experience, but that your.

[00:10:04] Eric: Is designed to help everybody understand the very different abilities of people and to make the world more hospitable to them, to, to bring people in. Can you talk a little bit more about that expansive understanding about how we can do this and how we can start thinking

[00:10:22] Emily: about it a hundred percent and I’m glad that.

[00:10:25] Emily: I make it a priority to participate in things in a way that makes them accessible to everyone. And interestingly enough, what people don’t always know about me is that I do have a hearing loss, although I am a hearing person. And so I benefit from captioning and from transcripts as well. So to a lot of people, whether or not they identify as a person with a hearing disability.

[00:10:52] Emily: So sometimes. We need to think of accessibility as something that’s just makes things easier and better for everybody. And also I’m a big believer that when you know, better, you do better. And so there’s a lot of people who’ve podcasts I’ve been on where I’ve said, Hey, have you thought of transcribing it?

[00:11:11] Emily: And you know, not only is this good for people with disabilities. It felt really green for your systems and optimization. So, you know, there’s multiple reasons why it’s a good thing to do. And people say, I hadn’t thought of that before. And I don’t think that as any kind of personal friend, what I realize is that weird.

[00:11:32] Emily: Socialized to think about disability. It’s not something that we talk about. It’s really relegated to a taboo that we don’t bring up in conversation. And so of course, transcription is not something that’s the first thing on people’s minds, because if you don’t talk about disability and accessibility regularly, you’re not thinking about it.

[00:11:55] Emily: And so my goal with the work that I view. It’s to bring people into conversations about disability, to offer a way to bridge that gap. That’s so often exists between non-disabled people and people of disability, and further to get people to understand that disability is not this niche issue that we think it is in the United States alone.

[00:12:21] Emily: One and four. Has some kind of disability and that’s any kind of disability. It’s not just people who use wheelchairs. There’s so many different types of disabilities. And what I want to do is not be a voice for them because that’s not. My goal. I am one person I cannot speak for everybody. I do not presume to speak for everybody or to know everyone’s experiences.

[00:12:48] Emily: And I come at this with a significant measure of privilege as a white woman, as someone who communicate verbally as somebody who has access to technology to do this educational work. So I don’t think I can be of. One, but I do ask that people think not just a mean when they think about disability, but recognize that it’s an entire population and entire community that we need to do better and

[00:13:15] Eric: including.

[00:13:16] Eric: Well, your point is it reminds me of one of my favorite examples about the value of reducing making a more equitable society. The story about curb cuts comes in when the Americans with disabilities act went in, it required that cities and other places be made more accessible to people. Use wheelchairs.

[00:13:35] Eric: And then what they found out of course is that once there was a curb cut, then a parent with a child in a stroller, or the person delivering from ups also had greater accessibility to streets and sidewalks and buildings and all these other things. So your idea that by transcribing your episode, you improve your search engine optimization.

[00:13:58] Eric: Ultimate example of how, you know, understanding for other people’s disabilities has these multiple benefits. And I think it’s also true that we don’t know it’s, it’s almost impossible to know how much benefit you get from making things more accessible, but that you can only. Everybody like this is one of those things where everybody wins and you just opened my mind some more on that.

[00:14:25] Eric: So it’s it’s thank you for helping me. I’m so

[00:14:30] Emily: glad. And it’s true. Accessibility really does benefit everybody. You know, when something is inaccessible your setting so many people out and it may not even be. Specifically, identify as having disabilities. You may just be creating an unfriendly or unwelcoming environment for a lot of people.

[00:14:48] Emily: And so what you’re talking about about the curb cut effect is one of my favorite examples, because not everybody can get up and down a curb, but suddenly when you have a curb cut, you’ve just opened up. So many more offers you can eat for people to get from street to sidewalk. It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid on a skateboard or a person pushing a laundry cart, whatever the case may be suddenly you’ve just opened up the.

[00:15:20] Emily: In a new way for so many people. And so I ask people to think about where they can create per guts, where can you create eight per cuts so that everybody can be a part of what’s going

[00:15:32] Eric: on. We’re going to be back with Emily, just after the break. I want to talk about this amazing career that you have created and or that you’re experiencing, or because you’ve, you’ve written a book you’re consulting to.

