Transcript: Interview: Judy Heumann

[clip of people chanting “Sign 504” in the background]

[clip of Judy Heumann]: We want the law enforced. We want no more segregation. We will accept no more discussion of segregation. And I would appreciate it if you would stop shaking your head in agreement when I do not think you know what we are talking about.

Boris: Judy Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities not only in America, but across the globe. She is most well known for her involvement in the 504 sit-in protests but has also served under two presidential administrations, led the World Bank’s efforts to work with governments and communities on disability inclusion, and was also responsible for federal legislation for programs in special education, disability research, vocational rehabilitation and independent living. On this episode of the Access Aisle, I’m joined by Able South Carolina’s executive director, Kimberly Tissot as we learn more about advocacy from one of the most prolific advocates of all time.

Kimberly: First Judy, we really just wanna say thank you for leading the way for us. You have been the most consistent advocate throughout the years with, I think every piece of federal legislation that there is about disability rights. So from our viewpoint, thank you so much for making sure that we have basic rights as citizens.

Boris: Absolutely.

Judy Heumann: I think what’s important to say is that I appreciate your comments. I think what’s very important is that all of the legislation that we’ve been able to get passed… Now, I’m 71-and-a-half, whether it’s at the federal or state level, and we have, as you will know, 50 states, it’s all because of the efforts of many people. No one person does anything. And I’ve been really proud to be able to play a role in major legislation and bringing… I like to network.

Kimberly: Yes.

JH: For me it’s like a big part of who I am, expanding this circle. And I think when looking at Centers for Independent Living as an example, you and your staff at the center, it’s very exciting to see how leaders are being brought into the movement and how you’re a great example. And sorry Boris, I don’t know you that well. But Kimberly really over the years I think has been making a big difference in the work that’s going on in South Carolina and more broadly. Congratulations on the award that you’re gonna be getting from NCIL this year. And I think that illustrates the fact that no one person does anything. So I wanna thank you also.

Kimberly: Oh thanks. So you’ve been involved in so many pieces of legislation and you’ve been part of everything, I think again. And so Section 5O4, IDA, ADA, your international work even, and your business development work. And then, of course Centers for Independent Living and the disability rights movement. Tell me about the time when you first realized that you needed your voice to be heard. What was that moment like for you?

02:45 JH: I don’t think there was a moment. When you’re younger you don’t… Regardless of disability, you’re not really thinking about amplifying anything, right? You’re just kinda living in your life. And I think what happened for me was something which was gradual. So in my experience in the 1940s and ’50s was that we had no laws in place, and basic things like going to school… I use a motorized wheelchair, I don’t walk, I had polio. At that point there were no motorized wheelchairs. I was using a manual wheelchair that my parents pushed because I wasn’t strong enough to push the chair by myself. So when I was denied the right to go to school when I was five, obviously, there was nothing I was gonna be able to do, but I was learning from my family. And I think many of us can speak about the role of our parents who didn’t really understand what discrimination was gonna look like.

Kimberly: Right.

JH: And even with our laws now and you were living during IDEA so it’s interesting to hear at some point your story too. But for me, it was as I got older and realized that there were certain things that I needed to start doing. That I really… My parents were pushing for things that I didn’t necessarily push for. One example for me really was when I was graduating from high school, and I was getting an award and I was supposed to be on the stage. And when my father went to pull me up the steps, the principal came over and said no, he didn’t want me on the stage, I could sit in the front row and they would come and give me the award. And for me, that was like, “I’m leaving.” But my father was, “No you’re not.” And he had a discussion with the principal and they let me on the stage, but I had to sit in the back of the stage.

Kimberly: Uh.

JH: So, I think that after that when I went to college, I started really to come out a little bit from my shell and I really… When working with other disabled people, maybe I’m a little feistier than some people, and I’ll speak up a little bit more. I mean I was in Brooklyn and everybody was a little feisty, but… So we all played our role. But I really began to realize, I guess the big aha moment for me was when I was denied my teaching license. And I really had to… ‘Cause I couldn’t walk, and that was explicitly what they had written. And so really it was at that time that I had to make a decision about whether I was just going to say, “Okay I didn’t get my license,” which I projected that I wasn’t going to get ’cause there were no other people that I knew who were teachers who were using wheelchairs, or I was gonna have to do something. And so I guess the big turning point for me was that whole process.

Kimberly: Right.

JH: So it started when I was about 20, 21. I mean, I was definitely doing advocacy work before, but I think that’s when I really recognized that I had to speak for myself in conjunction with other people who had disabilities working together.

