Why is #mydisabledlife worthy?

November 16, 2022

In this week's episode of Here to Help, Chris' guest is disability rights and inclusion activist Imani Barbarin. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani often writes and uses her platform to speak from the perspective of a disabled black woman. They discuss the importance of having difficult but necessary conversations, what Covid-19 revealed about ableism and her unwavering belief in what's possible.

- Hello everyone. I am Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed, and welcome to the next episode of Here to Help. At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs. This is what gets us out of bed in the morning, and what keeps us going all day, and what powers that mission is people. "Here to Help" is a look at how experience, strength, and hope inspires people to want to help others. My very special guest today is Imani Barbarin. Imani is a disability rights and inclusion activist, and speaker who uses her voice and social media platforms to create conversations engaging the disability community. Born with cerebral palsy, Imani often writes and uses her platform to speak from the perspective of a disabled black woman. In the last few years, she has created over a dozen trending hashtags that allowed disabled folk the opportunity to have their perspectives heard while forcing the world to take notice. #PatientsAreNotFaking, #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow #AblesAreWeird and others provide a window into disabled life while forming a community. Imani is from the Philadelphia area and holds a master's in Global Communications from the American University of Paris. She has published works in 'Forbes,' 'Rewire,' 'Healthline,' 'BitchMedia' and more. She runs the blog, CrutchesAndSpice.com, and a podcast of the same name. Imani, thank you so much for joining me today.

- Thank you for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

- Well, let's start where we always start these conversations by asking, how are you doing today right now?

- I'm exhausted. I am frustrated with the Covid response as it is right now, and just hoping that it gets better for me and my people.

- Well, thank you so much for being here today, and let's dive in with... Here to Help is really an exploration of what motivates people to want to help others. And for those who are unfamiliar with your work, can you talk a little bit about your background, and how it led you to this point as an activist for your community?

- Sure. So growing up, I grew up in Southeastern Pennsylvania in primarily all White classes and I was also very much so usually the only disabled girl, let alone disabled Black girl. So I was usually very much so alone throughout my childhood. I went to some events here and there for disabled kids, but it wasn't as frequent as I would've loved for it to be. I was also normalized through all of my classes, and raised to believe that I had to overcome my disability in order to be marketable and to really exhibit my skills and all these things. And that was really hard for me as a disabled person. And then when I got to college, all that I knew about disability kind of failed me all at the same time. And so, yeah, it was very difficult. And once I started studying about disability, and understanding disability, I really wanted to talk about it from my perspective. And I started just talking with other disabled people, and using the internet and sharing things online. And that's kind of how I got to where I am today. In regards to disability and activism.

- We have multiple, what we call Inclusion Resource Groups here at Indeed or IRGs. And one of those is called Access Indeed, which is in support and allyship for the disability community. And we actually asked members of our IRG to submit some questions. Many of the questions that I will ask came from them, and I'd like to start with the first one that they asked, which is just talking about your advocacy for disabled people. Can you talk about why that work is so important? And in particular, what are some of the most common misconceptions that people have about accessibility?

- Well the first thing about why it's incredibly important is because I think that every single marginalization leads to disability in some way. Every single way that we understand difference is through the lens of disability. Even if it's coded language, even if it is not as overt as some other marginalization, and discrimination, it's always there. It's always in the background. And in order to understand and fight for equality, inclusion and equity, we cannot ignore disability at all. It is the thing that binds us all together regardless of background, regardless of class, creed, religion, any of those things, disability is the one thing that we all have in common, and we are all susceptible to. We also make up about 26% of the US population, about 15% of the global population. So we're not a small number of people, and yet we are very much so erased in a lot of narratives. And then as it pertains to making sure that we move forward, we have to deeply understand it. And so this work was really important to me because it really contextualized a lot of my own experiences. It really made me feel like I wasn't losing my mind. I literally felt like for all of college, and a lot of high school that I was just losing it. That all the ways in which people were treating me were my fault or that there was something written on my face or what have you that said, oh, she's different. She's used to be isolated, she's not going to have any of the same social milestones. Then when those ideas around disability failed me, learning through other disabled people about the experiences that we've had historically were incredibly helpful. And so this work is the most important work to me, and it gave me so many answers about my own life.

