Legal Understandings of Disability Rights vs. Disability Justice

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Pendo joins the conversation on the Access UW podcast to explore the differences and intersections between the Disability Rights and Disability Justice movements.

Learn more from the Access UW podcast:

Episode 7: Legal Understandings of Disability Rights vs. Disability Justice

In this episode, we are joined by Katie Warden, Director of NW ADA Center, and Elizabeth Pendo, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Law, to explore the differences and intersections between the Disability Rights and Disability Justice movements. Drawing on their extensive legal expertise, they shed light on the limitations of anti-discrimination laws in tackling compounded forms of oppression and underscore the crucial role of intersectionality in understanding the experiences of individuals with disabilities.

[Content Warning: Mentions of police interaction and self-harm] 

Episode 7 Resources:


Read the Transcript

[INTRO MUSIC PLAYS]

TOBY: You’re listening to Access UW, a podcast series brought to you by the University of Washington Office of the ADA Coordinator, where we highlight insightful discussions, informative interviews and valuable insights about accessibility, equity and inclusion, all within the realm of higher education with experts across the UW. In terms of accessibility, each podcast and corresponding transcript are made available at the office and the ADA coordinators website at www.washington.edu/ada.

[INTRO MUSIC FADES OUT]

HEATHER: Hello, again, and welcome to you all. I am so excited to have two guests today to talk to us about the disability rights movement and the disability justice movements. Today, we have Elizabeth Pendo, and Katie Warden joining us and I am going to invite them to introduce themselves and ask them to share anything about either of your professional or personal background that you think is really relevant to our conversation today or provides important context to understanding you know how you come to these themes. So, I'm going to start with you, Elizabeth, will you please introduce yourself to our audience?

ELIZABETH: Yes, thank you. I'm Elizabeth Pendo. I'm a professor at the School of Law. And I'm also the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. I like to research in the areas of help on Bioethics and also disability rights law. And I'm especially interested in combining those from a disability rights perspective. And then also sort of looking at the larger issues of disability justice, which in many ways both challenge and enhance that disability rights perspective. I also identify as a person with a disability.

HEATHER: Great, thank you. And again, thank you for joining us, Katie, I'll turn to you and invite you to share with us anything that you would like to introduce yourself.

KATIE:  Thanks, Heather. So my name is Katie Warden, and I'm the director of the Northwest ADA Center at the University of Washington. And I share that because in this current role, I'm really squarely within the disability rights movement, kind of the mainstream, maybe the bureaucratic part of it. That's where I'm currently working. I used to work as a special education attorney at the Oklahoma protection and advocacy system. And before that, I got my PhD in sociology. And my dissertation was kind of about the tensions between disability rights and disability justice, and why kind of why a particular group of parent advocates that I followed around, needed to form their own group separate from the mainstream disability rights group in our state. So, this is like a topic that's really important and interesting to me. And then I also identify as a person with a disability, I have type one diabetes and also have a lot of different mental illness diagnoses. And I've identified as mentally ill since I was a little kid, the diagnoses kind of come and go, depending on who the provider is, I guess, and I just share that that, you know, I'm kind of on the edge of what we think of as traditional or typical disabilities. I'm also white, and my dad was a dentist, my mom was a dietician, I come from a pretty privileged background. And that's really shaped my personal experiences of disability. And, yeah, happy to be here, you can probably maybe hear the nervousness of my voice, but sorry, that's just how it is.

HEATHER: Oh, this is Heather speaking. No, thank you so much. Welcome to you both. I am both nervous and excited to have this conversation, as well. And I think for our audience, again, we'll refer folks to look at the myriad of resources that that Toby and others have put together. If you're not familiar with the disability rights movement, or you've never heard of the Disability Justice Movement. We're actually going to start a little deeper into the conversation. And I am going to ask both of you to kind of give us your understanding of these two movements or philosophies or ethos, if you will. I know that in many of the spaces that I teach and research and do advocacy work. Sometimes audiences use these ideas interchangeably. For some folks, that there's a lot of overlap for others, you know, never shall the two ever meet in any kind of collegial space. So, let's just start out with kind of how you view these two strains of thought, if you will. And here, I'm going toss it to you first, Katie, to tell us a little bit about these two movements.

