Julie and Torin have been replaced! Join us for the NDEAM CATK Disability Takeover!
This week, Dr. Yvette Pegues, Executive at Your Invisible DisAbility Group, jumps in as the FIRST CATK NDEAM Disability Takeover. She brings her story, expertise and a couple of special guests to this first of its kind CATK Takeover! A special take on Crazy and the King this week and all month!
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0:00:01.0 Speaker 1: We've been about this work: Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, shared through the voices of a white woman and a black man, we bring lived experiences. We have pursued the anti-progress for most of our professional lives. We use Crazy and The King to cover news, tips from colleagues and host incredible guests. Listeners count on Julie and I to transparently drive the conversation. We thank you for rocking with us. Check it. Julie, kick off the show.
0:00:33.4 Yvette Pegues: It's a takeover. My name is Dr. Yvette Pegues, and there will not be a Julie or a Torin today, so have some grace with us because this is actually the first Crazy and The King takeover, so if that's not crazy, I don't know what is. We have Ethan Stone on the line and we have Dr. Helen Dowdell. We only have her for a few minutes, so we're gonna spend a few minutes talking about her greatness and her area of genius, and so without further ado let's introduce ourselves. Dr. Dowdell, will you introduce yourself, please?
0:01:11.3 Helen Dowdell: Yes, thank you for having me, Dr. Yvette Pegues. I'm so happy to join you and Ethan today. My name is Helen Dowdell, and I am the president of Mobility Unlimited Technology Worldwide. Inventor and founder of Wheeldestrian. What our organization does is pretty simple but it's complex. Right? So each year in the United States, about 5000 pedestrians in and out of wheelchairs are killed, another 76,000 are injured in crashes on the public roads according to the government data. Pretty appalling. Right?
0:01:48.4 Yvette Pegues: It is.
0:01:50.7 Helen Dowdell: I know. But from this data they estimated about 528 pedestrians using wheelchairs or what we call wheeldestrians were killed in traffic collisions between 2006 and 2012, so at that rate that's about 39% higher than that for other pedestrians. We can talk a little bit more about that in a few minutes and what solutions that we have pulled together in order to make it a safe place for everyone.
0:02:18.0 Yvette Pegues: Thank you for those stats, and I know you've worked really hard in getting those numbers, and they are absolutely appalling. I'd love to hear more about that. Ethan, if you'll just introduce yourself for us, please?
0:02:29.3 Ethan Stone: Yes thank you for having me on the show. I'm excited to be here. Again, my name is Ethan Stone. I am the general manager of MobilityWorks in Hawthorne, California, a store newly opened in February of this year, actually right on Valentine's Day ironically. So we are the nation's leading wheelchair-accessible vehicle dealer. We sell, service, and rent these vehicles helping individuals with disabilities. I had the honor to be asked to open this store when it newly opened because we had no geographical footprint in this area. I was recently the general manager in our Pasadena store, and they reached out to me to open this store as it came open, so I'm excited for the opportunity to serve the community, and it's just an amazing experience. I've been with the company almost seven years now. I started out as a salesperson and worked my way up to a general manager position all by the grace of God.
0:03:39.7 Yvette Pegues: Congratulations.
0:03:39.8 Ethan Stone: Thank you. Thank you.
0:03:40.2 Yvette Pegues: Yeah. Congratulations. And I wanna circle back just a little bit. Just in case you haven't noticed, the topic for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is recognized in October, and we are also recognizing it on this session, so this takeover is gonna focus on the largest people group in the world, and it's the largest minority group. And because it's National Disability Employment Awareness month, we wanted to just not focus on it but speak to it from a position where you may not have heard some of the things we're gonna talk about, so thank you both for introducing yourselves.
