Black History and Disability History: A Story of Mutual Support: a Webinar
with Leslie Grover, Ph.D.
President-Founder of Assisi House, Inc.
Leslie is the President-Founder of Assisi House, Inc. She is certified in Community Storytelling, Story Exchange Facilitation, and Narrative Medicine. She is a community-based participatory research expert, and she works with communities to conduct research, create actionable research designs, organize around community-identified issues, and create programs. An avid scholar-activist, her work is widely published on issues associated with health disparities, community polarization, and vulnerable populations.
Looking not too far back in history, we see parallels in the fights for civil rights and disability rights. Take a trip with us to see how these two movements have worked together and supported each other as they advocated for inclusiveness and equal rights.
Watch Webinar Video:
[Woman] The webinar is now open. Hi everyone, I would like to welcome you to Real Talk About Disabilities: Issues Faced by Families of Color, Black History and Disability History: A Story of Mutual Support presented by Exceptional Lives with Dr. Leslie Grover.
I am Darlika Boynes, a board member of Exceptional Lives in order to provide access to our visually impaired community. I am an African American female with the orange sweater on in a curly ponytail. I also would like to inform everyone that this session you all will be able to view the live transcript in English. However, we also will have the closed captions provided in English and Spanish in a recorded session at a later time. We also invite everyone to use the chat feature. Please make sure that you click from host to panelists to everyone, or you can use the anonymous feature to use the Q and A to ask and have your questions answered. The Q and A session is at the bottom, but in order to make sure that we are capturing all of your information and you are aware of our polls, I first would like to offer a fun poll to you all. So everyone online, please join me in a simple question. Number one is, do you like eggs or pancakes? You can choose eggs, pancakes, I don’t do breakfast or just coffee, please. Can everyone please take the quick poll for me? Wow, I see most people like eggs. I’m more of a pancake girl myself. And I also would like to welcome everyone to also view our website, which is exceptionallives.org. This website provides families with free information on disabilities for your child. These are the things that we do. First, learn more about the services, your child, and how to get them. It’s an easy function. You just click more and it will give you step by step information on basically anything that can support you as a parent and supporting your child in a school setting and doing transition services. We have a resource bank where you can enter your zip code to help find local providers perspective for parents, a blog, and we also have on a social media app to help you all connect with different families. We are here for you. And new, we have our podcast, which is called Just Needs. Lastly, the one thing about Exceptional Lives. We invite our parents to be part of this process. The first thing, we are looking for families who want to tell their stories. We invite you all to tell your stories to different families. We also invite you all to be part of the Exceptional Lives family feedback team. And it’s just a commitment of two hours per month, where you’re doing surveys, you’re recruiting other families, and you are doing discussion groups.
[Leslie] Darlika, excuse me for interrupting. The slides are not loading. I believe there’s a delay. I don’t know. I’m sorry, hold on. Let me see if I can fix it. Can you see them?
[Woman 2] Yes, ma’am. We can see the slide that welcomes Leslie Grover.
