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Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán

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    I'm Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán.
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    I am, my day job is the
    Senior Policy Manager at AIDS United.
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    We work to end the HIV epidemic.
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    And I would say I am
    a disability advocate at heart
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    because of my own
    mental health disabilities,
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    and I bring that throughout my entire life
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    to try to push disability world
    into one that is inclusive
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    of all mental health
    and developmental disabilities,
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    not just the photogenic disabilities.
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    I was a year old when the ADA passed.
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    I am 31 years old, and we're celebrating
    the 30th anniversary.
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    So I have no memory, I grew up with it.
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    My first memory of the ADA was my mother,
    who was diabetic,
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    getting, talking about accommodations
    at her work to store insulin
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    in the work fridge, along those lines.
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    And I remember her talking about
    this new thing called the ADA.
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    You know how people talk
    about work at home.
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    But the ADA, I would say,
    I had my own mental conception
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    of what is a disabled person
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    until I myself was dealing with the,
    "I feel different,"
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    both because of my being trans,
    because of my mental health,
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    and eventually dealing with it and getting
    treatment when I was in law school,
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    which I don't- Law school is always an
    interesting experience in and of itself.
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    It's a three-year hazing ritual.
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    But I would say one of the things
    that motivate me in disability
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    is seeing just how much-
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    In disability, we often treat people
    as either poor things of pity
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    or as scary and need
    to be locked away, basically.
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    Often, with physical disabilities,
    it's the object of pity.
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    With mental health disabilities,
    it's the scary, let's lock them away,
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    why are they allowing those people
    out in the community?
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    And, having seen that,
    having been scared of it,
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    having been worried about my career
    if I were out,
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    which says a lot as a trans person
    being worried about being out
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    as someone with
    a mental health disability,
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    I don't think, I mean,
    I think we need to fundamentally alter
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    how society sees what is normal
    and not normal,
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    and how that works as far as
    being inclusive of all disabilities.
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    I would say that one of the things
    that impact me the most
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    was, for example, when I got out
    of law school.
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    In law school, I received accommodations
    right as I was about to graduate
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    and help from the Assistant Dean
    of Students, Sherry Abbott, at the time,
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    because I was pretty much experiencing
    a lot of problems
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    that were related to my disability.
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    And that probably wouldn't have
    been possible without the ADA,
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    without the spirit of it.
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    And later, when I started my career,
    a few months later, actually,
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    I joined as a Schedule A hire
    in the US Department of Labor.
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    If it weren't for the initiative
    at the federal government
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    that was partially inspired by the ADA
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    to make sure that people with disabilities
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    are hired by the federal government,
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    then maybe I wouldn't have started
    in civil rights in DC when I did.
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    So it has made a difference for me
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    in receiving accommodations
    at the jobs I've had and so forth.
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    So it is a question of how do we-
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    We already have a whole generation
    like myself,
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    who are in our early 30s and our 20s,
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    all the millennials and zoomers,
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    that don't remember the dark days
    before the ADA.
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    But we can't just coast on the,
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    "Yay, we did the ADA,
    now let's all go home and party,"
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    because there is so much more
    work to be done, basically.
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    People with disabilities are still
    routinely having to fight for their rights
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    under the ADA to be solved.
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    If we went around DC spotting
    architectural barriers,
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    we could spot a dozen
    in a single mile radius.
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    And that is a problem,
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    and this is especially true,
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    I like to talk about the sexy
    versus the non-sexy disabilities,
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    when we talk about disability,
    people often get this
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    inspiration porn mental image
    of the photogenic person in a wheelchair,
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    extra bonus points
    if they're straight and white,
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    but don't want to talk,
    and exclude from the picture,
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    from that pretty group picture,
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    the person who stutters,
    the person who has chronic pain
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    and can't work because of it,
    the person with mental health disabilities
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    who has had psychosis
    or other experiences like that.
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    I mean, when we talk about mental health,
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    we try and end the stigma
    and other such calls for action,
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    we often focus on the idea of,
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    let's talk about the people
    who were depressed
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    and took some Prozac and got better,
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    but don't want to talk about people
    who are in long-term institutions,
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    about people who experience psychosis,
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    about people who experience
    bipolar disorder, and so forth.
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    And we need to be clear that it's all
    disabled people that matter, basically,
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    at the risk of sounding
    All Lives Matter-ish,
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    not just those we like the most.
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    I would say, fundamentally,
    there needs to be a change
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    in how federal law treats people
    with mental health disabilities.
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    We need to fundamentally
    end institutionalization.
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    We need to include
    universal health coverage,
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    because people shouldn't be relying
    on having a job
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    to have access to affordable healthcare.
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    And I am also thinking, as a major change,
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    the fundamental idea that people
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    with mental health
    and developmental disabilities
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    have rights in general.
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    Fundamentally change the culture
    and also call in people.
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    I like to tell people,
    "Use your privilege."
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    Kind of like how they put the signs
    on the metro and the New York subway
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    that say, "If you see something,
    say something."
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    It applies here.
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    If you see something ableist, say it.
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    Don't wait till someone with a disability,
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    who's exhausted of having to fight
    for themselves, has to say it.
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    When people bring it up,
    evaluate and help them. Be an ally.
标题:
Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán
Video Language:
English
Team:
ABILITY Magazine
Duration:
07:16

English subtitles

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