0:04:16.9 Yvette Pegues: I will briefly tell you a little bit about me. I'm Dr. Yvette Pegues, and I am the founder and chief diversity officer for Your Invisible Disability Group. It was created to educate, to advocate, and to empower individuals with disabilities so that they can be included in the marketplace, the workplace, and education. Now, it wasn't an easy task, it wasn't something that I had planned, it was something that became my life's work after suffering a traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, and I've had the awesome pleasure to work with both of these professionals within some of the work that I'm doing around the world. So I'm really excited about having this, and in addition to having them on this call they will be in the Disability Issue of Black Family Magazine, which is opening up October 20th, so we're so excited to be able to feature them, so whatever you don't hear here you'll be able to read about, and we'll make sure you have access.
0:05:22.5 Yvette Pegues: So if the two of you don't mind, we've done a little bit about the articles that we have discussed. I think I will just say, as a disability and inclusion officer, that I recently ran across a Harvard Business Review article that states, "Even the most aggressive companies with DEI incentives, which is diversity, equity, and inclusion, only 4% of them include disability in their diversity work." So that means we're talking about diversity but we're not talking about disability, and we all know if you think about it, that there really is no diversity if everyone is not included, which is in this case, individuals with disabilities, both visible and invisible. So that is the article that I wanted to share with everyone. It is an HBR article, so you can look up Harvard Business Review and see a little bit more about what they've talked about. Ethan, did you wanna share an article about the work that you're doing at MobilityWorks?
0:06:25.1 Ethan Stone: Yes, I actually found one that was connected to an issue with transportation as it comes to individuals with disabilities, and it was from Learning Disability Today. It led off by a story of a recent situation where a woman flew into an airport in Gatwick and she had made arrangements two months in advance so that she could have the assistance she needed to get off of the plane when it landed. She was paralyzed from the neck down. She was unable to use her arms or legs, so she made it clear that she needed that assistance. Upon landing, she was stranded on the plane for an hour and 35 minutes with nobody available to come to her assistance. And it just rings loudly across the nation right now that this article brought that up, so it really hit home for me in terms of what I do now because I strive to really help individuals with their transportation challenges, whatever it may be in the little bit that I'm able to do, so that really spoke to me.
0:07:38.0 Yvette Pegues: Thank you for sharing that. You do great things at MobilityWorks. My very first accessible vehicle was purchased at MobilityWorks, but because I live in Atlanta, it wasn't purchased in California, but transportation is end to end. It's getting from the upstairs to the downstairs, getting from your garage to your vehicle. It also includes public transportation and air travel. And one of the big three, as you mentioned, Ethan, is transportation, medical, and work, so as we talk about Disability Inclusion Awareness Month in the workplace and the work that we do, which may not look like work that you've seen, I think that's so important. And thank you for bringing that up. So we're gonna take a pause right now for a break and thanking those who are supporting this podcast.
0:08:34.4 Yvette Pegues: Okay, welcome back. We've missed you and we have so much more to share with you. Dr. Dowdell, will you take the lead in telling us a little bit about how you even began this journey?
0:08:54.0 Helen Dowdell: Thank you for asking me that. That's a great question. So several years ago, I was working in the legal field, and right around the corner from my office, a young man was struck in the middle of a cross-walk by a city dump truck driver. That young man, once he was struck, the driver was unaware that someone was pinned underneath his vehicle. I felt that was a very horrific way to transition and I could not stop thinking about it to the extent I immediately went into solution mode, and I believe it was divinity, God gave me an idea and I thought I would share it with the city that I was in at the time, and one thing led to another and we ended up developing some technology that could assist individuals who have use of mobility aids in order to travel, and not just to hospital appointments or to something required but something that was needed in the infrastructure so someone can pursue what I call life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But in order for that to occur, we need equity, and before we have equity, we need accountability, and that accountability will allow people to know, "Hey listen, this is what we've done in infrastructure." Science and technology and medicine have far outpaced our infrastructure, and that's okay, but what can we do right now to make a change, make a difference, and to reduce these fatalities and alleviate them completely?
0:10:32.5 Yvette Pegues: So how does that look? Tell us what this technology looks like and what it changes?
