Manage episode 299842581 series 2969801
Disabled Lives Matter Season 1, Episode 2 Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley Guest: David Renaud Pt.2
Intro: [Music playing in background] Disabled Lives Matter... here we go!
Voiceover: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the disabled lives matter podcast with co-hosts Nadine Vogel and Norma Stanley… yay!
Nadine Vogel: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you to the second show of Disabled Lives Matter, as you will recall. this is more than just a podcast Disabled Lives Matter is a global movement, where each week we interview individuals who have disabilities or in the disability community to hear how they will positively contribute to an impact society. Now what's really special about this week's show, is that it's a two-parter from last week. So we're going to here once again from David Renaud, and the incredible work that he is doing off-screen on-screen, he just speaks for himself, so I'm not going to say any more. David, welcome back to the show. Let's keep going with the conversation.
Nadine Vogel: Well, you know it's interesting because so we're building a house and um it's on stilts and so it's basically four stories and we're putting in an elevator. And the builder asked us, you know, why do you need an elevator, you don't seem like you, you know, you and your husband need an elevator. And I said, well, we don't. My older daughter, while she has physical disabilities at the moment, doesn't need an elevator, but I might have a friend over tomorrow, who does. And so right, we said… right, right so, why wouldn't I put an elevator in? And, to your point David, it was very interesting because they said, well, do you realize what the cost is to put an elevator in a home and especially if you don't need it? And that you, you know, on and on. And I said. I’m so confused because you know what the cost is of losing a friend? Right? Because they can't get in my house. I just it's a whole different way of thinking and.
David Renaud: I love what you just said it's absolutely...
Nadine Vogel: Right? And to me it's, I’m placing value on a friendship whether the person has a disability, or doesn't have a disability, it's just about I’m valuing them as a human. I want them to be able to get into my house like anybody else can.
Norma Stanley: Absolutely and that's something, that you know, my daughter is in a wheelchair, and so I don't like for her to miss anything, and so, when I go to restaurants, when I travel, the things that we do, I want her to be experiencing those things too. And so, the accessibility aspect of all of that is very important and you'd be surprised how many places on not ready for prime time. Right here in the U.S. [group laughter]
Nadine Vogel: oh yeah.
David Renaud: I hear you, it's like my, I think if I was going to start a movement in this regard my my words would be "let us in the front door."
Norma Stanley: yeah.
David Renaud: Let us in the front door, like everybody else. Like that, that, you're absolutely right, like, I feel for you, because I'm, I'm, I'm dealing with, and you know, places that are good that have "accessibility," again, it's often, you know, there's a lot of little, you know, extra things you need to do that makes the person feel awkward, and now, and we were, we have to burden that awkwardness. Well, it's, it's not, it's your problem, you're the one with the disability. So, if you're uncomfortable because you've got to you know go through the kitchen to get into this restaurant, or whatever it is, you know. You know, I don't, I don't want to march through a kitchen before I eat dinner in that place, I want to go in the front door and sit down, I’m paying for my meal, I want to be treated like royalty like everybody else. So, I get, I totally feel that and I love what you said about, you know, my in laws you know, they built, they just build a whole ramp and everything for me to get into their house. Okay, and I, I don't go there as much as they would like me to, or as much as I would even like to, it's on the other side of the country and I’m super busy. But I love them. I’m so grateful to know, my wife's sister my sister in law, they just built a whole house and they built an elevator for me, to go in and to go to all the levels of the house.
Nadine Vogel: right.
David Renaud: So, and that, yeah it was a huge, I’m incredibly grateful for them for doing that. I think there should be money available for anyone who wants to do that, in fact, I think homes should be designed that way to make sure it's accessible.
Norma Stanley: I agree.
Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, absolutely, well you know, it's interesting David, because you have so many roles in life, right? You do so much. And when I think about this issue of disabled lives matter, I also think about how leadership matters in this regard, and you've really taken the position of, you know, not, not necessarily just shouldering the burden, but helping leaders understand how to be good leaders relative to this work. And, And I’m wondering, you know if you can just talk a little bit about that. I know that you yourself have done that from the standpoint of becoming a mentor and taking the time to do that, but, but it's also when you talk about the Sony’s and the Disney’s of the world, it requires leaders to be able to take this and willing to take a stand.