KATIE: The tough question. And I'm kind of, you know, getting stuck on words, because I think it's in some ways these movements, maybe are using different words to talk about similar things. Even though there are some pretty clear, I think there are clear differences and kind of distinct parts of the two movements, that I feels like some of the tension might just be that we're talking about different things. Or we're using words that we're using different words to talk about similar things. And, and so for me, I think, the disability rights movement, you know, I think has been so focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and special education law, and oftentimes comes at disability. I don't know, kind of disability work. From a place that feels as if, you know, but for disability discrimination, things would be fair, or if I didn't experience this disability discrimination, I would experience justice or equality, without really kind of contextualizing, you know, with or without my accommodation. I'm in a capitalist system that ties work to health care, and even the health care that we have access to isn't going to meet all of our needs. And so, I think the disability rights movement has, you know, focused on disability discrimination, and maybe suggested that that's the primary issue that disabled people face in a way that feels exclusionary to many disabled people who, you know, the other issues are just as important as disability discrimination. And I think the Disability Justice Movement, I think there's a really valid critique of the way that whiteness kind of infuses disability rights, kind of the assumptions and the benefits that that come with, with whiteness underlie maybe even the way the ADA works, but also the advice we give people about how to advocate our priorities. So, I see kind of that the I see race has really been a big tension or issue or place where maybe the disability rights movement hasn't, hasn't addressed. Kind of that, that whiteness there. And then I think capitalism, kind of in the way that class inequality shapes our lives. And the ADA isn't going to do much about that or disability rights as civil rights laws might not be the source to address class inequality. I have no idea if that answered the question whatsoever. But when I think about the tension of disability rights and justice, I'm mostly thinking about race and class. And whether or not laws can fix more than what I don't know they're intended to fix.

HEATHER: Thank you, Katie, that that is great. And I think this is exactly kind of gets us right into the heart of, of the entanglement of a lot of these issues. So now, let me pass it to Elizabeth. I'm going to, I'm going to resist the urge to jump right in, as you both know, I like to do but I'm going to pass it to Elizabeth to give us kind of sketch out some outlines of, of how you see these two philosophies or movements different.

ELIZABETH: Thank you. I will Katie, I really appreciate your comments. So I think I'm gonna build on them, rather than repeat some of the excellent insights that you've already shared. I'm a legal academic. So of course, I research in the area of disability rights. And for me, I think what disability justice offers is a much broader lens to put the law and disability rights in the proper space, not as the solution but as part of a possible solution. And it's really helpful to think of a larger Disability Justice Movement because it really helps sharpen a critique of the limits of the law and also limitations and how the law is applied in the ADA in particular, or, you know, really followed the pattern of prior civil rights laws. But it also had some really distinct features, which I think are different and potentially transformative. I think the traditional view of discrimination, I'm not saying this is how discrimination works, I'm saying it's a traditional way, that the law has conceptualized discrimination hits as an error, or as a moment of irrationality. And in fact, we know that is not how it works. So a lot of traditional civil rights laws have viewed discrimination as an individual act as something unusual, if we remove the discrimination, then there is equity. And, of course, you know, as Katie pointed out, and as we know, that's not true. I think what's interesting about the Americans with Disabilities Act is it doesn't presumes neutrality of the environment. And it doesn't presume that discrimination is an error, or bad intent. For example, it requires reasonable accommodation without a showing of intent. And it requires reasonable accommodation, because the law assumes that our environments or policies or practices, were all designed to exclude people with disabilities, or simply without any thought about people with disabilities at all. So I think those kind of you know that this idea of individualized assessment, I think, is a way to break through certain biases. At the same time does the law get us everywhere we need to go. And of course, it doesn't, you know, even if the ADA was applied to its fullest extent, we would still have a lot of issues that the law simply can't reach because of the way it's structured. I think one core example is this idea of intersectionality, that Katie raised. Laws, discrimination laws, address one component of your identity at a time. And although there's discussion of intersectionality, we really don't have legal structures to address compounded and fundamentally different kinds of discrimination that happened when you're a woman of color with a disability in a certain context. And I've been thinking about it a lot, I'm working on a project, looking at trying to use anti-discrimination laws to address denials of care and inequitable care that people with substance use disorder experience.  Substance use disorder, of course, can be a disability under these federal civil rights laws. But if you look at the nature of what's happening to people, is not simply because of the disability of substance use disorder. It's also the decades long history of racially coded regulation and treatment of people who have substance use disorder or the substances themselves. It's deeply gendered, because the experience is very different if it's a woman of childbearing age, or a woman who is pregnant, who presents for health care. And the law has still very limited ways to address those sort of compounded and really distinct harms.