0:10:40.3 Helen Dowdell: So the technology are signalized intersections that integrate the international symbol for accessibility. One of the things that I've done in research and development, we utilize symbols. Symbols are synonymous with a lot of different things in our society, they tell us when to stop, they tell us when to go, so recognizing that there is a symbol that represents the population of individuals that are going to continue to grow. Four out of six people will develop some sort of disability over the course of their lifetime, and we also know the population of independent travelers with visual impairments who cross the streets now include people with additional considerations such as the elderly population with additional considerations like children and people with cognitive and mobility and hearing disabilities to visual impairment, so that requires an adaptation to increase the technology and street-crossing techniques. And how do you do that? Equity. So if you have a signal for someone who is standing and walking, you need one for someone who is synonymous with the disability community or the international symbol for accessibility. And those studies are from the Journal of Visual Impairments and Blindness, so go ahead.
0:12:03.2 Yvette Pegues: So first of all, you're changing crossing, wheeldestrian, as you call it, like history. Am I hearing right, that you're going to change the crossing signals as we have known it for at least 100 years?
0:12:26.6 Helen Dowdell: The way you say it, it's fascinating, but yes. But we took this on one intersection at a time originally, but this is something that is life-changing. That's going to be life-changing for a lot of people. I founded this company with my father who was a veteran, he's disabled, he recently transitioned, and it wasn't related to a crosswalk accident, but however, he recently transitioned. And one of the things that he would say all the time is, "Accessibility is a human right." So when you approach a crosswalk or any access point, not just to doctor's appointments or to the medical necessities or to a court but you deserve, and it is our duty to make sure that everyone is included. Not only does our technology protect wheelchair users or what we've deemed as wheeldestrians, but we also protect the blind community. It's an opportunity that everyone can have to be acknowledged and to take up space and be present. Right now, we live in a society that has taken that population... People haven't seen them.
0:13:41.7 Helen Dowdell: I work with a lot of different municipalities and cities and mayors and all sorts of officials, and they're actually doing a great job, but when we have a situation that has occurred in our history such as this where we've fragmented this population that belongs in the environment, that belongs in society, that are paying full price for a fraction of what they receive, then we have to address it, and I always say, "We don't have a workforce issue, we have an access issue." So we have a lot of people who are employable that need access. So just imagine, if we had accessible places, and I have a lot of great companies, one in particular I won't name right now, but I'm going to speak to in a couple of months when I return back from South Africa, and they're working on changing their workplace. And that's a real solution and it's a real answer for it.
0:14:43.6 Yvette Pegues: Wow. We won't keep you since we know that you will be leaving the country but I just want a little bit of clarity around the actual change. And correct me if I'm speaking out of turn, but am I understanding that not only will there be the universal sign for individuals with disabilities but there'll also be extra time for someone like me in a wheelchair to get from one side of the street to the other?
0:15:14.3 Helen Dowdell: Absolutely, so we work with each individual municipality and also it's a lot of... Once we do an assessment of an area, then we make a determination how much time. A lot of people associate someone using a wheelchair or a mobility aid with diminished capacity, and that's not really the case. They don't coincide, they don't go hand in hand. So the idea is, take an assessment of any individual area and then determine if someone needs additional time. A lot of times in our studies, believe it or not, we haven't had much of a time issue with our independent travelers, especially those who are pretty experienced, but there have been cases where people have needed additional time, and in those cases we do integrate with the timing cycle and make those recommendations to create those changes.
0:16:05.6 Yvette Pegues: Okay, so is this a separate button that I push as a wheeldestrian when I'm crossing a major intersection?
0:16:14.2 Helen Dowdell: Without going too much into the design frame, it won't be a separate button per se, it'd be integrated into the existing accessible push-button system.
0:16:27.5 Yvette Pegues: My mind is blown. And Ethan, I see your excitement and amazement. I'm gonna just leave a little room for you to ask a question, if you will.