[Darlika] Thank you, sorry for the technical difficulties. And now I would like to present to you all Dr. Leslie Grover. She is the president founder of ICC House Incorporated. Leslie is a certified in community storytelling, story exchange facilitation and narrative medicine. She is a community based participatory research expert, and she works with organizations to conduct research, organized community based research designs and create programs. She is a writer for Push Black, the largest source of information for black voices across the nation. An avid scholar activist, her work is widely published on issues associated with health disparities, community polarizations and vulnerable populations. She is also a fictional writer. Her first novella, the Benefits of Eating White Folk will be released in April 2022. I present to you Dr. Leslie Grover. Hi everybody, so glad to see everyone and so grateful to have you all allow me to come and share some information with you. For those who may be visually impaired, I am a black woman with short curly hair, I’m wearing black glasses, black dangling earrings and red lipstick. So normally when we do presentations, we kind of build up to a climax and you get what you’re supposed to get at the end. However, I wanna start with the whole point of my presentation today and that is that disability history is linked with black history and that black history is linked with disability history. And so what I’m gonna be talking about today, I’m gonna first demonstrate those links with a few stories. And then we’re gonna talk about why isn’t this taught in schools, why don’t we know more? And then we’re gonna talk about ways that we can create spaces to continue to make even more history together. So next slide please. So this slide is not showing, but on this slide is, there we are, is Harriet Tubman and Harriet Tubman is the woman in the hat who’s bent down in the front. She had several disabilities. She often had blackouts. She had brain problems. She had neurological problems rather. She often passed out, she often forgot where she was, and yet she led hundreds of black people through the underground railroad north to Canada and south to Mexico. Next slide please. Next slide please. This is a picture of Fannie Lou Hamer. She’s the woman in the front holding the microphone. The people standing behind her are community organizers, and to her, I guess it’s on the right side of my screen, the lady in shades is Ella Baker, one of the most famous community organizers in history. Fannie Lou Hamer suffered from a lot of disabilities during the course of her life, including physical disabilities, mental disabilities and she often also had severe headaches and she was not born with her disabilities, but she acquired her disabilities after she was beaten in a jail cell for trying to register black people to vote in 1960s Mississippi. She’s most famous for creating her own party, the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, which helped to organize the black vote in Mississippi. Next slide please. There’s not an image on this slide. Let’s see. One second, stop. Let’s see. Oh, thank you. Got it, this slide. You may not know this woman. I’m gonna introduce you to her, but you certainly know her work. She helped invent the sanitary napkin as we know it today. Thank you, now they may take a few seconds to load because of the sizes of the images so thank you all so much. And she’s responsible for this. She also went on to create a lot of other things. She created walkers. She created a lot of the assistive technology that we use today. And there are so many things that we didn’t think about, we just take for granted that she did actually help to create. Let me see. I’m having some technical problems on my end. It’s technical problems day, but that’s okay. We are definitely gonna make sure that we get everything done. She and her sister actually did a lot of work. Actually did a lot of work in this vein and her name… Can you all hear me? My goodness, I’m so sorry. One second, please. I’m going to mute myself and then I’m gonna do it again. My sound seems to be… I’m getting a little feedback, one second. I apologize, this is Mary Davidson, by the way. Thank you, I’m so glad. Come on computer. Come on technology, we’re all here together. Thank you, next slide. Please just be patient as it takes a moment for the images to show up and while we’re waiting, all of these black history icons are icons in the disability… Are not necessarily icons in the disability history movement, but we’re gonna talk about why that’s the case as well. But the pictures of the people that you’re seeing, every single one of them has contributed to our history. And when I say our, I mean American history in a meaningful way. The next slide, even though it’s taking a moment to load, the next slide is Bradley Lomax and Bradley Lomax was a member of the Black Panther party. And he was one of the people who made it possible for the 504 legislation to actually be put into law. As you know, the 504 legislation that talks about accommodations and making sure that the physical and mental needs of those who need them are in place, it was put into law, but it wasn’t implemented into law. And so Bradley Lomax and others helped plan to sit-in and this sit-in was what made it happen and this is him at the mic leading the sit-in. As a Black Panther member, he also brought in the rest of the Black Panther party. And not many people are aware of this, but the Black Panther party advocated for disability rights and the intersectionality of those rights. And they actually provided food, they actually helped provide other things for the sit-in and those who were protesting outside. So they tried to make the protestors more comfortable in the protest area. And some of them even joined the protest as caretakers for those who needed it. Next slide please. And while we’re waiting for this image to load, I just wanna say that these are just a few of the people that I’ve mentioned to you today. So much of our history is intertwined, but I also wanna take the opportunity here to say that there’s