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Disabled Lives Matter

Season 1, Episode 6

Co-Hosts: Nadine Vogel & Norma Stanley

Guest: Martha Anger

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: Hello, and welcome to today's episode of disabled lives matter, this is more than just a podcast, this is a movement, and we want you all our listeners to become a part, an active part of this movement I’m Nadine Vogel your co-host along with my co-host Norma Stanley, Norma, Say hello to everybody.

Norma Stanley: Hi everyone so glad to be here today.

Nadine Vogel: Yeah, and today we're joined by Martha Anger Martha is a deaf filmmaker and actor and actually, she's a jack of all trades. I've learned that she has talents, above and beyond, that most of us only wish we had.

Nadine Vogel: She also reminds me of me and that she has lived in I don't know, six, seven different states, every time I talk to someone, and I say where I am like when did you move there. So, Martha, you and I have a lot in common there. Let's just get started right on my first question Martha is, how has being a deaf media filmmaker professional impacted both your personal and your professional life.

[Martha typing response]

Nadine Vogel: And I know that’s a big question!

Martha Anger: I grew up always want to be a filmmaker because I wanna change the world through our lens and our deaf culture way of life. Also, I grew up have grassroots, but I gained more networking through my profession as a deaf media and filmmaker plus actor. I was born with duty. What does they impacted my life is that I share my story literally impacted others change their view of deaf world by working with me on film set or any field. We built a bridge to work together, learn and grow. Change their view and attitude on deaf and people with disabilities but what’s bonus for me that I am strong person, fearless full of life, not afraid to break through so many obstacles that is what made me strong and successful because I wouldn’t let anyone tell me no to my passion and dream.

Nadine Vogel: So, Martha it sounds like you're saying you grew up always wanting to be a filmmaker because you wanted to change the world through our lens of deaf culture and your way of life, I think that's really important you also saying that you grew up with you know from a grassroots perspective gaining more networking through your profession it's a definite media filmmaker and acting. And you know I think that's so important because so many of us when we're young don't know what we want to do in life and don't know you know who we want to be, and the fact that. You know you feel strongly and felt strongly about that from the beginning is really, really important um it also you know you're saying that would impacts your life is that you share your story literally as it impacts others. And you get to change others view of the world by working with you on a film set or in any field which, which I think it's so important because. You know we all want to leave a legacy right we all want to have impact in life in some way, shape or form, and I know you talk about that you build a bridge to work together to learn to grow and that's important. You know, at my company it's springboard We talk a lot about changing people's views and their attitudes you're doing that about people who are deaf and with disabilities in general.

Norma Stanley: Yeah, and I just have to say, this is Norma, you know I love. What we're learning just by getting to know Martha and the work that she does. More about the deaf Community it because we just had an opportunity to work with her at an event where she held a master class on def improv for an organization called show ability and that was a really interesting interaction between the people listening and it was on a zoom call, and you know they did skits and everything and we did have an interpreter to help out with that, but it was a lot of fun and that was something that was new to me So how do you, you know, in terms of accessibility. What challenges have you been able to overcome and what would you like to see more of technology is helping but is that enough.

[Martha typing response]

Nadine Vogel: While we wait for Martha to answer that I think what's really so important is that she considers herself and we obviously know that she is an extremely strong person, you know she's full of life she's fearless and she's not afraid to you know go break some ceilings. You know, with all the obstacles, I always say that people with disabilities are often even more successful because of the adversity, that you go through, and that you deal with. I know this is going to sound odd, but I often will say you know I wish adversity of different types on people when they're young. Cause it will help them learn, you know for the future right know, like you, like you say Martha no one's going to you know tell you what your passion or your dream is going to be about so in terms of what normal was asking what your thoughts are.

[Martha typing response]

Norma Stanley: This is a learning experience for all of us.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, and you know, we should tell our listeners Norma, that you know what we're doing today is really about accessibility and inclusivity. Because I want folks to know how we're doing this is utilizing not just captioning. But chat feature so because we don't have an interpreter on screen with us, and we are still communicating effectively and communicating in a way that everyone is comfortable. From Martha to Norman to myself and all of our listeners, and so I think this is an important lesson as well um you know it's always nice when it's not even intended, but to get to teach at the same time.

Norma Stanley: Absolutely teachable moment.