HEATHER: Well, thank you both. This is Heather speaking. I, I feel like we've really kind of dived right into the center of it. I want to acknowledge and I say this in appreciation of both of you bringing this up, but I want to acknowledge at the outset of our conversation, that we are three white women having this conversation about disability justice, and, you know, add in a slightly, maybe some historical timeline in context of as I also see a slight difference, as you know, that the disability rights movement really came to some in large degree out of the civil rights movement, and it was in the late 70s 80s. And into the 90s, of course, when the ADA was passed, that we saw disability rights, make it splash, if you will, on kind of the the federal, the Federal imagination for civil rights. And it wasn't really, you know, I don't think that disability justice, as it is understood today really at least emerged or made its way into the academic world, right. It was bubbling already in the activist world. But it was really more in kind of the late 90s, the 2000s that we started to see disability justice scholarship in a way that's legible to academic institutions start to emerge in academia, and that was very much led by, you know, people of color of queer of gender non-conforming folks who recognized the need to bring this intersectional approach into our discussion of justice. And I really appreciate both of you kind of outlining some of the ways, however, that there are limitations in which a legal framework can address these complex and interactive kind of different forms of oppression that people experience. And so now let me ask then, I think both of you have covered a little bit of where, where these fields align, and some of the tensions. But let's get personal slash professional, I'm going to invite you to talk about either in your own current work or in past work or experiences, where you've seen these tensions play out or where the alignments really helped. And so, I'm gonna turn, actually, Elizabeth, I'm going to start with you and then come back to Katie.

ELIZABETH: Sure, um, I think I do you know, I'm of two minds, because two things can be true at the same time, probably more than two things. I think it's really important to uphold our disability rights laws, and to use them to the fullest extent maybe in ways they weren't expected to be used. We shouldn't be limited by the imagination of the original drafters. And I think at the same time, being very cognizant of what the limits are there. So even amongst laws, which is usually what I'm dealing with, there are plenty of things that I've looked to health laws, particularly the Affordable Care Act to do in complement to disability rights laws that disability rights laws either couldn't or hadn't been able to do. For example, in the 2000s, there was a big push to try to use disability anti discrimination laws like the ADA, to challenge the really significant problems that people with disabilities were having an insurance and health insurance key needs not being covered, different pricing, exclusions, caps on coverage, leading to just widespread problems, especially in the in the private realm. Although a lot of people are also participating in Medicaid, it has its own issues, but this was mostly in the private sphere. But the way the ADA was interpreted to include a cost, type of defense, right, if it's more expensive to cover people with disabilities, and of course, it's debatable, but even if it were true, that being a defense sort of ties back into that insurance as a business capitalism at the center. So the ADA was very disappointing as a tool to address that form of discrimination, which really harmed millions and millions of people. The Affordable Care Act, though, is able to institute a whole array of reforms to insurance, not targeted at people with disabilities, but that tremendously benefit people with disabilities, like no longer being able to exclude pre existing conditions, like not being able to price health insurance based on health status, like including rehabilitative and habilitative services, and as pas an essential service that had to be covered. Now, of course, the ACA has his limitations as well. But it stepped outside that discrimination kind of model, and just looked at things that were unfair and unjust and found a different way to address them. So I think even within the world of law, we can look outside the disability rights model and think about what is missing, what other tools might there be. And of course, we can't forget, you know, the amazing the amazing advocacy of the disability rights community during the time when the ACA was challenged. I think if you have Medicaid and you appreciate it, you think a person with a disability because I think those high visibility protests really raise the issue to everyone. I think the framing of what is a pre existing condition. Um, it's not just what you think it's far, far broader, I think that was raised by disability advocates at the time. So just the instrumental participation of those communities in saving healthcare and insisting that we move forward in ways that are equitable, are just extremely important. And that's a lot of what I think about in my work.