so much of the present that’s intertwined between black people and people with disabilities. And while we’re waiting on the slide to load, I do wanna point out that when we look at schools and when we look at other social environments, sometimes there’s a policing problem against black kids and kids with disabilities. They’re often targeted by school police, and they often have a much harder time than their peers and increasingly they’re being put into the school to prison pipeline, which uses schools as a way to try to control the behavior of black children and of children with disabilities. And as a result, a lot of times, they ended up getting arrested, they end up getting suspended. They end up just not having the services that they need. And this is the same thing. So when we are talking about history, we’re also pulling some things into the present. So as we keep talking about these intersectionalities, one thing that we can almost do is use these terms in these groups interchangeably, and that’s the real talk. We’re also gonna get into some real talk today, because I think it’s important for us as advocates, maybe as those of us who are caring for a disabled young person to learn how we can advocate based on the history of how people who are disabled and people who are black have often worked together. This next slide isn’t loading, but the next it’s taking its time to load, but this next very surprising slide that not many people think about is actually Harry Belafonte. Harry Belafonte suffered from a lot of learning disabilities, including dyslexia and problems with his sight. And yet he was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement, and often did a lot of work in the Civil Rights Movement. He’s also then an advocate for disabled rights, but not in the context that many people think he’s done a lot of work in education and advocacy there. This image is Johnnie Walker, and she is one of the reasons that we have independent living facilities. She was a woman who her entire life suffered from the effects of having issues learning, having emotional conditions and being ushered in and out of mental institutions. And her point was we can live by ourselves, we can live independently. We don’t have to be put in sanitariums. We don’t have to be locked up and because of her, a lot of independent living legislation was put into place. And I see a question, thank you for that. I see a question and a question was how do school policies contribute to the prison pipeline? This is a good segue into this intersectionality slide so I’m gonna go ahead and address that question. A lot of times, school policies such as zero tolerance policies, such as three strikes, you’re out policies, all of these policies can sometimes get children with disabilities and children who are black into trouble. Another thing that contributes to this is a lot of times, the behavioral problems that come up in classrooms are seen as an issue and it is not necessarily that the behavioral problems are keeping from classwork which seems to be the focus of a lot of schools, but a lot of times there’s not effort put into trauma-informed classrooms and understanding how those things play out in an academic environment. And it’s not the fault of the teachers because most teachers work very hard to ensure safe classrooms and make sure their kids are getting what they need, but this is just something that’s just not known. Disability history and thinking about the different ways that kids learn are not written in school policies because school policies are sometimes written to be punitive and punishment rather than trauma informed so you’ll see that in a lot of public schools. So the reason I’m bringing this up is because when we think about how our identities inform who we are and how we behave and how we’re labeled, this has everything to do with the intersection of disability and black history. So with this intersectionality, we have a lot of identities with no limit to how we might be marginalized. So for instance, we might suffer from depression. We might be black. We might be a woman. We might have English as a second language. We might be low income. One person can carry all of those identities, or you might be white, you might have a learning disability. And those might be the only identities that you see yourself as, or that society sees yourself as, but any one of our identities can be marginalized. And when a lot of your intersectionality is being black and disabled, both of these are marginalized. And with any marginalized population, there’s often a lack of power and a lack of acknowledgement and even a lack of understanding. With that being said, all of our identities deserve to be honored and they all deserve equality. As was pointed out, black people have experienced marginalization in many communities, including the disabled community. We’re gonna talk more about that in a second and many disabled people experience barriers to other marginalized communities because in many communities, having some type of disability, whether physical, mental, emotional is actually looked down upon and stigmatized quite a bit so the intersectionality works both ways. Next slide please. So I told you about a lot of people, and that was just a very short sample of the list of people that I mentioned, a very short sample of those who live at the intersectionality of blackness and of disability. And it’s just there are hundreds more, and we could just have a webinar just listing them and probably run several hours. So if all of these people who were disabled made such an impact on black history, on American history, why don’t we learn about these connections in school? So there are two major reasons that we don’t. The first is the myth of American exceptionalism. Under this myth, Americans must be seen as perfect and superior to every other nationality in the world like there’s something special about Americans and so for an American to be disabled or an American to be black cuts away from being perfect and superior based on the images that have traditionally been shown. Most of the images that depict