David Renaud: yeah, yeah that's absolutely it. You know, I, it's funny you say that, because I was just on this panel, which is a TCA that’s the Television Critics Association panel and the title of the panel was "inclusion is not a spectator sport." Disney that put it on, a, Disney is a huge, a huge advocate in this regard for disability, that they were out in front of this before many, many other people, and, and as Sony. I just happen to work, I don't I think it's a coincidence, that I work for Sony and ABC which are probably two people that are really, as I said, really have been out in front of this, but Hollywood is getting out in front of. The CBS, I’ve done, a, an act a "lights camera access" panel with them. When I was on pure genius, which was a CBS show. And so, getting to that so, first of all you have to find it, you have to find an advocacy group. Okay, and what you're doing is an incredible form of advocacy, advocacy RespectAbility has been a big one in Hollywood that has been knocking on doors and saying, hey we we want your attention for a minute, just hear what we have to say. We are people with disabilities or we are family members of people with disabilities. And we we just want you to know we don't feel like we're being seen, and we don't feel like we're being heard, and, and, and finding people on the other side of those doors who are going, you know, what we've been looking, you know. I'll tell you something, when I first came to Hollywood, I played my, I can’t say where but I applied for a program, and I applied for a program to help me with my career as a writer, a young writer and director coming up, and they said, it was a, it was a diversity program, and they said, well what's divert? Like, why are you applying to this program, and I said, well, I don't have access to a writers room, because I’m in a wheelchair, and I can't just get coffee, I can't be a writer's assistant, you know, not traditionally the way writer's assistant is sent to go to Starbucks and get coffee, and run around town and put together sets, and do all this stuff. I don't really have access to what I need to break into this business, and they said, well, disability is not one of our categories. And I said, well, maybe it's not one of your categories, because nobody's ever knocked on your door and asked for it to be a category, but can you think about it?
Nadine Vogel: Right.
David Renaud: And they didn't take me into that program. To their benefit, they do now and I, I'd like to think that, that conversation I had with them, was the thing that provoked them to do that now. Fast forward to, you know, Disney’s where I got into, the Disney ABC writing program, several years later. And they had disability as part of, now diversity, and they were one of the first to include that in one of the big major Hollywood writing programs. And all the others have followed suit, and, and I’m not, I may have it out of order, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure just one the first one at least at the time of deployment went on, and so I knew that we're including, I think CBS came very quickly, right after that. Um and I’ve really wonderful things to say about the CBS program to, but, but the, the, when I went in for my interview, and I, and I got in that program they were saying they were looking for people with disabilities, because they wanted to add that into their Program. I'm not sure if I was the first, but I’m certainly one of the first may been the first to go through their program, but and it may not be true, but um, but yeah so, I’ve forgotten how we got here.
Nadine Vogel: [Laughter.] We were talking about Leadership and how leadership matters.
David Renaud: Thank you for bringing me back, thank you. Got me going on something I’m very passionate about. Yeah so, a leader, yeah so, so now, you know, with the help of RespectAbility, and perhaps me, and Disney, and ABC in their openness to this and the people like Tim McNeil who's running that program over at ABC. Lauren Applebaum at RespectAbility, that they, the doors are open and now you need somebody to come through that door that proves that there's a reason why that door should be open and and that's where it's kind of like leading from example comes in. I’m the person that and I wish there were many, many more people that they could call upon with disabilities to represent, what I’m, where I’m at, and at my level as a writer, and there are. I’m not the only one for sure I’m not the only one, but, but I’m somebody that they call and say, look here's a guy who's, you know, a producer level writer on the good doctor he's got a pilot in development at ABC, you know he's had some success, he's got into the rooms with his wheelchair and his disability. And to not only survive, but rise up the ranks, and has shown his ability, and if you will, at doing this job. So, we want you to open the doors, then we've proven that it's worth opening the doors
Nadine Vogel: Right
David Renaud: You're going to find talent, going to find talent you didn't think was there. So speaking, you know truth to power is one important thing, but also leading by example for, for powers, and other important thing, because what I, now I remember my point I was trying to make about that panel, I was just on inclusion is not a spectator sport that panel was all essentially white, white men for essentially there were, that's not totally true, but of the people who were sort of the decision-makers on that panel, right to hire people, very specifically or to do development and they've done their work. In there plenty of, not plenty, but there are many people at Disney working on shows that they could have brought in, that we're not that, but the point in that panel was it's not enough for to have diverse people, people of color, women to rep, you know to shoulder the burden of hiring people who are diverse. It's also their responsibility, because they are the people in power and how to do it right now? So, they need to, they need to do that and, and I, of course to, the opportunity to advocate for disability to be included in that, that discussion, and again I found very, I found very welcome an open-mind, minded people when it came to disabilities as.
Nadine Vogel: Right, right. Well, and I mean, look you, you've done a lot of mentoring, you know, you continue to do that, but again, even that wouldn't be an option, you wouldn't even have the opportunity to do that. If we didn't have leaders that are saying this is important, right? And we need to include it.