[Martha typing response]

Martha Anger: I just want everyone to treat us the same how we want to be treated… we don’t need their pity because they don’t understand being deaf or person with disabilities. Accessibility is very important for everyone anyway. The main problem with accessibility is related to ADA law, ablest work in ADA law that doesn’t have any PWD or Deaf person to work in that field to help to change the whole system to 100% equally accessible for all

Nadine Vogel: So, I think Martha, you know I, I agree with you so much, I just wanted to treat everyone the same have everyone be treated without pity right, and you know just understand that, just because you're deaf or you have a disability doesn't mean that you're less than in any way. That is so important, you know what I actually was being interviewed on a podcast earlier today about leadership and people with disabilities, not focused on being hired and higher did entry level jobs right but being leaders running the companies being the executives why aren't we talking more about that. And I think Martha to your point, you know that's because we look, we have bias, whether people want to admit it or not. They have by a bias turn into right it's a pity, and to oh poor Martha you know I need to help her and what we need to realize is that it's really more a barrier of thought. Right and a barrier, the action relative to thought, because if we're accessible and we provide accessibility and whatever way, that means we immediately remove those barriers right we put ourselves on equal footing. We talk a lot at Springboard about you know equality doesn't mean that you treat you know that you have to treat everyone exactly the same. Like you know we can provide captioning we can provide chat because at the end of the day, it's about giving everyone the same ability to be successful. Absolutely, because it's you know people talk a lot about diversity Martha's you are, you know, is its inclusion right and you're the perfect example of that So let me ask you this, I know that you've been involved with sign one news I believe you're an anchor there, which is so cool So what has that experience been like for you.

Martha Anger: different.

Nadine Vogel: different, very different, okay.

[Martha typing response]

Norma Stanley: I’ve got to say that I am now encouraged to learn sign, signing.

Nadine Vogel: There you go well you know the springboard team; we always had an annual offside team meeting and at one of our meetings we had someone come in and teach us sign language. I have to be honest that I don't remember much I barely get through English. But we did we did do it, but I, you know, while we're while we're talking about this, and while we're you know just waiting for Martha to respond, you know, one of the other things that she had said earlier that I’d like to share is that. You know, in her perspective, the main problem with accessibility is related to the ADA law.

Norma Stanley: uh huh.

Nadine Vogel: That it doesn't have you know that most ableist work in ADA law but don't have disabilities or someone who’s deaf who works in that field. There's a saying you know nothing about us without us.

Norma Stanley: That's right.

Martha Anger: experienced random roles. Me as an anchor, I’m supposed to stay neutral to deliver news. Without involving my personal bias. While as an actor, I memorize the script, acting on set and become someone else. So, News media I did a lot of report, asl gloss from English translation to ASL. News is more of reality experience for me, and I met so many important people in the news world and I also met important people in film.tv industry… wonderful experience

Nadine Vogel: And I think that Martha you know that's what you're really referring to and in order to ensure that we are 100% equally accessible again we have to be inclusive right everybody has been part of the conversation. And in terms in terms of the question of you know what it's like to be an anchor on sign one news, one of the things that Martha you indicated, is that news media and film and TV are all really different. We tend to lump them all together, but that they're really, really different as an anchor different role right you're supposed to stay neutral to deliver the news, just like we are you know here although I think opinions are expressed. But as a news anchor you know Martha you've been clear you have to not have personal bias. But when you're an actor memorize a script acting on screen and portraying someone else, so a news media, you know you do a lot of reporting. You have asl you know translation. But that news is more of a reality experience for you. And that so many really important, you know cool people that you get to interview, I mean it's like us right Norma you and I are interviewing Martha. Pretty interesting that you get to have these experiences because you're not my understanding is that you're actually not only an anchor you get to edit the shows and feature stories, which is totally cool and then I was really on your skill sets are amazing to me because I think you said you also shoot camera like a multimedia journalist ah, how do you do all that, I’m exhausted just hearing about all this.

[Martha typing response]

Martha Anger: I am not only anchor; I edit the show and feature stories for S1N Also I shoot camera like a multimedia journalist. most are reality job Acting and filmmaking is like my personal, my life story I wanna share to the world. I have ADHD so these jobs are perfect for me

Nadine Vogel: But I know it's important that you share your story with the world, and I, and I agree, I think that that's really important and Norma you and I have talked about this, you know sharing stories whether it's our personal it's our kids.

Nadine Vogel: Oh, Martha says she has ADHD, so all these jobs are perfect for her. I get it, I get it.

Norma Stanley: If I didn't know better, I would think you were like me, because you know we all have like 10 jobs and that's just the real deal we just, it's how we do our thing.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and it's so funny that you were just you know, making this motion of chop chop chop chop chop and at our office they tease me all the time and they do that cause I go from one thing to the next to the next.