perfect Americanism are those of white men. And so if you fall out… Straight white men let me say. So if you fall outside of that realm in any way, then your history is not necessarily recognized as important. The next thing is disabled people do not deserve full recognition. This is part of the myth of exceptionalism. You have to be exceptional and have done something amazing before you can be recognized and even then it’s downplayed. And unless you’re a part of the elite group that has your story told, and when that does happen, the narrative is always in spite of. In spite of Teddy Roosevelt’s bout with a physical condition, he was still able to accomplish these things and that type of language not only disenfranchises disabled people and black people from the Americanism that they deserved as being part of the American fabric, but it also continues to underscore some of the disparities we have in working with one another. The second is racial prejudice. And this has a lot to do with number one, that black people must be perfect in order to gain acceptance. A lot of times when we hear about police involved shootings or police brutality, the black person that may have been the victim of this is often held up as a villain in the media. But there are times that they don’t when every wonderful thing about this black person is given. Oh, they graduated high school, they took good care of their kids, they went to college, they contributed to their community. They did everything that they could, and everything was wonderful and it is such a tragedy that such a good person had to have been taken away by racial prejudice. The second is this myth of black excellence. And I say that it’s the myth of black excellence because this is on the opposite end of the spectrum. All black people do not have to be perfect in order to deserve to exist or to have their stories told. And so many times, black people must be excellent and they must… Just oh, you have to be at the top of the class. You have to overcome some obstacle in order to be worthy, to have your story told or to be counted as a part of history and that’s just not necessarily the truth. Nobody, black people, disabled people, whatever label or category, however a person identifies themselves, that does not take away anyone’s right to have their story told and to be seen as part of society. And lastly, black people cannot exist in their intersectionality. There is a stigma that if a black person has another intersectionality, they might be a member of the LGBTQ community, they might be and disabled and be a woman and not speak English as a first language. The blackness is what is often focused on, and there are so many stories of black disabled people who are Americans who don’t speak English as a first language, or who are members or were members of the LGBTQ+ community who are also not recognized as part of our American fabric and it boils down to the interaction of these two things, the myth of American exceptionalism and racial prejudice. Next slide please. Oh, I see another question and this question says, what are some of the methods or tactics that began in the Civil Rights Movement that we can use to advocate for disability rights? Oh, thank you for that question. That is a beautiful question. We are actually gonna answer that question a little bit later in the presentation, but I’m gonna give you a preview. And one of the previews of the answer is to make sure those stories are told in some type of way, and to stand firmly in identity, but we are gonna get to that. Thank you for that question, that’s beautiful. So now we wanna just really continue to keep it real about this talk. So the disability project talk to black disabled people, and they talked about the things that we’ve talked about, the intersectionality, how are you seen in history? How are you treated now? And here are some of the things that people who carry both blackness and some type of disability said. They said that the disabled community doesn’t always recognize race, inequality and racism. And a lot of times that has to do with sometimes we can get so deeply intertwined into our activism and into our agenda and making sure that our needs are met that we forget that intersectionality does exist and that intersectionality can have a negative effect on the people that are sometimes meant to benefit from it. And the disability movement is often taught and is often presented as a very white movement. And that’s just not the case. There have been… As a matter of fact, the very history of the disability movement actually has roots in black history. And that was after the Civil War during the reconstruction, once enslaved black people were free citizens, they were so physically disabled, a lot of them had emotional issues. Many of them were committed into asylums. And there were maiming of their physical bodies from the things that happened during enslavement. And this is when the Freedmen’s Bureau got involved and created actually universal healthcare for black people, but it ended up getting dismantled once it was taken to the states, because the very states that didn’t want enslaved black people to leave enslavement in the first place were handed over the responsibility of caring for this huge population of disabled black people. And of course they defunded it. They said, no, and these were shut down. So that’s really one of the things, really one of the big, big things in history as well, aside from the people, one of the events that really began sort of some of that stigma and the disability movement. The next is that few disabled organizations have black people in leadership. And again, this is just when you think about who has time to advocate, who has time to build community and which nonprofits and social organizations usually get the most funding and the most support, that goes back again to a racial disparity in the resources that are available. The next thing is is that sometimes disabled black people without a physical disability are seen as not disabled enough. This too comes from some of the medical and mental health history, some of the