- So much of your advocacy you do in the digital world, like interviews and podcasts like this, you have your blog, you're very active on Twitter and TikTok, and other social media. So I guess one of the questions is, do you think of yourself as a creator first or an activist first?

- That's always such a hard question. I remember my very first speaking engagement, I was on this panel about writing and writing difference. And they said to all of us, oh, you all are activists. And every single one of the people on that panel went, "No!" We were so terrified of the word because when you think of activism, you think of so many different things, especially for disabled people, you think of like physical actions and things like that. A lot of people qualify me as an activist or categorize me as an activist or. But I consider myself first and foremost a communicator. That is my training. That is what I studied and that is why I got my advanced degree, was to communicate stories, and ideas about disability that resonate with the disability community and really lend credence to our own stories. And the methodologies change from platform to platform, whether it's blog or Twitter or Instagram, what have you. That changes. But me being able to communicate, that's the most important thing to me, is being able to tell stories in a way that people feel comforted and less alone by them.

- So in that work, in the communication and the creation that you craft, can you talk about the role of your intersectionality? Intersectionality is so important to all of this work, but as a disabled Black woman, you are a member of multiple different communities, and identities. And how does that show up in the work that you do?

- I think I really try to impress upon people just how everything is connected. Like when we talk about disability and blackness, we talk often a lot about, injury due to this system. But we rarely talk about how it is set up by design to disabled Black and Brown people. So for instance, if you are Black and you're poor, and you're living next to a highway because that's the only land you have access to, or that's the only apartment buildings you have access to, you are at higher risk for respiratory diseases like asthma. If you are somebody that lives in a food desert, and do not have access to fresh foods and vegetables, you're likely going to have gastrointestinal issues, blood sugar issues, glucose difficulties. All of these things are by design. Historically, we think about things like the runaway slave syndrome. Where the idea that a Black person wanting to be free was a mental illness. Because technically our bodies are built for labor. And this carries over into the way that we talk about resource allocation and where Black people are supposed to be in society today. And if we do not unpack these things, we are letting people have the toolkit to continue to oppress us. And as a Black disabled person, it's very difficult to pinpoint which "ism" I am experiencing at any one given moment. But being able to take a step back and look at my life through all of these lenses and understand how all of these things work together is incredibly helpful. Especially as a Black woman who sits at the intersection of medical racism, medical sexism, misogynoir, all of these ideas that are meant to keep me oppressed. So it gives context.

- So I'd love to dive a little deeper into some of this. So in a lot of your online advocacy, you talk about the system of eugenics in relation to anti-blackness, ableism, fat phobia, misogyny, and specifically you spearheaded the #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy movement. And for the folks listening today who are new to this, could you briefly describe the goals of this movement?

- Yeah, so around January of this year, I believe Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director was talking about the efficacy of Covid vaccines. And she was saying that of the small amount of people that did die while vaccinated, they had preexisting conditions to begin with. So like she kind of brushed it off, like it was no big deal. And for disabled people, it was kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back because we realistically knew how disabled people were being treated in the medical system during Covid. At the beginning of Covid, there were several states, almost all states that created medical rationing guidelines that in the event that a hospital was at capacity, who would get care and disabled people were almost always at the bottom of that list. Several complaints with Departments of Health and Human Services were filed on behalf of disabled people in order to change these things just so that we can get healthcare. And several months after the medical rationing guidelines, oh also, during the medical rationing guidelines, they were also proposing that disabled people who use ventilators in their daily lives, if they were to go to the hospital, they would commandeer that ventilator to give to a non-disabled person because it was worth more to save them than the disabled person. So we were very much so fearful. Then you have recordings of doctors saying that they're not going to save their disabled patients. There's no point in allotting resources to them. So all of this is playing in our mind. And then you have the CDC director saying, "Well, vaccines are effective, and of those that did die, like they were disabled anyway," so come on. And it was just one more thing. One more thing for disabled people to have to hear. Knowing that people didn't really care to keep us alive to begin with, our peers, our family members, the medical system, it felt like everything was crashing in on us throughout the entire pandemic. So I just created My Disabled Life is Worthy because we had been hearing for months, for almost two years at that point, well, we need to keep the economy going. Disabled people die anyway, our lives are worthy, our lives are worthy of being in the room, of being alive, of just having access to resources. And so I started that just so that disabled people had something that we could grab onto together, and really let people know that this is not okay, this is not acceptable. We are not acceptable losses in Covid mitigation, and that we should really be creating a society that is designed for all of us and to keep all of us afloat if not thriving.