[00:15:46] Eric: A lot of organizations you’re helping others experience. The same thing that just happened is that just hit me in the head, but with, with a two by four, about 10 seconds ago. So I, I really want to talk about how you got into that and how, and, and more about your work. So we’ll be right back after this break with Emily.

[00:16:03] Eric: You’re listening to let’s hear it. The podcast about foundation, a nonprofit communications hosted by Kirk brown and Eric Brown is sponsored by the communications network, which connects, gathers in informs forms. The field of leaders working in communications for good, because foundations and nonprofits that communicate well are stronger, smarter, and vastly, more effective.

[00:16:25] Eric: You can find let’s hear it online at let’s hear@cast.com or on Twitter at let’s hear a cat. Thanks for listening. And now back to the show and we are back with Emily load-out disability rights activist, a writer, a podcaster. I’m very excited about listening to your podcast because I love the name, the accessible stall.

[00:16:48] Eric: Which is, which is brilliant. And your work as a consultant talk. Well, first of all I’m, I’m really excited about your book, demystifying, disability, what to know what to say and how to be an ally because the, the book has that same. I, I I’d say welcoming tone that you have its design it’s voice talk.

[00:17:14] Eric: Can you talk a little bit about. Writing that book and how, how it has been re re how people are hearing about it and, and what they’re, how

[00:17:22] Emily: they’re responding. I mean, honestly, that’s the highest compliment to say that it is welcoming because that was my ultimate goal. What I have always tried to do is make the disability experience accessible to people because I, and this may be a little bit of an unpopular opinion being that.

[00:17:43] Emily: Advocacy is very much a two week streak. And so if we want the world to become more accessible and inclusive, then let’s make the disability experience more accessible to non-disabled people. And I recognize that that is in many ways. Burden on a marginalized community to do the educating. And I don’t expect that of anyone.

[00:18:12] Emily: I recognize that it’s a lot of work that being said, we have to start somewhere and I am a big believer in meeting people where they’re at. Right. In the case of disability, a lot of people simply aren’t exposed to disability in any kind of conversation, not in their school curricula, not in the media, not in the people that they’re surrounded with.

[00:18:37] Emily: And so for many, the, a new concept, even though one in four people have disabilities, you may just not be aware of that are conscious of that. You may not even know that. Have a disability. And so I wrote the mystifying disability and a way to provide a starting point for some of the basic tenets that I hope people will understand that might make them feel a little bit less uncertainty.

[00:19:08] Emily: About how to have a conversation about disability and about how to be a good ally to the disability community. So I talk about language and I talk about history and etiquette and linear representation, you know, trying to be a broad overview, but what it’s not. Is B definitive guide to everything to know about disability or the Bible on disability or the encyclopedia of disability.

[00:19:37] Emily: I’m one person there’s simply no way that I can encompass every experience of disability. But when I can do is offering that starting point and that safe space for people to begin to learn about things that may otherwise be scary and unfamiliar.

[00:19:56] Eric: I’m going to ask him, I’m going to ask a challenging question.

[00:20:00] Eric: We’re dealing. In our culture right now with, with we’re having a lot of difficult conversations. We’re having difficult conversations around race, around gender, around sexual orientation. And we’re not having a lot of difficult conversations around disability. If you ask me, I think most organizations worth their salt right now are.

[00:20:25] Eric: Digging in, on, on race and equity and they’re digging in on gender and we, people will share with their pro pronouns are these days, but it doesn’t sound like we’re at that same place. With disability. And the question is, well, one, I mean, how do you feel about that, but what, what w what can we do about it?

[00:20:47] Eric: It sounds too in the sound of our voice, there are a lot of foundations and nonprofits and large institutions who, who my guess is probably. Could or should be addressing this topic. How do they take that on, how do we create more space? How do we make the world more accessible to every

[00:21:06] Emily: I’m really liking?

[00:21:07] Emily: You asked that. And I often say that disability is relegated to the margins of marginalization. We don’t even talk about disability. And when we’re not talking about disability, we are not adequately doing. Any other social justice work either because disability is an identity that cuts across any and all other identities.

[00:21:31] Emily: And it’s also a community that anyone can join at any time. And I don’t say that as a threat. I say that as a reality. And so when we are talking about. Racial justice work when we are talking about gender inclusivity, if we are not talking about disability or not really being inclusive because the full spectrum of gender identity.