0:16:41.5 Ethan Stone: It's just amazing what you've come up with. The ideas that you have, the insight, because I think about the clients that I serve, that I have the honor to serve and all of the frustrations and concerns that they share with me, and the fact that you're bringing it up about something as crossing the street. Not many people think of that but you made a comment in a previous conversation that if somebody's pulling up to a crosswalk and they can't see the individual over their dashboard, that signal would designate that there's somebody with a disability that may be crossing the street, so to be alert. And I think that's huge and I think it speaks volumes to, like you said, just a fraction of the concerns that are happening worldwide, so I commend you and honor you for the work you're doing. I don't necessarily have a question. Like Dr. Yvette said, my mind is just blown. I'm just like... I just want to see what's coming. I personally wanna see the look on people's faces when they see you walk through the door about the changes you're making. I just had to throw that in.
0:17:55.7 Helen Dowdell: It's been pretty interesting, and I always start conversations with some neutralizing statements because a lot of times in our infrastructure, our engineers, they're trained a certain way, and honestly they're doing the best they can. I always come in and say things that neutralize everybody so that we won't have a lot of static. We're not coming into the existing infrastructure like a Tasmanian Devil with the TNT ready to dismantle things. We are like, "Boom!" I'm not the Tasmanian devil. We've had a lot of research, a lot of development, and we've been able to safely do this without blowing things up, and that's something too that I'm most proud of, the fact that we spend a lot of time in research and development and human-centered design.
0:18:51.7 Helen Dowdell: Now, don't get me wrong, it was a hard push when you talk about accessibility to able-bodied people and you're combating ableism and different mindsets, and when you know that that's just a preset and that you have the capacity to influence the change or transition into something greater, evolution, where we are as a society, then you can present that as an option and it's well received. But like I said, everyone's doing the best they can. Typically when I present what we're doing, I don't necessarily ask for permission. I feel like this is a God-given gift, that this is part of purpose and destiny, and a lot of times when we come in and I present, we don't have a difficult time with people understanding, "Hey, I don't want my loved one's body wrapped around the axle of a vehicle because someone didn't see them." I want my son and my daughter, who's a wheeldestrian, to be able to go to college. I want them to be able to meet up with their friends for coffee or for dinner. I want our veterans who have fought for our country and have put their lives on the line and who have returned home to be able to pursue a life with their families in a safe way. We want them acknowledged, we want them protected, we want them to take up space in this world that we all share. We're all in this together.
0:20:15.5 Yvette Pegues: I want to personally thank you because I'm a wheelchair user, and thanks to your trademark wording around wheeldestrian 'cause if you think about it, pedestrian means feet, right? And so in your genius, you created this word that speaks volumes. And for all of what you're doing, I want to personally thank you for myself and the many who will never know the work, the effort and the passion that you've put behind something that should have traumatized you and left you in that space, but instead catapulted you into a stratosphere that has not even been looked at in a century, if you will.
0:21:02.4 Yvette Pegues: So I just want to thank you and I want you to hear my sincere gratitude for the work that you're doing, because as a woman of color doing it in this day in time and in that industry, I know it cannot be easy, but you have my prayers, you have my support, and you have my gratitude, so I will need to take a break here for just a moment, and we're gonna move into a Her Voice segment, during which time I believe you can take a few minutes if you need to collect yourself, Dr. Dowdell, so that you can make this incredible trip on the other side of the world.
0:21:42.4 Helen Dowdell: I appreciate it. Thank you so much for engaging. I know you gotta take a break but we really appreciate this opportunity. And, Ethan, I commend you as well on the outstanding work that you're doing, and you as well, Dr. Pegues.
0:21:57.6 Yvette Pegues: Thank you. We're gonna deep dive into what Ethan does shortly, but yes, let's take a moment for this break.
0:22:07.3 Helen Dowdell: Okay, yeah, I'm gonna have to wrap up, and you guys, excuse me. I would like to be fabulous like you with... But I didn't have time to put on hair color and glaze.