Norma Stanley: multitasking that's what we do.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely. But Martha what do you think if you think about the deaf community and you think about accessibility. What issues, do you still encounter I would say, on a regular basis, you know generally and then or there's some things that you encounter more specifically in the entertainment industry.

[Martha typing response]

Martha Anger: Most common I have encountered relate with asl interpreters’ issue among with these entertainment industries Not 100% accessible. because that is where we are at deadlock because of ADA Law Wasn’t really clear and doesn’t really work for DA for 30 years. most common problem is with “financial” how to pay interpreter Who is responsible to pay for interpreter. me as client or the production company.

Voiceover: And now it’s time for a commercial break.

Voiceover: Welcome, welcome, welcome the Springboard Foundation is proud to extend scholarships to full-time undergraduate college or university students who have a documented disability of any type. Our scholarship recipients attend colleges and universities across the United States and are currently registered with the college or university disability services office. Please visit the springboard foundation website for additional information and the application.

Voiceover: And now back to our show.

Nadine Vogel: Norma, I'm assuming this doesn't surprise you, because it doesn't surprise me. That the most common that you've encountered, you know relate to accessibility. But, again, you know how do we get around this and she said that you know Martha you're pretty clear that nothing has been 100% accessible um. I'd like to ask a follow up question, if I may, because you say it's because the red dead wrong because of the Ada so when you say that what do you mean being at a deadlock due to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

[Martha typing response]

Nadine Vogel: And I, and I asked that question because I think many ada is you know oh my gosh fabulous all the things that people, and it has but obviously you know we've come a long way there's a lot more to do.

Martha Anger: Cause most private companies will not pay for interpreter while public companies that are required by ADA lawBut most experience I had was positive cause it’s depend on an Individual… I bust my ass fighting for access and educate them about ADA lawIt’s exhausting and frustrate because when they didn’t want to deal with asl interpreter cause they didn’t do enough research or hire deaf consulting service .. that’s how they ended up cast hearing actor playing deaf role

Norma Stanley: And she's talking about the paying for the interpreter people tend not to think to include interpreters in general it's not it doesn't come to mind as readily and that's something that companies need to understand that they need to probably pay more attention to.

Nadine Vogel: Right so, so, they'll say so, I think, Norma what you're saying is that the companies will say Okay, I get it, you need an ADA interpreter, a sign language interpreter that’s fine but we're not paying for it will just allow you to bring one in is that what is that what you're saying.

Norma Stanley: MH.

Nadine Vogel: that's you know I mean at Springboard we work with really large global corporations.

Norma Stanley: uh huh.

Nadine Vogel: And it's interesting because I have found for conferences for big events evenings if someone needs to send me which interpreter it's not an issue they certainly provide it, and they pay for it.

Norma Stanley: Right.

Nadine Vogel: But I think it's when one individual need something let's say for something like this. that the company might say, well, why are we paying for this for one person, instead of a big group that's what I’m hearing and that's really upsetting to me because this podcast is about disabled lives matter.

Norma Stanley: Facts.

Nadine Vogel: And if someone is not providing access so that Martha you can equally participate or equally you know. Successfully get a job, communicate, then what they're saying is disabled lives don't matter and, and this is the thing Norma, that you and I keep, we keep hearing.

Nadine Vogel: In every one of these episodes. Yeah, we just keep hearing it.

[Martha typing response]

Martha Anger: Our mental health is badDisabled Lives Matter!100% accessible.. 14th amendment been forgotten

Nadine Vogel: And Martha I, I agree, it has to be, it has to be exhausting.

Norma Stanley: Right, it definitely would impact your mental health.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and you know, the lack of understanding here, and I think that you're right the companies aren't willing to hire let's say like a springboard consulting right to come in and educate them and help them understand what's needed.

Norma Stanley: Yeah.

Nadine Vogel: And the other thing Martha that that I know that is very frustrating and I’ve heard this from many people in the entertainment industry is hiring in this case hearing actors playing someone who is deaf. I know that Marlee Matlin has spoken about this, many, many times right. And I think it goes beyond death, I mean across all disabilities and you know you like you said, the 14th amendment has been forgotten. And that's just that's just sad that that really is and what I don't understand is you know we've had these lessons throughout life. For different groups different minority groups and we haven't learned whether it's women or its people of color right, you would think.

Martha Anger: Black and POC face Systemic racism and we face Systemic oppression

Norma Stanley: They’re not paying attention. And I wonder if it sometimes comes down to, do they really care right, you know, like you, saying, do they really think these various communities matter it's sometimes it always comes down to the you know I guess the money and it's sometimes having to go past just being able to make money.

