>> DUSTIN SNOWADSKY: Hello, welcome to the town hall with the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration. My name is Dustin and we would first like to announce that we are recording this webinar, it is also currently being live streamed on WID’s Facebook page which is Facebook.com/World Institute on Disability and we’ll put the link in the Zoom chat. For starters, everyone has been muted. You can activate captions on your toolbar located at the bottom of the Zoom window, or you can use the URL we just posted on the chat box. Lastly, we do hope that you will share and tweet about this WID town hall and the very important issues that you will all raise today. We would love it if you used #DisabilityDisasterAlliance on various social media platforms. I think that’s all the housekeeping, so let’s get started. I’ll turn over to Marcie Roth, who will kick us off. Marcie?
>> MARCIE ROTH: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another gathering of the Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration. Over the past seven months, since we launched GADRA, we’ve brought together disability led organizations, humanitarian led funders and allies from 69 countries with a shared commitment to support the leadership of and resources for local disability led organizations and their disaster impacted community before, during and after disasters. GADRA is committed to disrupting the exclusion of disability led organizations from humanitarian relief and accelerating resources they need to support their community when it’s needed most.
Today we are proud to pass the mic to some of our colleagues who are leading the global effort to center the experiences of black disabled people during and after disasters. Our moderator for this important discussion is GADRA founder circle member Andraéa Lavant. Andraéa and I have been partnering on operationalizing inclusion for many years and I’ve always admired her leadership. Andraéa is the founder and President of Lavant Consulting, LCI, a social impact communications firm that offers cutting edge corporate development and content marketing for brands and nonprofits. LCI’s specialty is helping brands speak disability with confidence. As a communications consultant and inclusion specialist, Andraéa has over a decade of experience working with programs that support youth in adults with disabilities and other underserved populations. She currently serves as the impact producer for NetFlix’s Oscar short listed feature film documentary crip camp where she is charged with leading the campaign’s effort to promote understanding of disability as a social justice issue and build across lines of difference. Before we turn to Andraéa, I’m pleased to welcome our guest speaker, another long time partner who I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with on key disability and disaster policy initiatives for many years. Curtis Brown has Homeland Security and emergency management experience at the federal, state and local levels. He currently serves appears the state coordinator, director, of emergency management at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. In 2018, he co founded the Institute for diversity and inclusion in emergency management, IDIEM, a nonprofit organization dedicated to diversify the field of emergency management and promote the application of equitable practices to improve disaster outcomes and build community resilience for the most vulnerable communities. Curtis is recognized as a certified Emergency Manager, he serves on the equitable climate resilience advisory panel for the Institute for building technology and safety and FEMA’s mitigation framework leadership group. I’m excited to welcome Curtis and the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management in GADRA’s newest circle member. Welcome, Curtis. Newest circle member. Welcome, Curtis.
>> CURTIS BROWN: Thank you, Marcie, for that wonderful introduction and for all your friendship and your leadership over many years advocating foreign clue sieve emergency management addressing the needs of people with disabilities and operationalizing equity and inclusion. As Marcie said, my name is Curtis Brown. I serve as director of emergency management here in Virginia, Department of Emergency Management and co founder of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management, and it’s really my pleasure to make some opening comments for the Global Alliance for Disability Resource Acceleration today and particularly for this discussion of black disabled people before and during disasters, this is a wonderful opportunity for a truly global and inclusion discussion, focused on the correlation of race and disability status and disasters and systemic biases and negative impacts on black disabled people before, during and after disasters. For instance, data related to the global COVID 19 pandemic has confirmed disproportional practices, death rates, hospitalizations, this is why discussions like we’re having today are critically important.
Panelists today are focused on having a conversation about preparing for, responding to and recovering through disasters through the experiences of those who best understand these issues. Black and disabled people are the subject matter experts who should be empowered and included in insights to ensure that disaster response agencies make drastic and systemic and sustainable changes to improve the outcomes of black disabled people during disasters. It makes us all better as a society when we have inclusive emergency management practices and make sure that our planning and our response and recovery addresses the needs of everyone.