- So activism, I'm going to all it that for now, understanding that there's a lot going into this work, but activism is always incredibly difficult, and challenging work and especially facing people who have, for whatever reasons, vested interests in keeping things the way that they are. And intolerance and cruelty and hatred are always a part of that. But you've chosen to engage in the online world in which, even just sharing your opinions on your favorite taco place could lead to a whole lot of vitriol. How do you handle the darker side of this that, that you run into, I would imagine on a regular basis?

- Yeah. One time I said that I didn't like soup and I was called ableist for not liking soup. So I understand like there's definitely some very controversial opinions that I share on a daily basis. In this work I've gotten death threats. I've been publicly harassed. I remember I tweeted about how disabled people are treated by a lot of these gig economies and how disabled people lack access to a lot of services. And people said that I was an enemy of the working class because they're just trying to get a job and like, well, accessibility is important too. But I kind of rationalize it like, if I weren't doing this work, my life would not make sense. I can't tell you just how much of my life feels like it is mine to hold now that I have this work. And so much of what I went through as a child was out of my control and I felt like there was nothing I could actively do to get these people to treat me better, to get these people to actually interact with me in a way that is reflective of who I am and not their stereotypes around disability. So I try to weigh the threats, and the piling on and sometimes the doxxing against who I would be if I didn't have this work, and who I'm in community with, and who I would no longer be able to be around if I weren't doing this. And so they can do whatever they want, but I know that my foundation is strong, and this is what I am meant to do. I genuinely feel like this is what my life is meant to be doing. So yeah, I don't, what are they going to do? I think it is scary and it is dangerous, but I'm willing to risk it.

- For Indeed, obviously our mission is to help people get jobs and where any type of marginalization shows up in everyday life, in certainly just access to any kind of resources employment is one of these areas that is incredibly fraught and challenging. And so for us, I'd love to hear your thoughts for the folks at Indeed who are listening, as we're thinking about how our products work to ideally help lower and remove barriers to employment for disabled people. What are some of the things that we should be, and other people who do the work that we do should be thinking about and the experiences in particular for looking for employment that we might not be aware of from our own position of privilege?

- Well, I think one of the first things that Indeed can do is be kind of a spearheader in radical transparency. What a lot of people don't realize is just how limited our lives are as disabled people due to the policy. So for instance, if I am a disabled person and I'm making on average more than $2,000 a month, I don't qualify for any of the programs that keep me afloat, like food stamps or Medicaid or sometimes housing assistance or disability assistance. So if I am taking a chance on a job, that is saying that it'll pay my bills, they have to pay enough of my bills for me to even take the opportunity, take that leap of applying for that job because there's that fright of if I take this job, and make even sometimes 50 cents more per month than the value that my state allows me to have, then I could lose literally everything that I have. Having radical transparency on healthcare, for instance, in the state of Pennsylvania where I live, if you are on Medicaid, almost everything is covered. Almost all my medications, all my therapies, all of my, excuse me, all of my treatments are covered under Medicaid. But when I started working for an organization, and they had their own employee-related healthcare, then all of that stopped. We do not have better healthcare simply because we have it through our employer. That is usually a myth. So having radical transparency about benefits, healthcare, employee salaries, hourly wages, making sure people know the risk that they're taking because employment itself for disabled people is a risk. It is very much a risk. And we are finding that with Covid there are millions more people applying for disability, applying for some of these benefits just to keep their head above water. So just thinking about a job may not be in the cards for somebody. Additionally, once people start listing jobs, they need to go through them and see if there's any unnecessary physical tasks that are in that job description. If I am somebody that is just importing data from one database to another and it's all computer based, why do I need to lift 30 pounds? What is that part of my job? What is that little item there for? Other than to keep disabled people from applying to those jobs. And disabled people see it as such. Additionally, employers need to be very upfront about their capacity to provide accommodations. Now by law, they all should, but that's not always what happens in practice. What I want employers to do is to create radical accessibility so that everybody feels like they have the tools that they need to succeed. When we think of multiply marginalized people for Black people, for indigenous folks, for people who are queer, if they then on top of that disclose a disability, they're very fearful that they will lose their job. Disability is yet another intersection or another identity that can further isolate and keep them out of society. So coming forward with the need for an accommodation due to a disability is sometimes off the table entirely for people who are multiply marginalized. So making sure that the company itself is setting up a culture of accessibility that has as many tools available to employees as possible. That is what I hope employers do going forward.