0:22:16.2 Yvette Pegues: No one's gonna see me.
0:22:19.6 Yvette Pegues: No one's gonna see me. Well, have a safe flight, and I look forward to reconnecting when you return.
0:22:21.4 Ethan Stone: Yes. Fly safe. Thank you for the work that you do.
0:22:26.5 Yvette Pegues: So, Ethan, I wanna just focus on you for a little bit, so we can talk about what you do and I'll segment into carpooling, so talk a little bit about MobilityWorks, and I'm gonna transition in as well. Is that okay? All right.
0:22:46.0 Yvette Pegues: And we're back. I am still like flabbergasted by Dr. Dowdell's contribution to the world, and again, there will be more information in the Black Family Magazine issue coming out for the first time with a disability focus October the 20th. I don't wanna make this about me but that is also my birthday, and the other thing, Ethan, I don't know if you knew this, but it's Hispanic... All right, cut here. What is it again? What's it called?
0:23:23.1 Ethan Stone: Hispanic Heritage Month.
0:23:24.6 Yvette Pegues: Okay, yeah. So I don't know if you knew this, Ethan, but it's Hispanic Heritage Month, and your wife is of Hispanic descent and I am also of Hispanic descent. Both of my parents are immigrants. My mother's Dominican, my father is Haitian, so this acknowledgement means a lot to me, as much as it does I'm sure to your family, so I don't know if you knew that we had that in common, but with that said, I'd love, love to transition into what you're doing with your family that has been making a pretty big wave in the community of faith. Can you tell me about that?
0:24:11.8 Ethan Stone: Well, I wanna start by saying I did not know you were of Hispanic descent, so could have had me fooled, but yes, that is good. No, that's awesome, and yes, my wife is of Hispanic descent, and it's awesome to just learn more about the culture as well, and I've had the honor to... Our oldest daughter, she just turned 15, so she had a quinceañera.
0:24:39.2 Yvette Pegues: Quinceañera. Nice.
0:24:42.5 Ethan Stone: Yeah, so we traveled to Mexico previously to celebrate that. My mother-in-law put it all together, so it was an amazing experience, and she's actually my step-daughter but she asked me to take part in the father-daughter dance, and man...
0:25:03.6 Yvette Pegues: Tear. Tears.
0:25:06.4 Ethan Stone: It just blew my mind. I'm not gonna get into that 'cause I'm gonna start crying. Not good right now, so.
0:25:11.1 Yvette Pegues: But I love that you're also in a marriage together and in business together. Do you mind if we recap?
0:25:17.7 Ethan Stone: Yes, about almost three months ago we started a faith-based clothing brand called Carpool Lane with Jesus. And...
0:25:28.2 Yvette Pegues: Tell me about how you came up with that name and what you offer?
0:25:33.4 Ethan Stone: So it's mine and our testimony wrapped up in it, while also spreading the word of God to whoever comes into encounter with the brand. It started off actually... I run a small group, Bible study for men, and just a conversation after Bible study one night, someone was asking me about my testimony, and I shared with them that going through a challenging part of my life before meeting my wife, I drove a lot for work, and I would still commute, hour here, hour there for work while still going through these things, and to go through those seasons of life of not having a lot of hope, not knowing where things would lead, holding on to that little mustard seed of faith, I would still listen to preachings and teachings, and I would fight to get prayer in on the road.
0:26:35.6 Ethan Stone: And out of that, something stirred up in me, and lo and behold, led to this conversation, and he made a comment, "Too bad you couldn't jump in the carpool lane in all this driving that you did," and I thought, I said, "Yeah." I said, "Yeah, too bad I couldn't." I went home that night, and as I was driving, something just came, something rose up in me, and the name just all blended together, Carpool Lane with Jesus, and it really just so well blends the testimony altogether.