Kimberly: Absolutely. I’m glad you actually spoke about how your father had a different idea for you and you had kind of a different perception. What advice would you give youth with disabilities now when they may be at different points with their parents?

JH: So first, I think it’s important to give advice to the parents and I think it’s important to start working with the parents as soon as their child has been identified as having a disability, because parents, in my view, sometimes get a bad rap. I believe it’s really important. Not all parents, whether you have a disabled or non-disabled child, are equally good, but I think by and large most parents try to do the right thing. And having a child with a disability, there’s certainly more out there for a parent to link up to other parents as compared to when I was growing up.

JH: But I think it’s our responsibility as adults with disabilities to try to work with parent-training programs and other organizations that are working with parents to really speak to them about our experiences. And obviously my bias is that we’re looking for opportunities for disabled people, children and youth, both to be in inclusive settings, but it’s really important that they’re able to also spend time with people of different types of disabilities because for me, being able to feel pride in who you are as a disabled person and being able to learn also from adults with disabilities, being able to share those experiences is really important.

JH: And I think we really need to help parents recognize that their child has a disability and hiding it. We’re not talking about it from a negative perspective, we’re talking about it from a positive perspective. The kids need to be able to be themselves, to be able to dream their dreams, to be given permission to have the dreams they wish, nothing is impossible today with the way the world is changing. But the mentality, the psyche of the children themselves and their brothers and sisters and their neighbors, I think that’s all really important. So, work with the family, but really start working with the kids when they’re younger…

Kimberly: Yeah.

JH: Not when they’re teenagers. I mean, obviously, yes, when they’re teenagers, but I think working with kids when they’re younger, letting them ask the questions they wanna be asking, letting them get information. I think having peers or mentors who are older than they are, who they can call on the phone, go to events with, trust, who have a little more experience in life and can kind of usher people through, I think that’s really important. ‘Cause it can help really usher people into a future which they may not have dreamed about for themselves, or their parents directly or indirectly may have in protecting…

Kimberly: Yeah.

JH: Your child’s right, and your kid to be heard again regardless of disability. So I think it’s also important for parents to really be able to look at the future. And now I’m not just talking about the future of the child, but the evolution of what’s going on in our societies, in technology.

Kimberly: Oh, yeah.

JH: And making sure that their kids are being taught appropriately in schools and learning what they need, coding and all types of things that I think too frequently disabled kids are not a part of.

Kimberly: Absolutely. We were just talking about this the other day just about how some of our PE programs are still exempt and what we need to do, because that’s a basic… That’s a health class essentially. And that’s really important. Something that… We’ve watched you on a number of disability rights videos and giving testimony during the 504. I resonate with that, your statements during that time, and especially when you looked at the legislator and said, “Stop shaking your head,” I understand.

JH: Actually, you know, he wasn’t a legislator, he was… So there were two legislators there, but he was a staff person that was sent by the Department of Education…

Kimberly: Oh, interesting.

JH: To represent the department. And in some way, as I got older, I realized this guy was a poor sucker, [chuckle] ’cause I doubt that he even supported what they were doing. But nonetheless, he was out of his league.

Kimberly: Yeah, yeah, sure. But you know, I see that a lot. I see that with different disability organizations, state agencies, they have an idea of what people with disabilities go through, they think that they know, but they really don’t and sometimes, a lot of times as you know, they speak on our behalf. Tell me what you think makes people with disabilities more powerful when we advocate versus when people without disabilities advocate for us?

JH: I think it’s like any minority group. It’s important to have allies work with us. But if the main spokespersons on women’s issues are men, there’s something wrong. But having women as the spokespersons and men supporting, I think that’s important. We’re looking at Latinos or African-Americans or Asians or whatever the group is. In the area of disability, I think the failure to have disabled people speaking on our own behalf really also continues this belief that we’re not capable of articulating for ourselves.

Kimberly: Absolutely.

JH: And I think that’s true for every other group too, but because the other groups really, it’s been decades now, that they are by and large speaking on their own behalf, that in so many areas, we’re coming late to the game. And so it’s also important that disabled people, where necessary, are given the opportunities to learn how to write a speech, how to give a speech, how to feel confident, how to answer questions, how to deal in difficult situations of all ages and to help… I think, telling personal stories is very important. At the same time, I believe that telling personal stories can be very painful.

Kimberly: Yes.