[00:21:56] Emily: Exist within the disability community and disability cuts across every racial identity and ethnicity. And so if we’re ignoring disability, if we’re leaving it out of the conversation, then you’re not recognizing the whole communities that you’re saying you want to serve. So we can’t move disability out of the equation.

[00:22:19] Emily: It’s not something that. But we tend to either ignore it or silo it, or treat it as its own moose issue that isn’t really relevant to the rest of our conversations on identity and social justice. But the exact opposite is true because disability exists in every community, in every faith. And I always remind people, every issue is a disability issue.

[00:22:48] Emily: Disabled people exist in this world and are impacted by everything that we do at the policy level and the employment level, education, healthcare, you name it. It’s a disability

[00:23:00] Eric: issue. That’s good. Good segue to talk about your work and how you work with organizations and others. How do you help. Folks tackle this or address it.

[00:23:13] Eric: What does your work consist of? How do you consult with people

[00:23:16] Emily: to quite a variety of work? I’m very lucky that I get to wear multiple hats. I would say that one of the key ways that I educated. Is through storytelling. So a lot of my consulting comes down to getting to the very human aspect of disability.

[00:23:36] Emily: We can so often look at disability. If we look at it at all as numbers and data and statistics and. We need those numbers. We need those hard facts. We also need to humanize disability and we need to recognize that it is a very individual experience in addition to being a broader community. And so my consulting work rests largely in.

[00:24:04] Emily: First breaking down some of the concepts that I think hold people back from talking about disability. So uncertainty about language and uncertainty about etiquette, and just talking about the disability experience, sharing my story and amplifying the stories of other people and really getting people to recognize that disability is not this scary.

[00:24:33] Emily: Alien beings. It’s very much a part of the fabric of human diversity and a part of the human experience, a very natural part of the human experience. And so my consulting work really is focused on three telling humanizing and bring people into the conversation in a way that feels, I want to say challenging, but also comfortable.

[00:25:03] Eric: What do you tell an organization? About how to get started. How does in the sound of her voice, again, w H if I’m at a foundation, how do I start thinking about this? What should I do first? And what do I do now, other than hire you, which is probably a good idea, but how does an organization get started on this journey to become more accessible?

[00:25:23] Emily: I really want people to understand that. Full inclusion is not going to be a linear journey. I think that everybody is looking for the magic formula where you do this, and it brings me to this next step, which brings you to this next step. And in so many ways, there are steps that you can follow. But I also really want people to recognize that sometimes there’s going to be multiple strings going out.

[00:25:54] Emily: And you’re not always going to get it right. And one of the things that I do in my, my data’s and your work life is I need digital content and community manager for the disability and philanthropy forum, which is a forum that provides resources and information for people who. Looking to learn more about how to make their philanthropy serving organization or foundation more disability inclusive.

[00:26:24] Emily: And what we provide is a wealth of information about how to get started. But a lot of times it means auditing yourself internally, taking a look internally at your organization and saying, What are some of the first steps that we can take, but what are some of the bigger initiatives that we can begin to focus on that aren’t going to happen overnight?

[00:26:50] Emily: So for example, a good first action item is to think about your language, to think about whether or not you actually mentioned disability on your website to think about how you’re talking about disability. If you’re talking about disability, That’s a small, but also very important steps we can take, but then there’s broader steps like connected.

[00:27:17] Emily: With members of the disability community, not doing work on behalf of the community without consulting and centering that community. And you can’t build those relationships overnight. But what you can do is begin the process of reaching out to organizations that. Our local to you or national organizations or organizations that are already doing work relevant to your vaccination issue areas.

[00:27:48] Emily: And again, that’s not going to be a linear process, but it is the first thing that you can begin the work of doing.

[00:27:55] Eric: Is there an organization that is an exemplar that you saw their eyes open up and. Really make some, some changes and how that benefited them? No, I

[00:28:06] Emily: think there’s so many and to be honest, rather than meaning one specifically, I think what I’m most excited about right now is that through the disability and philanthropy forum, we have the disability inclusion pledge, and it’s for foundations and philanthropy serving organizations to sign on to.

[00:28:30] Emily: Mint to what we’ve laid out is eight action agendas. And again, they’re not linear. They’re all focused on both internal and external operations, whether it’s making a more accessible workplace or whether it’s focusing on more inclusive grantmaking. And I think so many of the signatories of that pledge are exemplars for this work.