medical racism that black people experienced, things that are still apparent in healthcare today when dealing with black bodies, such as black people don’t feel pain the way that white people do, black people have a mental capacity where they’re used to oppression and these types of things. Of course, none of these are true, but all of this plays into when it comes to being black and disabled. If your disability is not super visible, if it’s not something that can be right away spotted, then you’re not disabled enough so you’re really not a part of the disabled movement and you can just be treated as an able-bodied person. And then they also said that sometimes the needs of black disabled people are not taken seriously. And this has a lot to do again with race where sometimes black voices are not heard and black voices are not recognized. Some of it has to do with the political culture, but a lot of it has the fact to do with, again, the way that we are taught history, the way that we move in society around blackness and around the disabled and especially at that intersection of being black and disabled is not one that centers the voices of black people. Next slide please. So now we’re gonna get close to answering the question that was posed. What are some of the things from the Civil Rights Movement? How can we begin to advocate? So one of the things we wanna make sure that we do when it comes to black people and disabled people and black disabled people is think about ways of how we can change the narrative. Because I use this example all the time when I’m talking in other history classes, we all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. From little Little Red Riding Hood’s viewpoint, she was an explorer who no Goldilocks, she doesn’t remember her fairy tales today. Goldilocks and the three bears. From that point of view, Goldilocks was just an explorer who happened upon this bear’s house and had a great time and got off scot-free for, but from the bear’s point of view, she was breaking and entering, she was in their business. She was stealing their food, sleeping in their bed, she was all in the wrong. So depending on who has narrative, we can be seen as Goldilocks, or we can be seen as one of three bears. So how do we begin to change narrative? How do we begin to close that gap that lies between blackness and being disabled? So the first thing we have to do when we think about changing the narrative is actually listening and engaging. And what you’re doing here today is one of those things, listening to the history, beginning to engage. Second is taking responsibility for your own learning. Particularly when it comes to any marginalized community, but that person in that community is not responsible for your or our learning. So if we wanna know what it’s like to be disabled, or the things that disabled people face, or why legislation, or why disabled people or the disabled person experiences, whatever fill in the blank, it’s our responsibility to learn. We have to take the initiative. We have to read the books. We have to do the Google thing. We have to listen to podcasts like the podcast that was just mentioned here today, we have to keep working with Exceptional Lives, it’s our responsibility to do that. Related to that is to support those doing the work. Keep showing up to webinars, keep making donations, keep asking questions, keep advocating for legislation, keep raising your voices. Next we have to create safe spaces. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about that, but in general, creating a safe space for someone who’s black or disabled or both can sometimes include us making it okay for stories to be told or a presence to be felt without comment and regardless of how other people might feel in the room in terms of their comfort. As I’ve often said to some of the students that we work with at a CC house who are disabled and who are black, your very presence in the room is an act of resistance. So when you walk into these rooms, realize that you are making a statement just by bringing yourself into a room and inserting yourself into a narrative that you are a part of, but that a lot of times society doesn’t see you as part of. The next is to include voices in decision making. If you’re doing a program or you wanna participate in a program, or if you sit on a board or if you teach, or if you do anything, even if you’re a parent or you’re the spouse of someone, or you are a part of either of these communities, the voices at the table who are the direct beneficiaries need to be at the table. So a question that you can always ask to make sure those voices are part of the decision-making is who is at the table, who is not at the table that should be at the table. Who are you bringing in with you? Whose shoulders are you standing on to be part of the decision-making and who needs to stand on your shoulders? Next is to examine policies for implicit bias. And this one very simple one. I remember this in my high school when we would have our morning like announcements, it was rules that every single person had to stand for the pledge of allegiance. Every single person you had to stand, but there were students who were unable to stand. There were teachers who were unable to stand. So putting in things where people have to physically do something, think a certain way, move a certain way is implicit bias. It’s very ableist and it doesn’t necessarily support anybody. So think about why that movement or what that policy is asking is important and what is it trying to do? And related to that is something that a lot of people in society are still having a hard time doing. And we have to acknowledge that white privilege exists and that ableism exists. A lot of times when people hear the word white privilege, they think, well, no, I’m a white person and I had to work and I wasn’t giving up, I wasn’t giving anything. So I don’t have any more privileges than the next person. That’s not what white privilege means. White privilege actually means that the way that white people have been seen in society and the way that white people have benefited from a