Nadine Vogel: And your right Martha you know people who are black and other communities face systemic racism and then the disability Community you're facing systemic oppression. Right, I hear you, we hear you. I want the world to hear you, hear what you have to say.

Nadine Vogel: So, let's switch gears a little bit and instead of talking about you know the change instead of talking about what has been going on and what's not so good. What would you say, are the opportunities that you see opening up, let's talk about the flip side of it.

[Martha typing response]

Martha Anger: Good news, the more opportunities been opening up

Norma Stanley: Well, that's a good thing, there are more opportunities opening up.

Nadine Vogel: Yay! I always feel that way that when we talk about some of what I call the bad and the ugly right, the things that aren't going so well there's almost always a flip side of things that are going well.

Norma Stanley: And you have to live with them, sometimes, but they do exist.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and normal you and I as parents of adults with disabilities, we know that all too well don’t we.

Norma Stanley: Absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: And sometimes it's exhausting having to look for that.

Norma Stanley: Yes. But that's what keeps you sane too because thing on the positive rather than you know what you can do rather than what you can't do that helps you get through the day and helps you and your children maximize their potential, at the same time.

Martha Anger: Because the Hollywood and Netflix industry started to hire Deaf consulting service or PWD consulting service to work with them on set to help bring out authentic representation on screen

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely and Martha your right, I’m so glad that you brought up Netflix because Netflix just committed, pledged 100 million dollars to issues related to people with disabilities on screen. And I believe they have hired some consultants to help them with some of this work and bring out. You know what Martha what you refer to as authentic representation.

Norma Stanley: Yep.

Nadine Vogel: And we were having this conversation I think Norma, was it with, we were talking to David Renaud from the good doctor.

Norma Stanley: Yes.

Nadine Vogel: We were talking about the same thing authentic representation, and what that really means. But you know what’s interesting is that when someone is deaf like you are Martha it's you know someone's going to know right not to look at you, but once they start communicating, they will know. But what we find interesting is sometimes with a disability, unless you stated, the person really doesn't know and then we find individuals are fearing if they should talk about it or not, and how to talk about it, and you know will that hurt me will that help me. What are your thoughts with that?

[Martha Typing Response]

Nadine Vogel: As you take a really deep breath. Right, if you do it, someone’s going to bite you in the behind is basically what you’re saying. And I think a lot of people are really concerned about that.

Norma Stanley: Yeah. I think that's happening in a lot of companies also with some people they don't self-identify as a person with disabilities, because they may think it may impact their jobs

Nadine Vogel: Right, right, absolutely, and you know the good news is that you know, at an organization like a Netflix it’s not which is great, and we can use them as a model. But nonetheless it's not an easy you know goes back Martha to what you said earlier it's exhausting. Right, it's exhausting to have to work at it so hard, because it takes away from your work as an anchor it takes away from the time and energy you can spend on acting. And I think people need to pay attention to that I think that's really, really important.

[Martha Typing Response]

Nadine Vogel: Poor Martha her hands are going to fall out at the end of this.

Martha Anger: Generally, they shouldn’t fear us, we would be more appreciated when they reach out to us for consulting, immerse into learn our culture and community to help them to connect and develop a bridge to create more opportunities, more understanding, be patient, educate, they need research, reach out to the community.. that will start somewhere that will lead to open opportunity for ALL

Nadine Vogel: I just know at the end of the day of typing on a computer all day long my fingers and my hands are killing me and we’re asking you to do this fast and furious. So um and I think you're right, you know Norma I mean we see this all the time right, Martha is saying that people shouldn't fear, people with disabilities.

Norma Stanley: Right. I know and that's a challenge and it's an educational situation it's a sensitivity situation and it's you know. it's the cost of situation, I mean why can't we all just get along.

Martha Anger: Absolutely.

Norma Stanley: Exactly.

Nadine Vogel: No, it's just sad and you know, you can preach, people have to be willing to educate themselves, they have to be willing to embrace difference because difference like we said earlier doesn't mean less than. They need to be willing to be patient which people are not today, everything is multitasking and running. And I think we have to; we have to reduce this fear of just directly engaging and talking to people with disabilities. And you know, like Martha asking you, you know, we should tell everyone at the beginning of the podcast we asked Martha, what is the best way for communication, how would you like to do this it wasn't well here's how we do it if you can't do it then sorry, we can't interview you. it's about understanding what you want, as someone who’s deaf and what you need to get your message across, just like anybody, we would interview. And to do it in a way that's respectful right that provides you know, dignity and respect throughout the entire process, and that should not be something that we fear to me that's just that should just be part of the human condition, I mean my goodness.