HEATHER: Thank you, that's fantastic. And that's such a powerful example thinking about health care and thinking about the other laws as well as other tools for tackling lots of the issues that profoundly affect all of us as disabled individuals. I you know, when you were speaking, I immediately thought of COVID and I thought of the pandemic and the sustained advocacy and activism by disabled people that have increased access for example, in a variety of ways. So yeah, I think the area of health is so pertinent to this. So, Katie, I turn to you, I'm going to ask if, if you want to share some of the ways in which tensions or alignments play out in some of your previous or current work.

KATIE: Thanks, Heather. Yeah, I'll I think I really like where Elizabeth was going with that. So in my current role at the ADA Center, people call in, we have this hotline, and people will say, you know, how is the ADA going to help me deal with my landlord who's discriminating against me? Or how can the ADA helped me get internet in rural parts of our region, and it can't, right at the ADA isn't going to apply to your interactions with your landlord, but actually housing and tenant law is landlord tenant law is gonna give you some protections, there are Fair Housing Act laws gonna give you protections. And so I think, kind of this. I don't know, in some way the ADA came to be seen as this is the Disability Law, or this is our one law that we all have. But this, this is just one law, there's so many other places we can look to address issues, maybe based on the issue instead of the identity, that might be a way to kind of get past a single identity, kind of type of anti-discrimination law that we have. I think, for me, the tensions around disability rights and disability justice, it. I always seem to come back to race there. And thinking about the way that kind of again, thinking about our hotline, and the advice we give to people on these are best practices for how you might advocate. And if we do that in a way that doesn't recognize that when I as kind of an invisibly disabled white woman, who has a PhD and a JD, and when I when I use these advocacy tips, people respond differently to me, or gatekeepers respond differently to me than they would for for someone who might not be white. For someone who doesn't speak the way I was trained to speak on it. And I think when kind of, in our work with this hotline, or doing trainings about the ADA, when we suggest that this disability rights law is going to, you know, just say the magic words of reasonable accommodation, and all of a sudden you'll get it without really thinking about how that's going to be I don't know that the interpretation or the way that other people respond to those words really is influenced by our identities. And I have like a random personal story that just keeps popping up with this.

[CONTENT WARNING: Mentions of police interaction, self-harm]

KATIE: So but like I mentioned, I have some mental illness stuff. And one time, the police came to my house to take me to the ER. And I was in distress kind of vibe was pretty out of it. My husband called the police, he wasn't home and needed to get me to the ER. And I have a vague memory of the night, but I had been doing some self-harm stuff, I'm sorry, she probably should have done a trigger warning for that. And there was kind of just the police officer kind of came into the house, my apartment, and he took a knife that was around me and put it in the far corner of the kitchen. And he got me dressed and took me to the ER. And just, I just I don't know how you know that. It that was a disability experience for me. But it was also a white experience for me, I think and I don't know if I could ever separate those things out. And I guess kind of thinking about how you talked Elizabeth about right. This is it's a one identity law, like the laws are structured not to address that intersection of that experience wasn't just a disability experience. It was kind of also that I was I conform to gender norms. So, like all of the ways that my presentation made me seem safe to that police officer. That's so how do we use a law trying to divide people into these clear identities when the experiences we have aren't so clear cut? And I wonder if it's just recognizing that and being open about this might not be the tool that's going to work all the time and all the contexts?