JH: And so I frequently feel that when people tell their personal stories, they’re not necessarily telling the deepest personal stories, which may not always be appropriate, it depends on the situation. But I do definitely feel like whether now we’re talking about a child or an adult really learning about how to think about and talk about some of the more painful situations that have occurred in your life, things that you’ve done that have worked and how you felt empowered even… When I was living in New York, a number of years ago, I went to a restaurant with a group of disabled friends, and it was, we went to a, I think it was a Chinese restaurant, and there were like me and three or four other people. And the owner came over and said we couldn’t stay. And then I said, “Well, call the police ’cause we’re not leaving.” And that was really empowering for me. You know, there are these moments where, “Where did that come from?” But of course he didn’t call the police.

JH: But then there was another incident later on when I was in California, where we were trying to get a particular movie theater to remove seats because when we went to the movie theater, they told us we had to get out of our wheelchairs. And of course, we weren’t gonna get out of our wheelchairs. If you wanna get out of your wheelchair, that’s fine, but if you don’t want to or you can’t, you shouldn’t have to. And so we orchestrated this whole event. We brought like, there were like three or four of us in wheelchairs, and then we brought a bunch of our friends. And we went to buy our tickets and they wouldn’t let us buy the tickets. And then we demanded that they sell us the tickets. And we went to the lobby, and then we were going to our seats and they told us we had to transfer and we said, “No,” and we said, “Call whoever,” and we went inside and they called the fire department.

Kimberly: Oh my goodness. [laughter]

JH: They did. And so one of the people came over to talk with us and our friends started going, “Sh-sh-sh.” You know, “You’re interrupting the movie.” We gave them our card and we all worked at CIL, and we said, “Call us, we’ll set up a time to talk.” They removed seats.


Kimberly: Yes.


JH: So but you know it’s those types of stories where we planned it in advance, I think everyone that was involved it were pretty… It wasn’t our first time around the block on things like this, but it was very important. And I think these types of situations where something is happening at the moment and you feel that it’s wrong, or unjust, trying to deal with it as soon as possible.

Kimberly: Yes.

JH: Getting names of people, getting phone numbers of people, asking for supervisors, doing all these things that I think are critically important because then people start taking us more seriously. And knowing what you’re rights are, I think that’s really important that you know what your rights are and you know what they’re not so that when you’re asking for something, you feel reasonably confident that what you’re asking for is not only just, but it’s legally required.

Boris: So I wanna take it back to the signing of the 504. What were your expectations in getting that signed and did you feel like the fight was really over, once the ink dried?

JH: Well, what our expectations were… Well, historically, what happened was the law was passed in 1973, it was the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended, which dealt with the typical Department of Rehabilitation Services, but also one very important part of that law was Title V. And in Title V… So, anybody watching this who is really into… It’s not only history because it still exists today. Title V is where you have Section 501, which addresses the federal government and employment and 502 and 503 and 504. And 504 said that if an entity was getting money from the federal government, it couldn’t discriminate against someone who had a disability. And as some people know, the law itself was like 42 words. And so, in order for that law, 504 to become a reality, it really was important that there be regulations developed that would answer a series of questions. What do you do? Are you gonna make every building that gets money from the federal government accessible over night? Who is someone with a disability? What is an accommodation? And so you can see that the 42 words statute then became a set of regulations that were many many pages.

JH: Now, those were developed because of leadership from the Department of Justice and people like John Wodatch who now is retired but is still actively involved in legal issues around disability in the US and around the world. And there were meetings that were held, where the Department of Justice employees, actually it was Health Education and Welfare at that time, where John and his team were learning about the different kinds of discrimination as well as what kinds of remedies could be expected. And so the draft regulations were weaker than we would have wanted but they were basically a set of regulations that many people felt were reasonable for the time and if they were implemented, would make a dramatic difference. And they did not get signed by the Nixon or Ford administrations. And so when Jimmy Carter ran for president, many of us supported him, and one of the reasons for the support was he said that they would sign the regulations in the form that they had been out for comment with the comments that had come back and then that wasn’t happening.