- So we've talked a little bit about Covid. I know Covid plays a big part in your story. Can you talk a little bit about your own experience with Covid?

- Yes. So yeah, so early 2020 actually funnily enough, early 2020 I was getting back from filming a series about voting and the barriers around voting with a disability. And like less than a month later, Covid happens and everything shuts down. And at the time I was working for a protection, and advocacy agency, which is a disability agency that protects the rights to disabled people. And for most of Covid working there, it was like drinking water through a fire hose. The very first thing that we actually got was the medical ration guidelines for Pennsylvania. And lawyers at my organization had to immediately file complaints and immediately halt these policies because they basically put disabled people at the bottom of a list. Furthermore, you had almost every single service that disabled people use completely stop. Like there was nothing available to disabled people to get from point A to point B. There was no paratransit, there were no day programs, there was special education halted. Almost every single thing stopped at the exact same time. On top of the fact that we are also dealing with medical rationing and people's access to hospitals. Disabled people who are non-speaking, disabled people who need assistance in their medical appointments couldn't even bring somebody with them just to advocate for them in that situation. So literally everything was horrible. And then on top of that you have, White House press briefings where there's no ASL translator, there's no accessibility with that. Materials are not understandable for like a lot of disabled people that are reading them. They're not translated well. Like all these different problems happened all at the same time. And like on surface level, everybody's talking about how "Oh my goodness, we could have had accessibility the whole time." Disabled people are automatically isolated from society because of the accessibility that we do not have. So to watch as everything become accessible as everything is a crapshoot for disabled people was kind of like a slap in the face on top of everything else because if we had it beforehand, we probably would not be in this situation, if we thought of disability and disabled people better, we probably would not be here in the first place. Yeah. So, it was a very trying time and a lot of legislation, and advocacy happened that a lot of non-disabled people have no idea about. Yeah. And it's very disheartening for people to not really understand just how much of their lives they owe to disability advocacy and making sure that the ADA was enforced throughout the pandemic.

- So one of the phrases that I've heard you use in describing Covid is that Covid was a mass disabling event. And can you talk about, I guess first what you mean by that but then also when it comes to employment, and what are some of the accessibility measures that employers are our most disregarding?

- So in 2021 about 1.2 million more people applied for disability benefits, we're probably going to have way more than that over the next few years. Covid was a mass disabling event. Covid attacks your neurological system, your breathing, literally every cell in your body, and it is manifested in things like POTS, other autoimmune diseases, and nervous system regulation in your body. So people are now experiencing difficulty breathing, frequent fainting, fatigue, like really, really bad fatigue and all these symptoms under the umbrella of Long Covid, which is that your body is just not recovering back to its neutral state after having a Covid diagnosis. And it's estimated, I think that 24-28 million people have Long Covid and I think they said about a fourth of that they will need long-term care and long-term intervention, medical intervention for Long Covid. And when it comes to employers, it goes back to me saying you have to create a culture of accessibility. A lot of people do not understand just how, just how weak the disability system is in the United States. Just how much of it is propped up through grants, and donations and charitable organizations, and things like that. And a lot of people don't know what accessibility is, they don't know what they are entitled to. They do not know what the laws are. And it could be very frightening to go up to an employer, and say, my body, my mind does not function the way that it used to, but can I keep my job and in fact more than keep my job, can you actually give me A B or C to make sure that I can do my job properly? And so making sure that all these tools are available, making sure that organizations can partner with accessibility organizations in their state or in their country so that people can experiment with accessibility and understand nuance between accessibilities that is incredibly important, and making sure that that is a cultural value that you have in your organization.

- So when it comes to Covid employment, there is another side of the coin that I think many people might not have thought about is that the incredibly strong labor market we've been experiencing combined with the opportunity for many jobs to have remote work that didn't used to be available has given opportunity to many workers with disabilities who have historically been much more significantly marginalized. And the share of disabled adults who are now working is way ahead of where it was pre pandemic and is actually outpacing some of the gains for people without disabilities. So I'd love to hear some of your thoughts about, some of the thing that many people might not think about, about the opportunities that remote work affords.