HEATHER: Yeah, this is Heather. Absolutely, and thank you, Katie for for sharing that personal story that I think really does highlight the dynamics that you're talking about. I do feel like you were trying to lure me out a little bit mentioning workplace accommodations, as you know that that is one of my favorite areas to swim around in and talk to people about. And I will just say yes, yes and yes to everything that both of you have talked about in terms of a particular law solving all the problems. One of the things that that comes up out of out of your conversation, the two of you is, is thinking about a law that addresses identity, rather than a law that addresses an issue. And, and just for our listeners, all I'll clarify, I am a socio legal scholar, I am not a legal scholar, like Elizabeth and Katie, you know, the shorthand. In my world as we think of legal scholars actually understand laws on the books. And socio legal scholars are more interested in how the law plays out how intended or unintended that it plays out in people's lives, or what people think about the law. So I don't want to misrepresent my knowledge here. But I am, I am curious about your thoughts. Because I I've had separate conversations with with some of goodwill, Katie and I have talked about kind of this division between things like DEI -- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion movements -- versus identity politics, for example. And that some of the reduction that can take place when people engage in identity politics, rather than discussing ways to increase inclusion, say, and so I'm, I'm curious, if either of you have examples in which you've navigated that space, or, or maybe stepped out of spaces, I don't want to suggest that we all always are able to engage or fix things by any means. But maybe how some of those tensions have played out. I would invite either of you. I see you're both nodding. Katie, maybe I'll start with you and see if anything springs to mind here.

KATIE: This is Katie. Yeah, I don't I don't have an answer at this is something I think about a lot. I think coming back to, I know, I sound like a grad student when I say this, but thinking about my dissertation that, you know, you end up spending so much of your life doing that work. I followed around a group of undocumented Latina moms of kids with disabilities as they advocated for their children around special education, but all kinds of disability discrimination issues. And we would go to kind of the mainstream disability rights, like conferences where people present teach other people about disability rights. And the first time I went with this group, they put us at the last slot of the day, in the basement, and really in the basement. And it was and it had been a long day, kind of all day, we heard little complaints about how having Spanish language translation was such a hassle. And then kind of to follow that up with now here's the room where you all get to talk and you're in the basement. And so I had it all, like all of those parent advocates, they were strong Disability Rights Advocates, they wanted inclusion, they really believed in inclusion, and somehow when. But getting together around the identity of disability didn't feel inclusive. Because it was kind of the unstated white disability identity at the heart of it. And then I don't know, I don't even know if that's true. It's just the way it felt that I think to me and to the group that we're talking about disability, but I think you all are talking about white disabled people. And what if we all came together around inclusion at school, but that's instead of kind of whatever the issue is, what kind of whatever might be causing the exclusion? I don't know if that would feel better to come together around those issues, instead of identities. But again, if this if special education laws premised on in inclusion in his particular identity category. That's the tool we've got to work with. That it just felt a bit off to me.

HEATHER: Yeah, thank you. Elizabeth, do you have any comments or thoughts on this topic?