[00:28:57] Emily: They’re really showing what it means to say. We have work to do to become more disability inclusive. And we want to be part of a community that’s committed to doing that work. So I’m actually excited to say that I don’t feel the need to pinpoint one organization because there’s multiple organizations that are starting to do this work.

[00:29:17] Eric: I have to tell you you’re the best guest I’ve ever interviewed. You are. So good at this, I asked you an awkward question and you pivoted off of it perfectly and, and made a much better point than I ever could have listened to. That was absolutely masterful for folks who are listening. Go back and listen to that section again.

[00:29:40] Eric: That’s how you answer a question. I’m going to ask a better question than this full justice. Thank you so much for that. And thank you for your work. I’ve I’ve learned so much in the last half hour and, and you’ve expanded my mind and my made my life a little better. I hope that we can do that for others.

[00:30:03] Eric: I hope that that we can pay that forward. And that your work continues to, to grow to blossom because it’s, it’s really inspiring. And I, I encourage foundations out there to go ahead and take the pledge, understanding that it’s a journey and it’s not linear, but get started. And certainly. Emily’s book and listen to your podcast.

[00:30:27] Eric: Emily without thank you so very, very much for your time.

[00:30:31] Emily: Thank you for having me. And honestly, thank you for making disability a part of this

[00:30:36] Eric: conversation. Well, it’s, the pleasure is entirely mine. And so as the privileged, thank you again.

[00:30:44] Kirk: And we are back. Emily Ladau. What an introduction, what an introduction to this topic.

[00:30:50] Kirk: I mean, Eric. Wow. What a conversation.

[00:30:53] Eric: It was a great conversation. And again, I so appreciate people who know a lot more than I do, but don’t make me feel like an idiot and don’t make me feel bad about not knowing. And I just appreciate that. I have, we all have much to learn about a variety of things and disability given.

[00:31:13] Eric: Given how many people, what is it, a billion people with disabilities in the world? The, the, it is, it is a, a large number of a significant portion of our population who are deeply underappreciated. And we as a collective need to do much more to understand, and to find ways to, to engage and make life better for folks who.

[00:31:39] Eric: We are not taking properly into account. And that’s so important. And we, I mean, just given the, the breadth of it, something that I, I don’t know. I, I was born a Catholic kid, a Jewish neighborhood who believes in karma. So between the guilt and the karma I’m really behind April and. I just felt awful for me.

[00:32:02] Eric: I just feel like I can be doing a lot more and we can be doing a lot more. One of which of course is transcribing our episodes. Last month. We, we did an episode with, with Aaron Belkin at which we transcribed on the website. And now you’re going to go back and do the other 64 episodes before this.

[00:32:20] Kirk: Well, in that whole thread about providing transcription and again, it’s what a generous awesome. Absolutely appropriate, helpful comment. And so many others along the way in terms of just this whole consideration around disability and the, the note that I made around that part of the conversation, Eric, you know, Emily says, if you don’t talk about disability, you’re not going to think.

[00:32:45] Kirk: You know, and, and we’ve talked on this podcast about this notion of people being unseen right. In our midst and being unseen. And so what does Hemley point out 1 billion people with disabilities L and about these disabilities, they cut across all identities there, an elements of all other communities.

[00:33:03] Kirk: And I love that part where you actually started talking about difficult conversations and how were. Dipping into conversations around race equity, gender, our use of pronouns, trying to be as inclusive as we possibly can. And and Emily points out. Yeah. And guess what, there are people with disabilities across all of those other other communities and, and let’s, let’s have this conversation too.

[00:33:27] Kirk: Oh my gosh. Emily forever in your forever

[00:33:30] Eric: in your debt. Yeah, you’re right. One of the things that. So get just getting back to this, transcribing your episode and putting it on, on your website. She points out very astutely. That it’s well it’s also good for you because it’ll improve your search engine optimization and it really gets back to equity, which is that if you conduct your life.