history of enslavement and a history of having control over the body is people who are not white has given them a place in society where they’re viewed differently from people who are not white. And I give this example all the time. If we both walk into an expensive store, if I’m black and you’re white, lots of times, you’re going to be treated a little bit differently than I am and you can read about the stopping frisk policies of police. You can read about the stories of black and white people who will testify to this. The same is with ableism. Next is to build coalitions across intersectionality. If there’s work that needs to be done, or things that we wanna for for the disabled community. To me, since we’re talking about black history today, the Black Panthers did an amazing job at doing this because even though they’re not known for their work with disabled Americans, they actually helped build coalitions for disabled Americans. They built coalitions with disabled organizations and people who were part of the LGBTQ+ community, the elderly veterans, there were a plethora of organizations that did not necessarily share one thing, but shared a number of things. And so when we are building coalitions, we can definitely do that across our intersectionalities. It’s one way to honor our intersectionality as well. The next is to hire disabled and black consultants. That speaks for itself, make it an effort to do that. And related to that is to support black business, disabled businesses and the media that they put out. Next slide, please. So here is the movement, what do we do? What are some of the things from the Civil Rights Movement that we can take with us? What are some of the things from social organizing that we know now? When we think about the movement, these are just things that we can do just now before we even organize. Just in ourselves, what can we do? The first is to understand that the body is not an apology and we wanna be body shame free and body terrorism free. And actually the body is not an apology is one of those groups that builds coalition and is a black group and builds across intersectionality as well. They’re a very good group and they have put a lot of these into their oath that they take with different communities. The next is to engage in curiosity driven dialogue, not debating or arguing. I know so many times when someone is saying something that we don’t know or something that we may disagree with on a huge level, it’s very difficult not to wanna argue back, it’s to not to wanna sometimes shut down, but when we are creating a movement, when we are trying to understand one another, this is one of the things is to just have a dialogue. The next is to embrace multiple perspectives, that gets to intersectionality and what I was saying earlier is that all of us have multiple identities and every single one of those identities is worthy of being recognized. The next is to have compassion for, and honor people’s very journeys and that speaks for itself. Again, who we are, how we got to where we are all deserves honor and all deserve space in our stories. This is a big one, to expect and accept discomfort. One of the issues with the Civil Rights Movement and anything particularly in black history where black people either were working toward equality or going against respectability politics was that it made a lot of people uncomfortable. It made white people uncomfortable. It even made some black people who really saw to assimilate and become the white ideal uncomfortable, but discomfort is a part of movement. It’s a part of revolution. And the more that we become comfortable with our discomfort, the more we grow. And in terms of learning, it’s often said that our biggest learning is on the other side of our discomfort and that’s absolutely true. And to quickly move along, our responses when we get a bad response, so when people are lashing out, it’s just that responses are not often about other people, they’re often about ourselves. And the same is true for other people. We’re at different places in our journey. So if we are trying to create a movement, create a safe space, create honor for blackness and disability, then we need to understand that we can honor other places on our journey. The next is to interrupt attempts to derail. Sometimes people will ask questions. Well, we are talking about black people and disabled people, but women’s history month is next month, what about women? Well, there’s plenty of room for women, and there are plenty of black disabled women as we saw, but today’s point is about blackness and how disability intersect and how these histories and their futures in present are intertwined. Work to ask questions, have conversations that’s based on actually what was said, not what you thought, not what you heard, but exactly what was said. And if you have questions to continue to engage in the dialogue. Next is to celebrate differences and then to create and spread radical unapologetic love. And that was the thing that I wanna just end with that before we move to questions. That’s one thing that I just wanna point out is that all of these things as part of the movement were not always part of the movement. And some of these things can actually traumatize and trigger people, which is why we need to be really intentional about making sure that we respect bodies and spaces and words and listening, because have you noticed that the stories of the Civil Rights Movement and the disability movement are all stories where someone is being traumatized, where someone’s hurt, or where someone got jailed or where someone was beaten or where someone had something that happened. All of these stories that we celebrate and hold up as part of history, these stories are stories that carry a lot of trauma with them, and that trauma can be passed down. So when we’re thinking about how we wanna change the narrative and how we wanna respect the movement, if we keep these things into consideration, this is definitely an opportunity to spread some radical unapologetic love along the way. So thank you. Now I’ll turn it back over or we’ll take questions.
