Tuesday, May 23, 2023
The future of disability rights—and what society, as a whole, has to gain
A car accident at age 11 left Brooke Ellison paralyzed from the neck down and ventilator-dependent. When, at 21, she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in cognitive neuroscience—the first student with quadriplegia to do so—she received international praise and attention. Her first book, Miracles Happen (2002), was adapted into The Brooke Ellison Story, a movie directed by the late actor, director, and activist, Christopher Reeve. Today, Brooke's latest memoir, Look Both Ways, returns to the story of her life through the lens of personal struggle, public policy, sociology, the future of disability rights, and what it means to be human. She shares what it has meant to be a person living with a disability for the last 31 years, and affirms that our society, as a whole, has so much to gain from a world in which those with disabilities are integrated into decision-making processes, public policy, and how physical spaces are designed.In our conversation, Brooke and Dave discuss:The feeling of "feigned praise and condescension" when called "an inspiration," despite well-meaning intentionsHow perceiving inabilities of disabled persons result from "social construction," not reality What is the real, hard work of supporting those with disabilities—in a society built against them?Brooke Ellison, Ph.D. is an associate professor of health policy and medical ethics at Stony Brook University. She is a policy and ethics expert in stem cell research and has served on the Empire State Stem Cell Board, which designed New York’s stem cell policy. She is on the Board of Directors of the NY Civil Liberties Union and the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission.Please rate and review our show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to help other listeners find our work!Want to get in touch? Leave us a voicemailSupport our partners and affiliates for exclusive discounts:Fathom Analytics: Get beautiful, secure website data without trading your customers’ private browsing data to Google and FacebookFlywheel: Seamless WordPress website hosting on US-based serversHover: Register domains with ease. Save $2 on your first purchaseMailerLite: A lite, powerful, affordable email marketing platform with premium plans starting at just $9/mo.Sanebox: Take back your inbox with machine learning to automatically organize your emails. Save $5 when you join.Trint: Turn recordings of meetings, calls, and interviews into transcripts with 99% accuracy.Affiliate Disclosure: Our show is listener supported through affiliate and partner links. By clicking one of the above links and registering or making a purchase, we may earn a small commission, which helps pay for the costs of our show.