ELIZABETH: I mean, yes, I really appreciate the, you know, the vein of inquiry around identity versus issue focused solutions. I think that's a lot of what we're talking about here. And we could have a whole other podcast on things that have happened at conferences. My, my conference story, my most recent conference story is a big national conference. And accommodations were available for the panels that dealt with disability issues, as though someone with a disability couldn't possibly be speaking on or attending any other part of the conference. And you wonder in those moments like is that when you use your voice and various privileges that we all you know, it's a mixture of your identity, to basically raise that as an issue, which I did, which I think they saw coming, because when I came in, they're like, Oh, this is going to be about accommodations. Here she comes. That's okay. So I think those kind of exclusions and those unconscious thought patterns still occur. And they occur frequently, even in spaces dedicated to talking about these kinds of issues. I think the real identity versus issue is kind of at the heart of combining disability rights and health laws, which is why I'm so interested in that area. I think disability rights laws, really sent her identity even more than other civil rights laws in a way. Because, you know, our other big civil rights laws don't require you to prove that the law covers you. In the workplace, we're all assumed to have a race and ethnicity, a gender, whatever it may be. And we can't be discriminated against on that basis. But really, the ADA is the only major law that requires you to prove the law applies to you in the first place, by proving that you have a disability, and fall under the loss protection, you know, on that first prong of disability does really focus on the impairment, you know, so sort of still encapsulating a little bit of that medical model, and disability as a physical or mental impairment. that substantially limits a major life activity. But then it does kind of broad, broad into more social understandings, you know, being regarded as having a disability or having a history of disability. But you still have to pass that threshold and the first 15, maybe 20 years of the ADA, in the courts was spent narrowing that door to the courthouse, till almost no one could fit through it, which was, of course, fixed in 2008, but is a product of requiring proof that the law applies to you. We imagine a world where we had a law that just said, if you need to be accommodated, you can be it simply did not ask you to prove that you had a certain label or not. That would be a totally different kind of law. I think the strength of health laws is they just address everyone. You know, everyone can have insurance without these restricted provisions, no one has to prove that they need it, or entitled to it, or have a history of any kind of treatment, that would that would justify it. I think that's, you know, those are both legal examples, although that's what I do. So that's what I would think about. I think there's a, there's a small opening, though, for this idea of how to grapple with intersectionality. In law, the anti discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act, which is called Section 1557, is totally on my mind, because I write about it a lot. And the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services just dropped the final rule on Wednesday night. So, if you can't fall asleep and would like to read an extremely detailed law, I'll email you a copy. But something interesting about that is it recognizes discrimination on different bases, but it also recognizes intersectional discrimination, and that you can be multiplied marginalized. Do we yet have the legal structures to figure out what that might look like? No. But it's a really exciting opportunity to think about that and develop that and I'm thinking a lot about it. And this conversation really, really reminds me of that.

HEATHER: Wow, wait way to take us to a hopeful note, and that was some really good anticipation of of the switch I was going to try to make which was to ask, Where you see potential additional avenues for really fruitful, either combination of these two approaches? Or if you see really key opportunities that are potentially solely nested in rights or a sidestep rights entirely? What excited you about doing, I'm just going to call it disability advocacy work, moving forward, that that may involve both again of these philosophies. Or not. Katie, I'm going to put you on the spot. What excites you about your work moving forward?

KATIE: This might seem, gosh, kind of exciting, but from a sociologists perspective, so a little bit of a downer in there too. But I actually am really excited about kind of my role at the ADA center, trying to kind of keep us in our lane. Like we were, were we we teach people about the Americans with Disabilities Act, we'll answer questions about that law. And if we know of other laws, we'll help you as much as we can understand how those laws might apply. But we aren't, we aren't the Disability Justice Movement, we are a small piece of how we could eventually get to a place where there might be some fairness and equity. And so somehow, kind of reining in like our you know, so people don't continue to think that the ADA is the Disability Law that might save everything. I've kind of, kind of by making a smaller in a way to maybe open up spaces for more Disability Justice work to happen. I think that's exciting. And then I think there still is so much work to do with the ADA, around changing our environment. One of the other ADA centers, they do research on kind of just have state and local governments done the very basic self-evaluation. And they found that it is a very small percentage, I think, under 20%, under 15% of required entities have gone through the self-evaluation to identify barriers. So, if we can continue to work on changing the environment with this law, I think that opens up space where people can get together and do other forms of advocacy or activism. And that's a, you know, kind of trying to improve the public transportation system so that it is more accessible, I feel that that's in a way that's doing issue based work, kind of not necessarily tied to disability identity. So I am excited about the ADA part of the puzzle. As long as we recognize that it's not the solution to everything.