[00:33:55] Eric: In an equitable way. It benefits everybody. Well, what’s

[00:33:58] Kirk: Emily mentally doing to help she’s writing about it. She’s bringing this to the forefront. She’s got her book, demystifying, disability, what to know what to say and thank you. How to be an actor. Right, right. You know, how, how can we be supportive? And what I really appreciated too, as she’s going through her story, talking about her experiences, by the way, get started on Sesame street, Mic drop

[00:34:23] Kirk: you know, here’s a person of consequence, but she’s very clear. You know, she, she’s very clear in saying that her, her book is not the Bible of disability. She’s very clear in being in stating I am one person. My experience with disability is mine. And there are 1 billion other experiences, but she can offer her perspective, which is, you know, a key part of what she’s trying to do is to provide the storytelling, this ability to humanize disability.

[00:34:53] Kirk: And I loved that thread. She says, I’m going to, I want to work on storytelling. I want to humanize, and I want to bring people into the conversation. Oh, my gosh, this bouncing act, bring people into the conversation in a way that is challenging, but comfortable. And, and I thought, what, what a perfect roadmap for all of the communications work that we want to do that is aspirationally about making the world a better place.

[00:35:19] Kirk: Let’s tell the stories that pull forward the human narrative and challenge people in this conversation, but, but don’t lose. Right. Don’t don’t, don’t lose our audience members in. And of course, what do we hear Emily say, along the way, I’m going to meet people where they’re at. And, and, and then she gives us once again, we get a master’s class and what that looks like in the conversation, because she’s just nothing but gently gracious and expert and accommodated through the entire conversation.

[00:35:47] Eric: And by contrast, basically what I do is I bring people into the conversation in a way that is boring. But deeply uncomfortable. Right. And this is, I have so much to learn. Yeah.

[00:36:03] Kirk: So, so once again, it’s clockwork. We’ve, we’ve talked about the 20 minute mark of these interviews. It’s minute 23. It is such a good exchange.

[00:36:15] Kirk: You ask, how can you get started? How do you get started? And I actually loved how Emily talked about that because she kind of described. It’s not a magic process. It’s not linear. You’re going to have multiple strings calling at once and you’re not always going to get it. Right. I was like, Emily, how do you know me so well, but she says, you are not.

[00:36:39] Eric: I will for the folks out there, not linear Kirk

[00:36:45] Kirk: and not getting a lot. Right. As it turns out all the time, but you know, what does she say? She says, audit yourself internally. Look for the simple steps and then all of a sudden breaks the bigger initiatives. And just that way of thinking about it. There’s so much space.

[00:36:58] Kirk: There’s so much space to step into this. And so I’ve already been, you know, through, with our, our group over here by slack saying, Hey, let’s, let’s start running this audit. Let’s start thinking about this more intentional. And again, Emily, I’m so grateful for you being on this podcast and bringing this perspective because the way you frame it is so immediately actionable and that’s genius, right?

[00:37:19] Kirk: I mean, I mean, just to take this very difficult and challenging thing and then make it so accessible. Oh man. It’s just, it’s awesome.

[00:37:27] Eric: I agree. And for anybody listening to this who works in an organization, there is something that you can do to make your work more. You’re right. You have to start asking that question.

[00:37:38] Eric: What can I be doing? What do I, how am I presenting our, how are we, I presenting our work. How are we connecting with people who deserve to be connected with, but aren’t being, we’re not, we’re not providing them what they need in order to do that. Those are simple questions that you can ask. And I may get Emily’s book, which is it’s light hearted.

[00:38:02] Eric: It is in itself. One of the more accessible texts you can read about an issue that can be very challenging and uncomfortable for people for any number of reasons. And this is it’s just great stuff. Wee boy, a boy, a boy who can we learn so much from Emily just by seeing how. Does this work, which is as good as, yeah.

[00:38:24] Kirk: I loved this piece at the end when you and Emily were talking about this, where Emily says, you know, a good first step is just looking at your language. Like, do you actually mention the word disability on your website? Do you talk about it? And again, if you’re not going to talk about. Then how does it become anything but unseen, right.

[00:38:41] Kirk: Remain unseen. And then I love the other piece of it, which is this doesn’t go fast, but you also, you also have to need to make connections in community. And that takes time to build those relationships. Like this is so actionable, but so. It’s really, I love that direction.

[00:38:54] Eric: Yeah. It’s like I said, it’s great to be able to, I’ve been around a while and oh boy, do I have a lot to learn still?

