Cara Reedy: I'm a Disabled Media Passionista
CaraReedy is a journalist, an actor, a director and a photographer. She worked at CNN, NPR and co-produced and hosted a short documentary for The Guardian called "Dwarfism and Me,” which also featured one of our other favorite #Passionistas Selene Luna. These days Cara’s the Program Manager for Disability and Media Alliance Project, aka D-MAP. Her goal within her work in the media is to have disabled people control their own narratives. As she reminded us when we interviewed her, "There's so much talking being done by non-disabled people... Be quiet and listen."
Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Cara.
Passionistas: What is the one thing you're most passionate about?
Cara: Justice and equity because for so much of my life, I haven't really received a lot of that. So it's made me kind of fighting mad about it. Everything I do, I believe should further the cause for other people like me, because at some point we have to stop treating people, poorly black people, disabled people, like all of the cross sections that I inhabit. But more than that, once you start fighting in this space, it becomes more clear how much the system kind of keeps us down and it keeps everyone down. And I think that's what people don't really realize is that you may think that, okay, well, it's just the disabled people that are not doing well. It's like, no, when disabled people aren't doing well, we're all actually not doing well because the system is broken. That means that system's broken.
Passionistas: As people who don't have disabilities, what can we be doing to be better advocates and allies?
Cara: I think the biggest thing is listening. Cause there's so much, especially in the disability space, there's so much talking, being done by non-disabled people for us in particular because our agency has been taken away and it, you know, people are like, well, we have to give disabled people agency. It's like, no, they already have it. Like you just have to stop talking. I think that's the biggest thing, because some people will be like, I don't know what to do about the disabled people. Well, be quiet, like, and listen, because there's all these movements and things happening within the disability community. But no one knows about because no one's listening or they'll go to some organization that is not run by disabled people. Those people will like have ideas about what disabled people want and it maybe isn't maybe you going to them. It's probably not the best thing. And not to say that there's not advocates that are non-disabled, there's a lot of parents that are really good at it. But for this for a while, can we just listen to disabled people like truly listen to them.
Learn more about Cara on Instagram.
Learn more about the Disability Media Alliance Project (D-MAP).
Listen to Cara's complete episode of Passionistas Project Podcast.