JH: And so I think we… Our expectation was that the regulations be signed as they were and that we wanted no more compromises. So we knew very clearly that getting these regulations signed was only the beginning of a game or a third of the way into the game because then we were gonna have to be dealing with educating the disability community, educating all the leadership in the organizations, hospitals, schools, anything getting money through the federal government, state government, city government, on and on. We were gonna have to make sure that they understood what they were supposed to be doing. So it was really just the beginning. And here we are in 2019, and in 2018 I was giving a presentation up at Radcliffe in Harvard and a really nice Dean got up and talked about the ADA and how their obligations began under the ADA in 1990, and I got up and I spoke and I said, “Actually, these obligations came about in 1973.” Now, I think this also speaks to, and I had an interesting discussion with a young disabled woman in the last couple of days who is attending a university where there are many universities in the United States, progress that’s been made, but more that needs to be done.

JH: And she was telling me that one of the board of governors at this school, it was brought to her attention that there were issues on the college campus, and she said, well basically they didn’t need to do anything until a complaint was filed, and I said to this young woman, “So has anybody filed a complaint?” And she said, and I completely understand what she said, “It’s difficult for students to file a complaint because they’re afraid of what’s gonna happen while they’re at school or what could follow them.” Now I think what’s important is that these students not feel alone but I understand what they’re saying, but complaints against the university do not have to be filed by a student. They can be filed by anybody in the community. And so I think that’s something we also need to be looking at is how can, for example, the Centres for Independent Living and other organizations that are working in local communities, work with students to really help advance remedies that may or may not have to come about as the result of the complaint, but I think there’s a lot more to do.

JH: But I think Boris, the long answer to your short question, here we are 1973 to 2019 and as far as 504 is concerned, still a lot more work to be done. And again, I think when you look at the LGBT movement and the women’s movement and others, they’re much stronger than we are and so that’s really an area that we have to be really continuing to work on is really becoming a stronger movement that is more diverse and where we can bring other movements that have not focused on disability into our movement to see the term intersectionality and how bringing all of us together is important, and that cases of disabilities that we are playing a pivotal role.

Boris: And on that subject of these other movements and that intersectionality, I think we’re all very familiar with the power of the sit-ins of the 504. And I know I’ve watched that drunk history segment several times, but what gets lost in that narrative sometimes is the role that other civil rights organizations and other groups had. Can you talk a little bit about what kind of assistance and what kind of role other movements played during those sit-ins?

JH: Yes, it’s a great question. So one of the reason why the 504 demonstrations were so successful, was that at that point in time, in the disability community, we were already working with other movements. So we were working with the labor movement, we were working with the progressive religious community, Cesar Chavez and the Farm Workers, and the Black Panthers and Glide Memorial Church and which was a very progressive church in the Bay Area. People knew us. And I think what was important is people trusted us. We had really been working on developing alliances where we as the disability community would support other groups when things were happening, they would support us. And we had already started in Berkeley at the CIL in Berkeley and I think at a San Francisco CIL and others. Working with other groups around city budgeting and county government budgeting where we collaborated together. So we weren’t allowing government to kind of pick us off. And so we had relationships developed there, and also we had been working with Legal Aid on issues around accessible buses and transportation and various issues. So the people from the disability community were respected as knowledgeable people who cared about diversity and, like other groups, were really advocating for change.

JH: So I think that was really very helpful. So we really didn’t have pushback from people in our communities during the demonstrations, and we had people who were supporting. If you go back and look at some of the historical documents, there were city councils around the state that were passing resolutions in support of the 504 demonstrations. And the governors, out of the Governor’s cabinet, Ed Roberts was the director of the Department of Rehabilitation. And so he was talking to other heads of departments and one of the departments sent mattresses down and blankets down so that people didn’t have to sleep on the floor. And in the film called “The Power of 504”, which is… It’s 18 minutes and you can see it on YouTube, and you’ll see that the mayor at that time, Mayor Moscone, was trying to get showers put in to the bathroom, so that people who were staying there could get showers. And of course he wasn’t successful on that but they were trying, at many different levels. And we had food that came in because different organizations, brought in food.

JH: We had medical people there because there were a lot of people and someone could get sick or something could happen. And it was… I think what was really very important about those days was that it was cross-disability. And I think that was a unique time for deaf people and blind people and physically disabled people, and we had some parents who had disabled kids, in the building to really, what I like to discuss as breaking bread together. So it was really, I think, very, a very important time.

Kimberly: So this year… This month we’re actually gonna be celebrating the 29th anniversary, we’re getting up there, of the Americans with Disabilities Act. And I know that we have so, such a long road ahead of us. But what do you think is the most significant impact the ADA has made so far? And what do you think is next?