- Well I think remote work gives people a lot of freedom to build their lives as they see fit. So much of our culture is obsessed with work and obsessed with building your communities around work. And so what the pandemic really showed us is just how work centric we are. And remote working is good for single parents or parents in general, people who have involved medical needs. Literally everybody can benefit from remote work. And it's really important that we make sure that a lot of the accessibility that we have discovered during the pandemic continues because you're going to get more quality workers. I venture to guess that every single disabled person that applies to your organization is probably overqualified. They're probably overqualified, they're probably underemployed because they've not been able to work with organizations that provide them with the accessibility that they need, including remote work. And we've been asking for this for years and disabled people are very much so, non-disabled people's competition now, which whereas before people thought, oh well, they're never going to hire A, B or C person. They're not qualified, they don't have the experience, but we didn't have the experience because we didn't have the accessibility. So it was cyclical. So now that we do, now that we have access to these shops, now that we have access to employment, we're coming for you. We're definitely making sure that all of our skills and all of our goals, all of our dreams are now within reach for us. And we have a lot of inherent knowledge about how systems work, about what accessibility can look like. And I think disabled people are invaluable to any organization, but that's just me speaking so.

- So along those lines. So Indeed is committed to doing this work to really understand and improve on a continuous basis the accessibility of our products to help disabled people get access to jobs. And so one of the questions that we have, and as a communications professional, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What is the best way for us to effectively and respectfully market and spread awareness about our products to avoid pandering or condescending or taking advantage of the disability community in that communication?

- Well I think one of the first things that people have difficulty with is making sure that the people who are impacted are the voices that are spreading the information. So having disabled people craft messages that are for disabled people. A lot of people want the CEO or the CFO or the head of culture diversity organization to be the face, but you really need the people that know that community the best and represent that community to spread that information. Additionally, making sure that everything you put out is accessible. Not just captions, not just transcripts, but having ASL interpreters, having ASL and BASL, Black American Sign Language as well. Making sure that people know that you are actually invested by the tools you make available to them in the way you make them available to them can send a really huge message to disable people. Oh, they actually did the research, they actually did the work. They actually made sure that I could interact with this piece of content or this message, and I could spread it to other people, and not feel like I have to do extra work to make sure that the message is accessible to my community. But that you all thought about it from the ground up. And those are fairly easy things to do. Hiring deaf translators for ASL means you're hiring disabled people to send that message. Hiring people who speak BASL, that's a huge deal because it's not even a language people even know exists for Black American Sign Language. Knowing that history of segregation for schools for the deaf. Like that's a thing. People are like, "Oh my god, you know about this, you know that this exists and that you are making sure that it is available to me in the language I speak," to those little pockets of symbolism. Really make a message go from, "Oh, we're just pandering to disabled people," to "No, we understand, disabled people and we know how to craft a message that is specifically for you."

- So we're talking today, Monday, November 7th on the eve of the US midterm elections. And when we met last week, this was one of the things that we talked about, the issues of leadership and disability have come up because one of the candidates has become a lightning rod because of some of the way that the opposing party has reacted to their potential ability to lead because of a disability. But also when I brought this up and we talked about this, you said, yeah, there's that, but then let's talk about voting and what the challenges for disabled people are in voting. So can you talk about this and and help share some thoughts to people who maybe don't think about these things?