Myself and other emergency management leaders greatly benefit from these discussions, since they remove the need for assumptions and helps to directly identify gaps and issues. This conversation today demonstrates the power of diversity and inclusion and in prioritizing the needs of those disproportionately impacted.
Today we highlight one element of this important discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion looking at the needs of black disabled people and their experiences in disasters. There are other data points that demonstrate the urgency of this moment and topic. Persons with disabilities are more likely to be left behind or abandoned during evacuations and disasters, and in many cases due to inaccessible facilities and services and transportation systems. Several studies show us that including the needs and the voices of persons with disabilities at all stages of disaster management process enhances our ability to really be inclusive and meet the needs of everyone. All these data points demonstrate the intersection of race, color, ethnicity and individuals with disabilities and disasters. As we continue on move forward with the COVID 19 response, I hope we can learn the lessons that are needed to be learned to address these clear gaps. We famous the potential for more frequent and impactful natural disasters as well. That’s why it’s urgently needed for us to hear these voices and to take actions now. Our emergency planning efforts should be inclusive, address the needs of people of color, build resilience in preparation for future emergencies. Prioritizing marginalized people and integrating equity into all aspects of disasters can occur if we make diversity and inclusion a Foundational goal and responsibility of emergency management, prioritize at risk populations in all planning and funding programs and all aspects of emergency management and integrate and empower and leverage those who experience inequities on a daily basis.
In closing, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in today’s session and thank all the panelists for all the great work that they do and the moderators as well, for all the viewers who are participating in the discussion today and listening, who would take the information and turn it into actionable changes to make impact all over the globe, I really thank you for all that you do as well. So with that, I’ll pass it back over to the moderator and again thank you for the opportunity to make some comments today.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much, Curtis, thanks for being here. This is Andraéa Lavant, and I am going on provide an image description before we move forward. So I am sitting in my living room with a teal couch behind me and a variety of kind of spring like decorations. I am wearing a kind of marigold colored shirt. You can’t see it what it says in the color but it says advocate like truth, innovate like walker, lead like Douglas, I have a gold chain around my neck.
I’m wearing some African orange earrings that I got from Ghana. I’m wearing my Kat eye black glasses. Curly shoulder length hair. And my skin is a deep caramel Brown. So thanks so much. Super excited to begin this conversation today, thanks to everyone within GADRA for having me and Marcie in particular. So let’s get started. I’m going to begin with providing an introduction of each of the panelists that we have with us today, and then we will jump right into questions. The first person that we have is Anita Cameron. Anita is the director of Minority Outreach for Not Dead Yet. As a black disabled lesbian, Anita has dealt with racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia. Sometimes combinations of these. She has used her experience of discrimination and her unique intersectional perspective to promote understanding among different groups of disenfranchised meme and increase social justice among those fighting for social justice.
Then we have Dikko Yusuf, who is a high school literature teacher in Nigeria and project coordinator at the special needs initiative for growth. Located in northern Nigeria. Special Needs Initiative for Growth. Yusuf became more involved with advocacy in 2019, during his year of national service. When he joined a community development service group for Sustainable Development Goals. Then we have Leroy Moore, who is the founder of Kip Hop Nation and has been a key member of had Moore magazine since the 1990s, Moore’s work with the magazine began with his column, Illin and Chillin, he went on to become a founding magazine of Pore magazine’s decolonize academy, Moore is also one of the founding members of National Black Disability, and activist whose work centers around police brutality against people with disabilities.
Next we have Vivienne Isebor, who has run awareness sessions and advocated on platforms such as BBC, mental health today and mind since being diagnosed with ADHD in her early 20s. Isebor is a training clinical associate in psychology currently studying part time at UCL and working with individuals with complex emotion needs at East London, is also a founder of ADHD Babes, the first support group for black women and black nonbinary people with ADHD, where she is the director of community outreach and well being. Finally we have Kaman Wasup, who is the treasurer at PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons and chairman of PNG Blind Union in Papua New Guinea. Kaman has facilitated systemic advocacy trainings on disability inclusion since 2018. During Kaman’s trainings, people with disabilities gather to partake in formal and informal advocacy activities. Kaman also runs focus group discussions regarding topics such as utilizing mainstream media for advocacy. So we have a pretty powerful panel today and would like to get started.