[Darlika] Thank you, Dr. Grover. Now families, keep in mind that you can use the chat section to type in your questions. You can type them in for everyone, or they can be typed in anonymously. Dr. Grover, can you see the questions? I see some questions in the chat. Oh, thank you all so much for inviting me and for giving me the opportunity to speak on this intersection. I think this is something that a lot of us really should think about and really understand like there’s so many intersectionalities. And honestly, if I can just end with my soapbox, it’s time for us to start working together because all of us deserve the right to exist as we are fully and to be treated as though we’re enough. So I really thank you guys for the opportunity and the space to do that. So if there are no more questions and oh, and thank you all for your comments and questions during the presentation. So if there are no more, I’ll turn it back over.
[Darlika] Thank you and again, we have another quick poll. Number one is overall, how was your experience with this session? One, I did not enjoy this at all. Two, it wasn’t great. Three, it was okay. Four, it was pretty good. Five, it was excellent. And number two, I learned something new I can use to support my child, my family, or children and families I work with. One strongly disagree, two disagree. You can see them? Yes, but may I interrupt? I see we do have a question. I’m so sorry to interrupt, but I really wanna make sure that we get everyone’s questions. I apologize, it just popped up in my chat box. It’s time for me to get a new computer, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it. So the question was, what do I think of the hardest parts of lessons for my students to hear and why do I think that they struggle in those areas? Wow. I think for my students, some of the hardest parts are hearing about race and hearing about disability is very difficult when we’ve been taught things in school. Or if we grow up with a certain point of view, it’s very difficult when we learn that that’s not necessarily the case. And that can challenge a lot of our core beliefs and a lot of things that we thought we learned and that’s very uncomfortable. And sometimes it could actually conflict with some of the things we learned politically and some of the things that our families taught us, that’s very difficult and I think people struggle with that. And I think often they struggle with that because we don’t have enough safe spaces in society to support this kind of dialogue. When we have this type of dialogue in society, it’s usually I’m wrong and you’re right, and this is what happened and so what you say didn’t matter, and that’s not the case, there’s a lot of both and, there’s a lot of things that we can talk about and learn. We don’t often approach these things such as race and ableism with an open frame. We often do these things in a very contentious way and in a way that encourages debate and that’s the wrong way to do it. That’s why it’s so important for us to create those safe spaces where people can feel free to say hey, I’m uncomfortable with this, I wasn’t taught this. Or also the opportunity for people to be able to talk about that and work through it. That’s why telling stories is so important and understanding that our stories, regardless of what anyone else may think about them, are our stories. So we must make space for the stories of everyone, whether we disagree with them or agree with them or not. I hope that answered your question so thank you so much for that question, thank you. Ms. Darlika, I’m so sorry. I just want you–
[Darlika] No, that’s okay. I seen it after. Yes ma’am, I will turn it back over, thank you.
[Darlika] I wanna make sure we don’t have any more questions. So back to the poll, we have four quick questions that you all can answer and the third question was I learned about resources in my community or near that can support my child, my family, or children and families. One being strongly disagree, and five being strongly agree. And the last question would be on a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to recommend this session to a friend or a colleague? And lastly, we would love for you all to join us with more real talk disability. We have another webinar coming up on February 17, recognizing early signs of autism and overcoming barriers to services.
Registration again is at /webinars. Thank you all for coming. We want to thank the Wilson Foundation for their dedication to the Baton Rouge Capital Area community, and for supporting this webinar series.
Real Talk About Disabilities:
Issues faced by families of color
These free webinars are for parents and providers caring for children with disabilities. Hear from professionals in the Greater Baton Rouge Area addressing topics that concern their community, such as mental health, racial disparities, life skills, and youth services.