[00:39:06] Eric: And of course we do need to both raise our hands and say, we commit to doing better. And there’s a lot more to do. It’s not just transcribing our, our episodes, but to, to really learn about how to engage and connect with. Who have not been, we’re not meeting, we’re meeting them where they are and that’s,

[00:39:26] Kirk: you know, before we leave, we should talk about the disability and philanthropy forum.

[00:39:31] Kirk: I was going to say, I just, I love that commitment to working at scale. So this is at disability, philanthropy.org, the disability inclusion pledge, you know, it’s got eight action agendas. So entities sign the pledge, eight things that you’re going to commit to, to advance this conversation. And I counted.

[00:39:49] Kirk: There are 68 signatories to that pledge so far. And when you look at the roll call of the entities that have are participating, it’s a who’s who, and there are some major resources, which is so exciting. And then also when you look closely, you notice, oh, actually there are some other big time entities. If they’re not there yet, you hope there’ll be there soon.

[00:40:09] Kirk: And this is the kind of mobilizing organizing, but again, invitation to action. That’s just so powerful. And so I love that that work is happening too, and it’s, it’s great to see entities and philanthropy engaging with that.

[00:40:21] Eric: Yeah. If you, again, if you work for a foundation and nominally, some of the folks out there.

[00:40:27] Eric: I think our working for foundations, check out disability, philanthropy.org, and figure it out, figure out how your foundation or philanthropic entity, whatever it is, can engage, sign that the middle colic, the minimal, this is square. One thing is sign the fledge, but then you have the actual. Committed to doing the things that you signed and, and get, get engaged and get involved because there are so many folks out there who both benefit from your work and also deserve to be a part of.

[00:41:03] Eric: Conversation and to be engaged in the way that makes the most sense. I get, I have

[00:41:08] Kirk: to say, come back to Emily, the work you’ve done to be ready to guide us so graciously with so much generosity, working through all the things we need to, to become such experts, but also compassionate experts. What a, what a tree in Eric.

[00:41:25] Kirk: I just, I love that. Okay. That’s it. This is one of the best answers I’ve ever heard on this pod.

[00:41:32] Eric: It’s good. It was gold. Go back, listen to it again, take it apart for what it is an understanding, the question of pivot, the thing you really want to discuss a way to make your incredibly stupid interview.

[00:41:47] Eric: Seemed like such a schmuck and, and still get your point across. It was, it was, that was really good.

[00:41:56] Kirk: Well, anything else to say before we go, Eric? I mean, this is Emily Liddell. What a tree? Emily Liddell, dow.com. Please find her podcast@theaccessiblestall.com on Twitter at Emily underscore Dow. And of course, you know, you can see the work at disability, philanthropy.org, my goodness tour de force.

[00:42:18] Kirk: What

[00:42:18] Eric: a tree was great. We should all present an accessible stall. That’s those are my parting words, Kirk. And until

[00:42:27] Kirk: next time let’s hear it. Thanks everybody. Okay everybody, that’s it for this episode, please let us know if you have any thoughts about what you heard today or people we shouldn’t have in the show.

[00:42:39] Kirk: And that definitely includes yourself and we’d like to thank Jon Beltrano, our enthusiastic production assistant.

[00:42:46] Kirk: John Allee, the tuneful and inspiring composer

[00:42:50] Eric: Our sponsors, the communications network and the Lumina foundation.

[00:42:54] Kirk: And please check out Lumina’s terrific podcast. Today’s students tomorrow’s talent, and you can find that@luminafoundation.org,

[00:43:02] Eric: certainly thank today’s guest.

[00:43:03] Eric: And of course,

[00:43:04] Kirk: all of you, and most importantly, thank you Mr. Brown. No,

[00:43:08] Eric: no, no, no. Thank you, Mr. Brown.

[00:43:11] Kirk: Okay, everybody tell next time.

[00:43:12] Eric: Let’s hear it.

The episode ends with an outtake. Kirk can’t stop laughing and Eric is pretending to be frustrated.

Eric: Ready when you are

Kirk: (to himself, giggling) You’re so frustrated, you’re so prepared. Its like “I’m working with an amateur.”

Eric: I can’t work like this

Kirk: You’re like, “I can’t believe how far I’ve fallen. I was on broadcast television.”

Eric: That’s right.

Kirk: “I was on a network with a dork in my dining room who can’t stop laughing.” Okay, here we go…Okay…

Music and show ends