So I am going to ask a question and then for the sake of access, if each of you panelists could turn on your cameras when you’re speaking and then turn them off, that would be after you’re finished, that would be wonderful. So the first question I have is actually for all of you, and that is just if you can tell us a little more about yourselves and how COVID 19 and disasters impact you and your communities. And we can begin with Kaman, that would be great.
>> KAMAN KELLY WASUP: Sorry. I’m with my audio and my video, I guess. Hello, everyone. I am in a country of Papua New Guinea, which is north of Australia, within the Pacific region. So basically, my country is pretty much a small country. With 8 million population. It’s a developing country. So when COVID 19 started, I am also doing a lot of volunteer work, which I don’t get paid, so I pretty much do a lot of stuff to sustain myself. So when COVID 19 struck, in Papua New Guinea, basically we have the news about coronavirus strike the Chinese and then how the government was not really serious about this until it increased, and then the government decided to impose shutdowns for three months. And during the time, most of our disabled persons, including myself, would depend entirely on the informal sector to sustain ourselves, so it was really a struggling moment for us, and because my country is a developing country, we depend on each other. And our family bond is very strong, the family within the household gets to support each other to sustain ourselves.
So when the government imposed shutdown period for three months, it did not take into consideration how we will survive throughout the period of the shutdown, so it was really a struggling moment for myself as a person with disability. So I really had to find other options to sustain myself, so I was depending entirely on my family to find a way for me to sustain myself. So it was a struggling moment for myself because I depend entirely on informal shutdown, also doing a lot of volunteer work presenting back to my family, so it was a struggling moment for me during the time that the government imposed three months shutdown, when there was the first case registered in Papua New Guinea. So that’s my experience when COVID 19 strike. Thank you.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much. Anita, can you tell us more about yourself and how COVID 19 and disasters impact you and your communities?
>> ANITA CAMERON: Hello, my name is Anita Cameron. I’m the director of Minority Outreach for Not Dead Yet. A quick image description, caramel colored skin, black woman with long locks, I’m wearing a pink shirt that says Not Dead Yet, which is my organization. One thing I don’t think it was made clear about me in this is that I have disaster and emergency planning experience on what’s known as a CERT, which is Community Emergency Response Team, started that out in Washington, D.C. and helped to organize the first CERT class for people with disabilities here in Rochester, New York, I then went to Denver and joined their CERT and then became a CERT instructor. The first legally blind instructor for the state of Colorado and then became a program manager and amateur radio operator, and I’ve had some experiences in real life disasters and real life actual exercises. Both national, state and local.
When COVID hit, I immediately began to notice the impact on the black community and disability community, and as I saw the impact and saw that often we were not served, we were dying at faster and higher rates and things, I then began to write about that subject in the context of my job, as I say again, I’m director of Minority Outreach for Not Dead Yet. Not Dead Yet is a disability organization that is opposed to and fights against disability discrimination in medicine, medical rationing, healthcare rationing, euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. So I saw where in that context, especially as proponents of assisted suicide began making the movements of COVID 19 as terminal illness and for people to apply for assisted suicide using COVID as that response, and I saw that as really dangerous. I saw the medical rationing that was going on, was really, really scared for my community. We all have heard the story of Michael Hickson, a gentleman from Texas who happened to be black and disabled and how he was denied COVID 19 treatment specifically because he was disabled, placed into hospice and allowed to die. And that was chilling. That frightened me.
So I’ve been keeping close tabs on, you know, as we’re living through COVID and seeing its impact on black community, Native American, indigenous community, Latino community and particularly the disability community, it’s scary, and I’m still watching. And people with disabilities, we are fighting still for basic resources and fighting to be included, you know, in governmental things, in funding, you know, and all of that. So I am definitely keeping aware. As I said, I’ve done some writing for this, for not dead yet, and just on my own. It’s frightening, but I am grateful for those of us disability activists out here really pushing for and fighting for us to be included, you know, in things like the vaccination lineups and things of that nature. So I think I’ll stop right here. Thank you very much.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much, Anita. Dikko, can you share a little?