JH: I think that the ADA has had a very profound effect on certain areas. So the build environment, transportation, I think those areas we can definitely argue have been dramatically changed. In as much as between 1990 and today, all buses are accessible and if they’re not, they’re big time exception to the rule and complaints being brought against whatever the entity is. And I think we are seeing, going beyond accessibility, we are seeing more disabled people getting jobs. I had a very interesting conversation last night with a friend of mine who works for a bank in California, a big bank. And she has a disability herself and she was… And she’s one of the vice presidents, they have lots of vice presidents, but it’s still a senior position, and she’s one of them. And that’s really enabled her, amongst other things, to be able to be bringing other disabled people into the workforce. So she’s not on interviewing committees or hiring them but she’s getting people in positions to do recruitment, to recruit disabled people, and she deals… At least 50 people, since she’s been there for the last couple of years, have been brought in and the numbers of people identifying as having a disability have gone up from below 1% to a little above 3%.

JH: And she was telling me about another colleague who has a disability, he works for another big bank out of New York where they’re having similar success. So I think the important part of that story is when minorities, women, others come into government or business or set up their own businesses, we typically see that people bring in people from the communities that they represent and that diversity also expands. So the absence of disabled people or the absence of people who have disabilities but don’t identify is an issue, the more disabled people that we can get into positions of leadership the more we can get people who have invisible disabilities to be able to speak up and to acknowledge that they have a disability, I think really a lot of what we’ve been discussing, relates to… We talk about 56 million people with various forms of disability. The Gay Pride Day Parade in New York had four million people. Two years ago I was the Grand Marshal at the disability pride parade in New York and there were about 2000 people.

Kimberly: Man.

JH: So I think we need to really continue the work that we’re doing and allow people to feel that we should be proud of who we are and what we contribute.

Kimberly: Absolutely, absolutely.

Boris: So where do you feel like that opposition to the disability rights advocacy and all the things that we’re talking about, what do you think the root cause of that opposition to that advocacy comes from?

JH: People don’t necessarily wanna change, by that I mean the person or the entity that we are saying needs to change, they don’t wanna change in general. In some cases, tell me what to do I’m happy to do it, in some cases, it’s why and how do I do it, so I think there are a variety of reasons. But again at the end of the day it’s… We need to be dividing our voices, we need to be able to really talk about the changes that have been made as well as the changes that continue to need to be made. I think when we look at issues like personal assistance services and employment and separating the two, but employment is clearly a critical issue, there are many people out there who are qualified to work and are not getting jobs for any one of a variety of reasons.

JH: There are in-roads that are being made as we’ve just been discussing but we need to really continue I think… We talk a lot about the numbers of people unemployed which I think is important but I actually think it’s really important to talk about the people who are employed, who have different types of disabilities, who are making contributions, who can be interviewed and be the voice to say, “This is how I got my job, these are the forms of discrimination that I experienced in the beginning, this is what I was able to do,” or, “I experienced no discrimination. I was just looked at for my qualification. I got the accommodations that I needed,” or any one of a number of issues. But I think talking about both the problem and the solution and things that are happening and really getting people into senior positions.

Boris: Yup.

JH: And I think holding, whatever the entity is, accountable and for me that means meetings with leadership from within the organizations and from outside of the organizations. Talking about a university, universities are not just there to address the issues of people on campus, universities are there also to serve the community. So things like accessibility, admissions policies, drop-out rates and disability studies, all these things are important issues. Many universities around the country for the last number of years have working groups which are addressing issues around diversity. If you go on to many of these college campuses and ask them for their report and ask how disability was included, in some cases you will be pleasantly surprised but in many cases you will not be surprised because there’s very little, if anything, there. And that’s where I think students and others need the support of the community to say that you’re invested in a state school, it’s your tax money that’s paying in part for the state school, and you wanna be able to to hold them accountable.

37:58 Boris: Absolutely.

38:00 Kimberly: And diversity is a hot topic and we talk about that a lot around here. There’s a lot of diversity initiatives from other organizations and then when we ask about disability they’re like, “Oh, I haven’t thought about that,” well, yeah, we’re part of that discussion. But it’s just so funny how everybody has different perceptions of what is included but it is our voice that changes that when we’re there.

38:27 JH: And I think that means that we also have to have people who can get engaged. As we’re getting more organizations to recognize that disability is absent from what they’re doing in the area of diversity or even if it’s an organization that is made up of a particular diverse population, getting those different groups to really have opportunities for discussions about, “Maybe you already are including disabled people and you don’t know it.” And I think I, speaking for a minute about being Jewish, because there’s been a push in the Jewish community as a result of an organization called The Ruderman Foundation in Boston to really… And it didn’t just come from the foundation, ’cause it’s really something that a number of the synagogues around the country have been dealing with since the ’80s, but I think it’s been more in earnest since like 2010 as have a number of Christian organizations and I think in some of the Muslim communities also.

