As language, perceptions and social mores change at a seemingly faster and faster rate, it is becoming increasingly difficult for communicators to figure out how to refer to people with disabilities. This style guide, developed by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at Arizona State University, is intended to help. It covers almost 200 words and terms commonly used when referring to disability.
YOUR HOST: Sarah E Kirwan, MSPA
Sarah is the Founder and CEO of Eye Level Communications, LLC (Eye Level), a California-based disability and woman-owned small business. Eye Level offers disability equity and inclusion training, strategic business consulting services, and speaking engagements that connect communities and drive positive social change for people living with disabilities.
She is a public administration professional with more than 25-years of experience, and her work and research for the last decade has focused on healthcare administration, communications, training, and policy. In 2011, Sarah was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, and in 2019, she was diagnosed with Superior Semi-Circular Canal Dehiscence, a rare inner-ear disorder. Her personal and professional experiences have made her a passionate disability rights champion, and she’s dedicated to having the critical conversations at eye level that connect people to each other, to their communities, and most importantly, to themselves.
Sarah has appeared in several advocacy videos for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and she’s been interviewed for feature articles in Prevention Magazine. She is a member of the National Small Business Association Leadership Council, and the National and California Diversity Councils. She earned her Master of Science in Public Administration degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Hi, and welcome to Incluse This!. I'm your host, Sarah Kirwan, and this is a movement for disability equity. 10 months ago, I really had no idea what a podcast was or that I'd be here introducing my own today. What I did know is that I was determined to use my voice in the most productive way I knew how, and Incluse This is the result of the work that I've done. I started slowly after the COVID pandemic hit the United States, as ableist messaging was running rampant in all public communications. Then I started working more aggressively on this project after the murder of George Floyd. In the weeks that followed, I searched for answers to my own questions. Why now? Why hadn't I used my white voice of privilege sooner? I felt shame and I felt guilt for not crying out against the inhumane treatment of so many people of color in our country. And then all I felt was anger.
I couldn't join the protests or march in the streets because I am auto immune compromised, but I wondered, who's protecting the First Amendment rights of disabled folks to peacefully protest and join friends and allies in the Black Lives Matter movement? I was an activist who couldn't act, and the more I watched and read the news, the more I felt this inner desire and push to use my voice for change in whatever way I could. I started having daily conversations with friends and colleagues of color and I began networking with a larger group of activists around the world, as I desperately wanted to enhance my understanding of the inequitable foundation and infrastructure our country was built upon and around.
Then, I asked myself these amazing questions that were posed to Priya Parker, the author of The Art of Gathering, at a very young age by her mother. What is it that I know how to do? Where's the need? How can I help? And I answered them with the help of many friends and colleagues. What I know how to do is advocate for people with disabilities, because I am one. Where's the need? It's all over the world. And how can I help? By using my voice to provide disability education and awareness. So Incluse This is about having conversations and making mistakes. It's a space where we can explore different perceptions of disability, as well as inclusion and equity for disabled people.
I want to have more meaningful conversations about disability. I want to explore ideas. And I want to bring shared experiences to the table in order to connect communities and drive positive social change for people living with disabilities. And I want to more deeply connect with the disability community myself. Episodes of Incluse This! will drop every Wednesday and you can find them on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Stitcher. Subscribe today so you don't miss out.
Thank you for spending your time with us and joining the Incluse This! conversation and movement. Incluse This! is brought to you by Eye Level Communications, LLC. Eye Level is a California based woman and disability owned small business committed to having critical conversations at eye level that are necessary to move disability to the forefront of the greater diversity conversation. If you'd like to learn more about the work we're doing, please visit the website at www.eyelevel.works. You can also email me directly with any podcast episode ideas or questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember to put your disability lens on when you look at the world and tune in next week for another stimulating conversation on Incluse This!. The podcast that's really a movement. Take care and be well.