>> DIKKO YUSUF: Yes. Thank you. My name is Dikko Yusuf, and I am from Nigeria, northern Nigeria, I’m a teacher, as you said, and I understand I have an accent, but it kind of depends because I normally don’t read, I use audiobooks to read. So it affects the way I speak. And also the reason request I do use audiobooks is because I am visually impaired as well. So I have very low vision.
For the impact of the COVID 19, because I was teaching at a school, in March last year, the government shut down everything, really. No movement at all when it became very apparent that the COVID 19 had landed in Nigeria, so they wanted to kind of limit the damage that the virus carried in the country. One thing that did strike almost immediately and I hear of Anita of having an instant impact, kind of felt that as well, because I was teaching at a school and then schools were shut down. And it’s the private schools, the private owners of schools cannot keep paying salaries. And something also that Cameron said. So suddenly the income that you’re something also that Kaman said. So suddenly the income you’re having, it just stopped. So I use to are reduce intraocular drops, to reduce the intraocular pressure so my vision is clearer. I use it once in the morning and once in the evening and when I went to get the eye drop I was shocked that the price had actually tripled. Not doubled, it tripled, almost overnight, and part of the reason is because drugs in general, especially drugs skyrocketed, their prices just increased astronomically, so a drug would be almost three times the price, that really struck a blow, struck a chord, sorry, and it kept going on with other things as well. So, you know, every day, I would find at the market things that weren’t even important, this was the thing, that drugs were the things that weren’t even imported. This was the thing, drugs that were imported from other countries, so interruption in the supply chain, so things were not coming in as readily and not available as readily as you would have them. So it became quite apparent that it was going to be really a rough road ahead. And it was for seven months, we didn’t receive any salary because schools were not open even when other sectors we opened, because things were quite difficult, they had to make sure everything was there.
So only when school was reopened around September or October, and then it was closed again, unfortunately for us, but only recently we opened. However, I think so far, really, we have in terms of sustaining oneself, and I hear Kaman speaking from Papua New Guinea, and I can relate a lot to what he was saying. You have to rely on your other family members, at a certain point I just had to because there was no stream of income coming in. Yeah. So really, it’s more about resources that were not coming in to sustain myself, my needs. But, you know, I have family luckily around and a community as a community the way we live, the people around you also depend. So we saw a lot of that really in Nigeria. It brought people closer together, but also there was the kind of, you know, having to cope with a very difficult situation that most people went through. So I think that’s mostly it for my experience so far in the COVID 19 pandemic.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you for sharing, Dikko. And next, we’ll have Vivienne, if you can share a little bit about yourself and how COVID 19 and disasters impact your communities.
>> VIVIENNE ISEBOR: Hi, everyone. Thank you. So I guess for me personally, I lost a lot of my routine, which included being able to be outside, like outdoor activities. I used to attend a lot of kind of galleries and events. You know, loads of social events that would help break up my days and also was a bit of escapism, having ADHD, my thoughts are kind of constantly racing, so having moments of time where there was a break was really useful for me. So losing out on that I think was really difficult. As well as that I was finishing UNI at the start of the peck, so everything moved online. So kind of studying, being able to concentrate on lectures, that was extremely difficult. So I tried to go back to my ADHD clinic but wasn’t able to because the line was the waiting list was too long and that was back in summer, so the lack of access to services is a really big difficulties, as well as remembering dates, I think the lack of kind of change in the daily, you know, not being able to go outside and have different things to break things up has meant the days are blurring into one, it’s made it difficult to organize, the difficulty that some people refer to as time blindness has gotten worse because there’s no breaks. Everything just feels very flat.
And in terms of our community, a lot of people from the black community with ADHD have spoken about not being able to access services. ADHD services in the UK are already stretched. They don’t have enough resources. And now during the pandemic, a lot of people’s difficulties have you can see a lot more, it’s been maximized because we’ve lost out on our routine, we’ve lost out on our support networks and the things that would help us manage. So people are experiencing a lot more and seeking help from a system that already doesn’t have a lot of resources in the first place. And then things like feeling isolated or not actually having your community around you has meant loads of people have been seeking that community online, so our group has grown a lot in the last six months because people are seeking that space to kind of be around people, to relate to people, to just not feel isolated. Yeah, and I think the lack of services was already bad, but during this kind of disaster and this COVID 19 period, it’s gotten a lot worse. Yeah.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you for sharing. And next we have Leroy.