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Nadine Vogel: Um, I think Norma you were talking earlier, somebody was, oh I don't even know who was talking earlier about, uh the pandemic, right, there were, all been in, and I think Norma, you had a question about the impact of that, did you not?
Norma Stanley: Well, you know that it has been like you were saying, I think David was saying, also you know, how impacted we all have been, and how families adjusting, and people with disabilities, and people who are caregivers of individuals with disabilities like I am, you know, how are we supposed to maneuver successfully, and, and really make sure, that our family members and individuals that we love, get what they need. Because we're still left at the bottom of the pile of information, we're still not being included. And right up there with everybody else who's getting the information, is getting the shots. How do we, how do we break through that, that process, and do we have to speak louder? I mean, I thought we were speaking pretty loudly but, you know. Yeah, what do you think about that?
David Renaud: yeah, you're right Norma, when we do, we got to speak louder. We do, because you know, and maybe this is part of the theme, is they're kind of related themes, right? One is disabled lives matter, well if they do, then we need to act like it, and own it in a way we have not acted like it during this pandemic. And it's the way we were all used to this is already, there's nothing new to us. Just like, you know, my friend; I have a very close friend, a black friend, who when I said, wow you know it's this movement of black lives matter it's really exciting, actually was, actually before that we had this conversation, but that we, I have been aware of this problem for a long time man, you're aware of it now, but I’ve been aware of this. I’m glad you're paying attention, but it's been our problem for a long time. Well, it's the same thing here, it's we have been shouldering the burden of, not wanting to inconvenience society as people with disabilities, for a very long time and the pandemic just really shone a light on that you know. We are, we are told, well, certain people with conditions, preexisting conditions, are more at risk, so there's a big swath of society that says, well, let's just put those people away and we'll I’ll just go out and live our lives. Yep, one, like this is not happening, and we'll we'll have them shoulder the burden of the pandemic. Well, what did we do? I didn't you know get, get a bat, or whatever caused, you know, Covid-19, but yet, I’m being asked to shoulder extra burden, because if I get this virus, I’m more likely to die. So, so yeah, we are being asked to shoulder a burden, because society doesn't want to be inconvenience. And, I, look I get it, I get the counter argument here, which is, we need to open up the economy, we can't, people need to eat, they need to feed, that's all true and I empathize hundred percent with that, but, but that doesn't make it any easier for us to swallow that pill. And we need to be a part of the discussion, part of the narrative when it comes to it, because as you said, we have families to feed too. And I think often people think of people with disabilities as people who aren't working who are being supported.
Nadine Vogel: yes.
Norma Stanley: That's right.
David Renaud: Yeah, I got a family, I got two kids and a wife, I have a family I’m supporting.
Nadine Vogel: right.
David Renaud: yeah, my wife works, but I am the, one of the bread-winners of my family and we need me to make my money, and have my job, and have my income to feed my family. And I’m blessed, don't get me wrong, but there are many, many people with disabilities who have jobs they need to go to too, and you're seeing, you know, a staggering number of people dying with disabilities, because of this pandemic. You know, we need access to that sort of protection, to those vaccines. And we need everybody out there, in society to go, you know, what we're going to bear some of this burden too, so we're all going to wear the freaking mask.
Nadine Vogel: Exactly
David Renaud: And socially distance, we're not gonna have covid parties in warehouses, because we can share some of this responsibility with these people with disabilities, who are being asked to do it, but we don't need to do that, if we don't value their lives.
Nadine Vogel: Right, right, well you know, at the very, if you guys remember at the very beginning of the pandemic, I was just appalled, but they were, you know, the people that needed ventilators and they were saying, well, if this person has a disability, we won't give them the ventilator.
Norma Stanley: Right.
Nadine Vogel: because they're probably going to die anyway. I mean, I’m rarely speechless, but when I heard that, I was just like, I must have heard wrong it can't possibly be.
Norma Stanley: It was amazing, I couldn't believe it, I know what you mean.
Nadine Vogel: I know, but I think it goes back to David, what you were saying about, you know just, we have to change the narrative.
David Renaud: Yes.
Nadine Vogel: Right, we have, if we don't do that, nobody else is going to and it's just going to keep perpetuating itself, and I just, I, I refuse, at least in my lifetime, my legacy is that I’m not gonna let that happen, or I’m gonna die trying.
Norma Stanley: That's right.
Nadine Vogel. [laughter] One or the other.