- Yeah. So people got mad at me a few weeks ago because I said on TikTok that if voting is not accessible, I'm not voting, and if I feel unsafe to vote, I'm not voting. And a lot of people got mad. They were like, oh, well you have mail-in ballots. I'm like. I think it goes back to an attitude around accessibility where we gave you this one thing, why can't you all be happy? Why can't you all like just all use this one thing? But there's no one tool that is accessible universally to disabled people. We all have different disabilities, they're all different ways of being disabled. So whenever I brought this up, people were very angry with me and like, you're just not trying hard enough. Why do I have to overcome my disability to engage in my civic duty, right? And prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that 60 to 70% of polling places were inaccessible. That disabled people have difficulty with things like signature matching because if you have tremors, your signature can't match. Which by the way is required in a lot of states for mail-in voting. In certain states, if you have an absentee ballot, you need go to the doctor's office to get a note. And sometimes those doctors will charge you for paperwork. That is a poll tax. So if you have all of these barriers, disabled people are like on top of that, you are not wearing masks in the polling station. So if I have difficulty just accessing my ballot remotely, that means I have to go in and then I'm putting my life at risk as somebody who's immunocompromised or disabled or high risk to vote and nobody cares. Nobody cares to actually protect disabled people. And when we look at the statistics of who's disabled, and who has difficulty voting, it is a very stark picture. 30% of indigenous folks have a disability, 25% of black folks have a disability. And it is hugely difficult for these populations to vote on purpose. During the 2018 election of Brian Kemp, the election commission was shutting down polling places in Black and Brown neighborhoods, specifically saying that they were not accessible. Again, if we do not address disability, we are handing the tools to people who wish to oppress us, who wish to do us harm. And voting is a prime example of this every single time. So I have hope that people will go out and vote. I have hope that people will have access to the ballot should they want to vote. But I'm not going to hold it against disabled people who face insurmountable barriers just to vote, just to vote. I'm not going to judge them if we have not invested in transportation for disabled people, accessibility at the polls. Sometimes the voting machines for disabled people are not even set up. Why are we then passing judgment on disabled people for not engaging in society? It didn't matter that we engaged in society when we wanted the economy to continue for Covid. It didn't matter that we wanted disabled people to engage in the society when resources were out were allotted for accessibility. So why are we now passing judgment? Because now we want something of disabled people? They wanted their lives, you want their vote. I think that we should be working together to make sure that both of these things happen. Otherwise we cannot pass judgment or blame on disabled folks. And that is the greatest issue we face is so many issues are intertwined with disability and we completely forget, and then we basically shoot ourselves in the foot wanting progress, but ignoring that all of these little intricacies exist.

- Wow. Well thank you for sharing that. I'd love to, as we're sort of winding down here, there's so much that we couldn't possibly cover in the amount of time that we have here. But I'd love to just talk a little bit about representation. So one of the things in your online spaces that you engage in is commentary on pop culture. Can you talk a little bit about your hopes for how culture might change if there's better representation of all abilities and across all dimensions in popular culture?

- Yeah, so I think of it like this, like have you ever seen a latte like milk poured into a latte? Like all those little spindles of milk, like settle at the bottom, but at the top you have that little bit of foam, like the conversations that we have around culture are like the foam. But they all kind of sink down into greater, and more deeply held beliefs about other people that pertains race, gender, sexual orientation, disability. And so when you think about pop culture, basically I like to take that little foam and like pull the milk from that foam and make sure that people are taking a look at what are the deeper held beliefs that we have, and why are our reactions the way that they are, to pop culture based off of what these deeply held beliefs are. For disabled people, we make up 26% of the US population, but really only account for, I want to say 3% of speaking roles. And of those, a majority of them are not played by disabled people. So we have stories around disability that are not in our own hands. And it really requires that we shift entire narratives around disability if we are to survive. If we are to actually survive and thrive in the society, disabled people need to be the navigators of our own stories. And one of the things that you lose automatically once you become disabled is your ability to be seen as a reliable narrator of your own story. We always gaslit, "Oh, it's not as bad as you think it is. That other disabled person has it way worse than you, so why are you complaining?" Our ability to tell stories is everything. Our ability to be seen is everything. Because if we are not seen as we are in the volume that we are, people just discard of us. And that's what we saw with the pandemic. That's what we see in voting, that's what we see all throughout. And so it's incredibly important, particularly to have diverse narratives around disability that reflect our actual community.

- Well as we come to a close, I always ask the same question, and I'm really interested to hear your thoughts on this. And so the final question is with everything that we've been through in the last two and a half years with Covid and all of the challenges, and the suffering that we've seen everywhere, what have you seen or experienced during that time that has given you some hope for the future?

- For me, it always comes back to my community, the disability community. I've never met a group of people that is more open, and willing to use their own experiences to educate others, to bring people into the fold who are newly disabled to offer advice. I do think that disabled people will build the future. As difficult as that is for non-disabled to believe, we have most of the answers. We have desire for equity within our bones. We have histories of multiply marginalized disabled people that have been treading this path for lifetimes. So I think disabled people give me hope.

- Well, Imani, thank you so much for joining us today, and thank you so much for sharing your experience, and your story, and your hope, but especially thank you so much for everything that you do to help people see things differently and to help hopefully change some minds and change the world.

- Thank you so much. I appreciate it.