>> LEROY MOORE: Hello. Leroy Moore here. I’m sitting in my living room with a purple shirt on, and I would like to take it from an international stage because I and we, so there’s no story without we, and people with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the world. And in disasters, it’s the same story. We’ve been here before. It’s just bigger. You know, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Puerto Rico, we can look at what’s happening in Haiti, same story. It’s the stories that people with disabilities are left out and are killed in hospitals, by police, and we were the last ones to get any kind of services or any kind of vaccines if we need it. And that’s because of our institutions and our laws don’t go far enough. Our laws are not implemented, so it’s a piece of paper. And our services are not dedicated to us. Anytime we gain budgets, our services are cut. So it makes sense that in emergency situations, it happened overnight again, that we are killed by police and that we are the last ones to be thought of.
It’s the same story. It’s a bigger pandemic than anybody dealing with, you know. In New Orleans, it was horrible, people cut and wealthy people didn’t see it. We have a President who flew over it and looked out the window. So it’s
(Sound going out).
So to drastically change how we do school. So teaching, anybody who has a computer at home. We can’t go back to what’s normal. And we see that when schools in New York open up, they had to close two days after. So it’s so frustrating that the system won’t change, you know. And because it won’t change, we continue having the same situation. You know, emergency happening two, three, years ago, people with disabilities again. If you don’t learn and if you don’t do radical changes to the system and we get used to, you know, this situation awareness with we or I and I because, you know, this happens in countries with people with disabilities.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much, Leroy. This is Andraéa. So I feel like, you know, each of you spoke about this a little bit with regard to COVID 19, but in general, if you can give us a broader perspective on the ways that you understand and know black disabled people to experience racism and ableism before, during and after and after disasters. So I’m going to direct that to, in this order, Anita, Leroy, and then Kaman. So again, the question is in what ways do black people experience racism and ableism before, during and after disasters?
>> ANITA CAMERON: Hi, this is Anita. Well, in the first place, we aren’t even thought of. Okay? We’re not even thought of before, during, you know, or after disasters. We’re not thought of by local government, state government. Our communities are not heard from. Often when we try to advocate for our communities, we’re kind of pushed away, kind of dismissed. As we know and particularly in the disability community, I mean, black folks, we do tend to be poorer. When we’re disabled, we tend to be poorer, we also tend to have a lack of access to information and other resources. You know, even compared to other groups of disabled folks. So what ends up happening, as we see, you know, the disability community itself is rarely, if ever, thought of before, during and after disasters and that shows up in silliness like, you know, oh, have disabled have paratransit help them to evacuate. Really? Okay. Oftentimes if we have to evacuate, because we’re poor and tend to be poor, we often can’t. We often have no choice but to shelter in place in disasters, people with disabilities lose, we die unnecessarily. So in so many other ways. And after disasters, our communities, we’re the last to go through the to be cleaned up, if you will, you know. We’re the last to think about it. I mean, if you think about Hurricane Katrina and think about that, there’s still parts of New Orleans where the houses are still devastated and whatnot from Hurricane Katrina. Okay? We’re talking like 15, 16 years ago. So that’s another way that we’re not even thought of where the racism and ableism happens, so we’re not listened to by these commissions, by the city government planning, all of that, they just don’t consult us. You know, as far as disabled, I mean, I think a lot of folks think that we have to do stuff for disabled, so people don’t want to listen to us when we’re telling about our problems and the things that impact our communities, different people will kind of look at it as us kind of wanting handouts or sympathies and not giving advice on what we can do to help our communities and how to help us. So that’s just one of the few ways that racism and ableism persists.
It seem as if, especially if we’re disabled, it’s almost as if you can’t think for yourself, so we’re going to have to think for you and do for you instead of listening to us tell you what we need and how to better help our communities. There’s just so much more, but just that whole thing of we’re not valued as people and communities, so people don’t want to listen to us. It’s sad, it’s something that I’ve been trying to work to change for as long as I’ve been volunteering in this field, which has been since 2005, we still have a lot of hearts and minds to change because as long as those in charge, if you will, think that we don’t have anything valuable to offer, you know, then that’s what it’s going to be.