HEATHER: This is this is Heather, thank you for that Katie and, and again, disclosure that I I'm the Research Director at the Northwest ADA center. So Katie and I do work together. And it also it resonates a lot with me what you're saying about kind of keeping some people in their lane, that that want to get excited and claim that what they're doing will save the world and all forms of injustice. Without maybe understanding some of the complexities or maybe without fully grappling with, I'll say some of the complexities that you both have talked about today that's involved in actually achieving a more equitable and fair world for folks. So, Elizabeth, I'll turn it to you and see if there's other avenues or other spaces that you're excited about where you see there's some really productive, maybe tensions in in the work that you're doing between DJ and disability rights?

ELIZABETH: Yeah, one glimmer of hope that I have, is working with my students. I feel like this generation of students is much more likely to openly identify as having a disability, which is, of course, always their choice. But I see many more students willing to be open about it, willing to talk about it. They know how to advocate for themselves, they know what works for them. And that's great to see. And I think what it also signals to me is something that actually rose Rosemary Garland Thompson wrote about this when that series started in the New York Times years ago, about you know, where and the basic thrust or what I got from that. Is where is the Disability Pride movement? Where is the articulation of disability as a positive identity, and not sterile, not just an impairment, or lack, or a problem. Undoubtedly, these disabilities can cause pain they can cause, you know, difficulties, but not always, it's a huge, varied group. And there are also positive aspects. And that was really been missing. And that might be part of why the ADA and the other laws have been less flourishing than we might hope they are. So I think that embrace of disability as an identity that you would talk about openly and even celebrate is a really positive, positive move, that perhaps in a related way, I have a lot of hope about the health equity movement, it includes disability, but it's not necessarily centered on disability, because a lot of those solutions are really interdisciplinary, recognizing that this isn't a problem caused by one thing, or at one time, it's a complicated layering of things that were there before, and then more things that happened. So it took all of us to get us here. So it's going to take all of us to solve this problem. But what I see in the health equity movement is a absolute demand that people who are most impacted by these structures and policies have a voice in the solution. So people with disabilities, designing the cultural competency training, that we might want physicians and other health care providers to undergo not other people thinking about what people with disability needs need, but the people themselves who are the most impacted. So also, you know, I think that came out in the response to COVID, when we talked about crisis standards of care, how are those developed? Are they publicly published? And why can't people with disabilities, people who are older, anyone impacted by them have a say in how they're created, and how they're implemented? I think there's an increasing demand and even embrace of that sort of listening to the voices of the people who are most impacted, even within the disability rights movement, sort of as a corrective to what Katie was mentioning about disability rights being, you know, white spaces, educated spaces, spaces where certain voices are heard and others are not. I see a lot of opportunities to change that in that movement.

HEATHER: That's great that in that that is so hopeful, I will echo that. I am also very buoyed by the students that I work with, and certainly this next generation, and yes, everybody, I am staring at Toby a little bit here. And that how much how much I have learned from these folks, and I'm excited about where they take this work. I just want to thank you both very much, again for taking the time to speak with us today. So again, my heartfelt thanks to you both. I know that this was really the beginning of a set of conversations, I can tell our audience who didn't have the benefit of seeing the many nods, the snapping fingers and the overlapping laughter. For example, talking about the podcast series that we will now need to do on experiences at conferences. But I really enjoyed and appreciated this conversation. And again, I can't thank you enough for being here with us.

[OUTRO MUSIC PLAYS]