39:52 JH: But having discussions, which are not always easy discussions about what it feels like to be in a religious community where you are not seen as an equal. I gave a summer talk one year and said… And I gave a story about, “Okay, your daughter or son tells you they’re in love and they’re bringing someone home to introduce to you and they have a disability, what do you do?” And, you know, that typically wouldn’t be well how do they get along and what are they looking for in work and blah, blah, blah. It’s really looking at the disabled person in a negative way.

40:34 Kimberly: Right, right.

40:35 JH: Why is that there and what do we need to do to change that? So yeah, I think as we’re looking at coming upon in 2020, the 30th anniversary of the ADA, I suggest things like go to your public television stations, your NPR, now, and find out what could you all be working with them on so that they can be highlighting what’s going on in the communities, so they could start doing some programming now. And thinking about your local NPR, and your local PBS it might be interesting to see if you could get something focusing on what role did South Carolinians play in the passage of the ADA?

41:28 Kimberly: Yeah, that would be awesome.

JH: But you kinda need to speak… Start speaking to them, yesterday.

Kimberly: Yeah, yeah, I know… [chuckle]

JH: I think as we’ve been discussing, looking at the historical role that every state played in this, I think could be very important than maybe on the evening news or whatever some of the local events are and even if they show films over a month, like I hear they show films on Saturdays, they’re usually national films. But I just think, yeah, there’s kind of interesting possibilities of what local stations could do that really could talk about what role has the ADA played in their lives as well as what more needs to happen? I really appreciate doing this.

Kimberly: Yeah, we really appreciate having you and just a final advice that you would give to the disabled community. What advice would you give them to begin being part of the movement and making change?

JH: People need to feel welcomed. They need to feel that they’re joining something which will be of benefit to them, and that they can contribute to and everyone’s got a certain amount of time that they can give. And I think ultimately it’s really on a one-to-one basis and a group basis, having people with different types of disabilities being involved in reaching out and really talking about issues that make a difference for people. And I think of people with psychosocial disabilities, and learning disabilities, and epilepsy and diabetes, really allowing people to understand the breadth. And it’s a lot of work but you may wanna look at having some kind of a parade next year which would bring not just disabled people together, but bring this coalition of groups together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA and it could be an opportunity to get these other organizations involved in committing to helping put it together to bring people to the parade, and including people or speakers to really embellish not only the good work that’s been done, but what more needs to happen.

Kimberly: Absolutely, we do something similar with over 30 different organizations, we host our advocacy day at the state house and it’s a beautiful demonstration because that does show how we are stronger together with a cross disability representation as well, that we can make change that way. And so when we come together, it’s really magical ’cause there’s also disability hierarchy within our own community that we’ve got to… We’ve got to change. Our barriers are no different from individuals with intellectual disabilities. We still face employment and transportation. I think that’s been the same barriers for years and years and years, so but that’s a great idea, we can easily create something off of that event as well during that time.

JH: And I think being involved in… Well, ensuring that the community is represented by the diversity.

Kimberly: Yeah.

JH: Racially, linguistically, dealing with issues around migrants because South Carolina definitely has immig… Well, we’re all immigrants.

Kimberly: Right.

JH: I love asking people, “Where is your family from?” And they’ll say, “Michigan.” Like, “No. Where is your family from?” And people frequently do not know where their family is from. I’m first generation, so I know that 100% of my family is from Germany and why we left because my parents left because of the Holocaust. And people need to know their origins, they need to, in my view, really dig into why did your parents come here, or your grandparents, or your great-grandparents, what were they leaving? What were their experiences? And to be more respectful of people who are coming from other countries who in many cases they’re fleeing persecution and remembering that everyone’s story may be different, but this country, it was natives that lived here and we came and did all kinds of things in taking over the land. But I think our history, disability history, and all histories are really important for people to understand.

Boris: Yeah.

Kimberly: Mm-hmm.

JH: Yeah.

Kimberly: Yeah, yeah.

JH: Well, it’s very nice to see you Boris and very nice to speak with you again Kimberly.

Kimberly: Yeah, and thank you so much.

JH: Thank you for your audience, it’s been great.

Boris: Thank you.

Kimberly: Thank you. Thank you.

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