Another thing is while we deserve to be rescued, you know, and all of that just right to rescue, we also deserve to be the ones helping our communities out. Being on those commissions, being part, you know, of disaster planning and all of that, and often, especially if you’re disabled, people don’t want to listen to us. I’ve served on some of those, and often it’s very, very difficult to get those in charge to listen and to follow up on our suggestions. I’ll stop right there. Thank you.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much. Leroy, can you share with us, in what ways do black disabled people experience racism and ableism before, during and after disasters?
>> LEROY MOORE: Well, you know, I mean, that’s a whole book. But usually black disabled people have no national voice. I belong to national black voices it’s the only of black disabled people. NAACP or urban league has no include about disability, so if you don’t have an organization, a national organization that represents you, of course there’s going to be racism and ableism. So can you imagine if black disabled people can come home and come home and start working, they can’t come home now because there’s no foundation, and because of that, things like this continues to happen situations like this continue to happen. Martin Luther King said I can’t follow you if you’re not going my way, you know. I’m 53 years old. I’ve been doing research in disabilities since the ’80s, and although it’s getting a little bit better, it’s still not at a level where we can force policy, we can force administration, we can force our community, you know, black community to not be ableists, you know, we can force our disabled community to face the racism. But that’s not happening when a strong group of us get together as an organization and voice that to happen. I mean, yeah, all of these, you know, now we have racial justice on the national agenda from our President and Vice President, but still, you know, nobody is talking about black disabled issues. So my question is that I’m 53, are we always going to talk about it again in another 53 years and say there’s no organization? You know, sometimes you have to make a sacrifice, and sometimes you just have to sacrifice, like work in my community to make sure that there’s a foundation for the next generation. So, you know, that’s a question, are we going to make that sacrifice, or are we going to continue working at other places and saying that the black community does not recognize disability? Of course they don’t because there’s no organization there. There’s no education there. We’ve got these nonprofit are organizations that really don’t speak to black disabled people. So thank you.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much, Leroy. And last for this question, Kaman? In what ways do black disabled people experience racism and ableism before, during, and after disasters?
>> KAMAN KELLY WASUP: I think for myself, specifically coming from a country which is dominated by black people, Papua New Guinea is located north of Australia, it’s a Pacific country, I see that during the time of the COVID 19 pandemic, because of the government of Papua New Guinea, a lot of international donor like the UN, and a lot of donations are coming in, but they forgot about all of us concerning persons with disabilities and also related persons with disabilities too, to have discussions with them to see how the preparedness and the response should be like. And even the government of my country, also the government of my country, also decided to come up with, within one month, and just imagine, there was no consultation with persons with disabilities or representation of persons with disabilities, but because of a lot of money from international donors, which they wanted to tick their boxes, you know. So for them in order to them for tick their boxes because of funding that would support the government response of COVID 19, but because of that, there was no inclusion, and of course racism and segregation within persons with disabilities participation in the decision making process in terms of the development of guidelines and processes, systems to comply with the new normal in light of the COVID 19 pandemic. So I saw a lot of even also during the COVID 19 pandemic, the government came up with the new normal protocols, like, you know, washing your hands 30 minutes and also in terms of social distancing and this new protocol, it was mandatory for everyone to comply with, if you’re moving around in public and things like that, but it was not really including disability inclusion in the new protocols that the government has developed, so because of persons with disabilities were not consulted to participate so that their voice can be captured in terms of development of the policies and guidelines, systems. So basically persons with disabilities are missing out. One I’ve made mention of funding, the international dollars that came on board to support the government of Papua New Guinea, but they forgot the persons with disabilities and they went on to develop systems and processes just to tick their boxes and get funding to come through. But persons with disabilities were missing out. So for preparedness and response also, we were not being consulted and part of the decision making process. So when we are not part of already created so when we were not part of it, it created segregation and also created racism within the system and the processes. So thank you.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much. I know we are running short on time, so I have a question that I want to direct towards Dikko and Vivienne, and then we will conclude. So the question is, you know, we know that institutional racism is a global issue that differently affects local communities. In what ways does institutional racism and ableism influence the disaster cycle? We’ll start with Dikko.