Norma Stanley: Exactly. Should be running to it and not away from it.

Nadine Vogel: Exactly, exactly I mean I don't mean to minimize it in any way, but really. People are people are people. My goodness. So, let's ask this Martha, if we had the ability to put you in front of 10 corporate CEOs. Entertainment industry, automotive industry, it doesn't matter. What would you what tips would you give them to better connect with people in the deaf community either as employees or as customers or both.

[Martha Typing Response]

Nadine Vogel: So, just to share with everyone as Martha was getting ready to type again her poor fingers are so tired. She kind of wiggled her fingers and kind of stretches them as if we’re watching a pianist. Right, you ever see that what a pianist does before they go into. And I’m a piano player, so I pick up on that.

Norma Stanley: Okay.

Nadine Vogel: And no, I'm not going to play piano on screen.

Nadine Vogel: You know Norma, what would be really cool one day. As I’m saying I’m not going to play piano on screen. I think it would be really cool, and you and you know these individuals more than I do, to bring together some musical performers.

Norma Stanley: Sure.

Nadine Vogel: Who have disabilities and we can interview them a little bit but let them perform on the podcast how cool would that be.

Norma Stanley: That would be very cool. Absolutely.

Nadine Vogel: Right, let’s do that, I hope I hope our listeners, you know if you're listening to this podcast and you like that idea let us know, tell us, because we want to hear from you, because you know I might think it's a good idea, Norma might think it’s a good idea, but we want to make sure you think it’s a good idea. As we’re talking about that though, one of Martha’s first tips to our imaginary CEOs.

Martha Anger: To provide them an access to learn about me.. it would be ALOT EASIER if they hire ASL interpreter to save a lot of time Because in the entertainment/film tv world.. time is money As for the employers— They need to focus on our TALENT not our disabilityThey need to meet us halfway

Nadine Vogel: She says, first of all, as deaf people or individuals when we stand in front of 10 CEOs, we're not a group, but rather we are 10 individual people. I think that's really important. Right, I’ll bring my paper and pen ready or type in my mobile I’ll be prepared I’ll bring my press kit package and hand but I'm an individual doing that and that's really important, because often companies will lump everyone with disabilities together as a group right, but as Martha says, you know she's going to come over prepare.

Norma Stanley: Mhm.

Nadine Vogel: So, another tip, is to provide them access to give people in your company access to learn about the deaf community. Obviously, it would be a lot easier if they hire an asl interpreter and it's saves a lot of time. But we have to remember that it’s really important like we said earlier right, it's really important to educate entertainment film TV film and TV world time is money. Right, I mean time is money anytime and from an employee standpoint Martha’s asking that you focus on their talent. Not the disability right let's find a way to meet halfway. Because Norma, you and I have talked about this right companies are looking for top talent for innovative talent. For talent that's going to stay right, you know that’s not going to leave after six months. It shouldn’t matter if that talent speaks with their hands, they transport on wheels right. It shouldn't matter at the end of the day, what matters is that Martha is an amazing actress she's an amazing actor she's an amazing anchor on TV right that's what we want, we want amazing people, it shouldn’t matter how they come to us what form they come to us in. And I think from Martha’s point is that if CEOs will embrace that then they're really saying is that disabled lives do matter and especially so at their companies.

Norma Stanley: And I hope to see more companies embracing that concept and that whole reality, because it just has to and just like the African American Community or any of the other community, they're not a moralist their individual situations everybody is a little different same thing with the deaf community in the game has been community all of these communities, and we have to embrace the differences and see how they make everything better.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely, absolutely.

Martha Anger: It is ok to discuss uncomfortable conversation so that way we can grow and learn. Also, I wanna add that the employers need focus on our talent not disabilities. when HIRED then we can move forward to next step with “accommodation”

Nadine Vogel: Oh, my goodness, this has been so amazing, Martha I wanted to thank you so very much for joining us today on this podcast this movement of disabled lives matter, I can tell you that, at least for me this conversation is going to impact people in ways that I think they're not ready for but they didn't think they'd be impacted. Right, because just by sheer fact that we did this podcast in the way we did it. I think says a lot and shows illustrates clearly that accessibility can be done, it can be done in many ways, it can be done in the moment and be really successful for everyone so with that I just want to say again, thank you Martha, we wish you the very best of luck in all of your roles your many, many roles, this is Nadine Vogel, co-host of disabled lives matter. And Norma, thank you for being my co-host.

Norma Stanley: Thank you and I look forward to the next show you have a great week.

Nadine Vogel: Absolutely bye-bye everybody.

Norma Stanley: Bye bye.

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52 episodes