David Renaud: Absolutely. Look, if I can say something, and I am not, I consider myself a relatively humble person, but I feel like this is a time not to be, you know, I I had an accident when I was nineteen years old, blue collar family, I did not come from wealth. You know, I had very little money, I had a family that, you know, my my parents, my, my very loving and caring parents both, you know, never finished high school. So, I didn't come from wealth and privilege, I came from an already a blue collar family and then I had a disab, paraplegia on top of that. I went to Medical School, I went to university, I got a biochemistry in molecular biology in grad school I was trying to find a cure for paralysis, which I didn't, yeah, yeah.
Nadine Vogel: [laughter] Next.
David Renaud: I didn't cure paralysis for our peeps. But um, you know, I went to Medical School and a lot of people said, no way, this guy's gonna be able to go to Medical School. I found a person in position of power, who support my application, and I thank the couple every day for giving me, great interview, and give me a great opportunity, I mean the other people at university of British Columbia MED school, but, you know, I did it okay, I got a stand up wheelchair when there were not very many standup wheelchairs, and I did my surgical rotation, and I operate in an operating room, I did everything everybody else did, and continue to I worked in the ICU, I worked during Covid-one as I call it, SARS.
Nadine Vogel: Wow. Norma Stanley: Wow.
David Renaud: I worked person in a wheelchair, with a disability, in that lethal deadly virus that was SARS in Toronto. I worked in those hospitals in the emergency department. Okay, you know, it was locked down. I remember going to work every day and I have so much respect for these doctors and nurses and.
Nadine Vogel: Oh yeah.
David Renaud: working out. All these first responders are working, because it is scary, good work, and put your life on the line every day, but I did it. And, and then I said, you know what, I want to, I want to work in television. I don't see a lot of people like me doing that, but that's what I always wanted to do, so I’m gonna go try and do it, and I did it, I did it, I became a TV writer, and now I’m a producer on a hit show on ABC.
Nadine Vogel: Woo-hoo!
David Renaud: So we can do it, our lives do matter, we do have value that we can bring to society.
Nadine Vogel: Yup.
David Renaud: I I like to think I helped make the good doctor, a better show, I mean, I have a wonderful show runner, and a great room full of writers, and great actors, and great people around me, but I like to think, I bring something to that room that without me, that show might be a little less .
Nadine Vogel: Right, right.
David Renaud: And that's true. Then I think every person out there, with a disability who's listening or anyone who's listening and thinking, you know, why does this, why did these people, let's add this to another, all these people want to be heard and seen, why these people now, hey you know, do we have to listen to everybody who comes along? And the answer is, yeah, because everybody matters, everybody has value that they can, that they can give and bring to society, everybody has a story to tell, and you know, some peoples are not being heard.
Nadine Vogel: right.
David Renaud: And as I said, that's what I think comes at the heart of what the disability movement is right now.
Nadine Vogel: yeah absolutely.
David Renaud: We have not been heard, we have not been seen, in fact, we have been devalued and we've been asked to shoulder your burdens, we've been asked to be the infirmed, and be on the side, and just out of sight out of mind.
Nadine Vogel: Right.
David Renaud: You know we're just going to go on living and pretending that stuff doesn't, isn't going to happen, and meanwhile everybody walking around right now, think about this, you could be disabled tomorrow, you could join this group at any time.
Norma Stanley: Any time
Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, absolutely, and I think that is, that in and of itself should remind people that our lives do matter, because David your life did not matter any less five minutes after your accident, then five minutes before your accident. I mean, at the end of the day, if we think about it that way, we should get people to get their heads and hearts around this but you know.
David Renaud: A little less, because I, I think, I was a little more ignorant now than I was before. I really believe in it, it's made me a better person, and I think better person, you know which, which has made me more interested in other people's struggles and doing more and more about other people, and, and I think it's made me a better person.
Nadine Vogel: Well, I don't know if this is appropriate to say or not, especially since we're both married, but I love you.
Nadine Vogel: Is it okay that I said that? I don't know.
Group: [more laughter.]
Nadine Vogel: Well, David, thank you. I know our listeners, I know are going to want you and to hear more from you again, and again. So hopefully, David Renaud, you will join us again. But, thank you so much for joining us for the very first show of disabled lives matter, and I just can't wait to tell your story more, and more, because I think the more, we do, the more people will realize that you, like everyone with a disability, your lives do matter in more ways than probably you even know. So thank you so much, have a great evening, and we will talk again soon, thank you.
David Renaud: Thank you Nadine, thank you Norma.
Norma Stanley: Thank you.
Nadine Vogel: Bye-bye.
Closing comment: [Music playing in background.] Thank you for listening to this week's episode of disabled lives matter. We look forward to seeing you next Thursday. Have a great week!
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