>> DIKKO YUSUF: Okay. So in terms of like institutional racism, as you’ve spoken, I suppose I’m speak as a Nigerian and as a country dominated by black people, so kind of the experiences of my personal experience as a person with a disability and also considering the fact that there is a lot of ableism within the society. For me at least it goes back to the major idea of where we’re having the access to employment and access and civic policy. You look at the cabinet for Nigeria, people who make the decisions and who call the shots, you find that it’s not representative at all of persons with disabilities. I think there’s only one person who has a disability in the whole Senate or something. So I think it just goes back to that. If you look at the institutions that represent Nigerians and Nigeria as a whole, it doesn’t really it isn’t that reflective of the experiences of the people who can at least empathize with the position of persons with disabilities like myself and many other people in Nigeria who are living with disabilities so at least lack of representation, it’s very palpable here.
But I should say this, lastly, this needs to be April great deal of improvement in terms of inclusion and also policies that are directed at including the lives of persons with disabilities. I have noticed this in Nigeria and hopefully something that will continue, and I think that these kinds of conversations we can guide the changes that we want to see. So thank you very much. I know we’re running short on time. So I will cut my answer short.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Thank you so much. That was wonderful. And finally, Vivienne?
>> VIVIENNE ISEBOR: Thank you. So I think there’s a lot of things that contribute to the kind of disaster cycle, especially for black meme within Britain. So I’m from Britain, England and North London to be specific. In this society within this society, physical health, mental health, within education, even within politics, black people are discriminated against, black and Asian and other minority groups, but specifically black people, especially women’s health services have worse outcomes than their white counterparts, so I think that exists already as a difficulty. And then when you look specifically at things like ADHD, ADHD being seen as an invisible condition means that people overlook it, people don’t necessarily understand what it means, especially within our community. So often team grow up not knowing and then considering the fact that ADHD is underdiagnosed in a lot of groups. I think the fact that women in our society, for example, black women aren’t believed when they express pain during childbirth. I think that kind of rhetoric of not understanding pain and cultural competence means that our experiences aren’t necessarily believed by professionals, which I think adds on to the fact that a lot of black women are diagnosed alert on in life. So a lot of the people in our group have been diagnosed up to their early 20s, people being diagnosed right up to their mid 40s. And that’s kind of a combination of being a woman and being black. I guess in terms of how it now becomes a cycle, incus not being incus being underdiagnosed and not being given the support and treatment that we need means that we’re not getting the support that we need to improve our quality of life. So that affects our employment prospects, that affects our mood and physical health and relationship and just our overall quality of life. So if we’re already going through those things and then you put a huge pandemic on top of that, that is going to maximize the problem and we don’t have the resources and tools to manage that because we haven’t been we don’t have access to these services. We don’t have access to the support. So I think it works in a cycle of we’re already disadvantaged and then yeah, the disaster put on top of that makes life harder and then trying to recover from that, again with the lack of access to services, the lack of understanding, the lack of cultural competence and knowing what ADHD looks like within the black community or within minority groups means that there’s a disconnect and we’re kind of forced to get through it as a community and to kind of lean on one another’s strengths, which is a great thing and we’re resilient and we’re surviving, but we need more than that. It needs to be responded to with something that is concrete and something that’s delivered to us, for us. Yeah, so I’ll try and keep it short like that.
>> ANDRAÉA LAVANT: Such powerful commentary and truth. Thank you all so much. We are over time, and to Leroy’s point earlier, this could, oh, my goodness, we could go on forever and ever around this topic. So thanks hopefully for what is the beginning of a conversation. Thank you all for joining us. Thank you to each of our panelists, Anita Cameron, Leroy Moore, Dikko Yusuf, Vivienne Isebor, and to Kaman Wasup and then we also want to thank Curtis Brown, who led us out from the beginning. You can learn more about joining GADRA on the WID website, http://www.WID.org, and please be on the lookout for more information on the next GADRA event, which will be held on May 20. Thank you all so much.
>> ANITA CAMERON: Thank you.