0:27:13.7 Ethan Stone: And we now have a website. We offer many different apparels and items, and every item has, whether it's a different design, different logo on it, every item has a Bible scripture on the back, and each scripture was specifically chosen that I received during prayer or during a teaching message. I felt God tell me, "Use that one. Use that one. Use that one." So every design has a title. It's made for a reason.
0:27:50.3 Yvette Pegues: And the reason is incredible. If nothing else, I feel like this blessing that was shared with you and that proliferated through your entire family is now something you're sharing with others, and this is so important, this month because work looks different for everyone, and so I know this clothing line and apparel may not feel like work, but it is a way that you work through and with your faith, and I do feel like spiritual intelligence just like emotional intelligence and some of the other things that have been included in the workplace is starting to get a lot of attention.
0:28:34.3 Yvette Pegues: Post-COVID, our faith was something that so many people needed to hold on to because of depression, because of being in a world that was changing everywhere, because of the isolation. It was one of the first times in history that the workplace even allowed that type of connection because, what do they say? You can't talk about what two things at work?
0:29:03.7 Ethan Stone: Religion...
0:29:03.8 Yvette Pegues: Religion...
0:29:04.1 Ethan Stone: Politics.
0:29:05.2 Yvette Pegues: And politics, but ironically, that transition blended with our re-entry into the workplace, so even though emotional intelligence has always been there, executive function has always been there, the fact that spiritual intelligence was added even without planning, and allowing people to go into prayer rooms and to have Bible study in the workplace was something that I don't believe has ever happened in history. So to hear that you have taken this to the next level, and I've seen pictures of you and your wife with the apparel and your beautiful children, I am just so excited that you were brave enough to be able to not just do this, but to share it with the world. And I know there's a little intersection there between your clothing line, your experience at MobilityWorks, and who you are as a man of faith. Do you mind taking just a minute to help us tie that all together, Ethan?
0:30:10.2 Ethan Stone: Yes, well, so my journey with MobilityWorks, I've been here almost seven years now, and I've been through many transitions in the company. Where I grew up and my early childhood, I didn't see in the future that I would be in management. I didn't see that I would have my name on something as a business owner, and to see those things, it just sends out so many lights in my brain, just that it was possible, that it could happen. And I meet different people through work and just everyday life that see what I'm doing, and I have nothing but to say that it's all by the grace of God, because as you were mentioning those things about COVID and the challenges that people faced, I also faced those challenges, and to see how by faith I was able to be carried through that into where I am now, to where this brand was released with my wife, co-owners in the business. Our children see what we're doing. I'm like, "Man, don't get me started." It is just amazing to see, going through life and even through decisions that we make or that we're faced with, I've lost a lot and given a lot away even by poor decisions, but to see how the grace of God works and he'll carry you out of something and turn it into something. Turn it into a message, that's what it is.
0:31:52.9 Yvette Pegues: Oh, my gosh.
0:31:53.9 Ethan Stone: The brand is a message that there is hope. You just have to keep pushing forward, you can't stop, and even talking to someone like you, the message is similar, no matter what you face, still push forward, carry through.
0:32:11.4 Yvette Pegues: So our first "short conversation" got really long, and I am so grateful to wear your message on your apparel that represents your faith and the bridge between some of the hard times, and I believe everything you do from here forward becomes a ministry, and I'm really, really excited about that. And for this Her Voice segment, amplifying women making moves, I think I heard someone in your conversation, maybe your wife, of course your wife, but if there's anyone else you'd like to bring up, I'd love to hear more about it even if that person is your wife.
0:32:57.1 Ethan Stone: Yes, it is my wife. I do give honor to her because, aside from my children, she is my biggest supporter, she holds my ladder like no other, and it really encourages me to move forward and keep pressing forward, regardless of what life throws our way, she's still saying behind me, she's in my ear, "Keep going, keep pushing." And it just opens up so many doors in your mental state, the courage and everything, so with my faith matched up with her being there in the natural pushing me along, it's just amazing. And she is also a small group leader in the church that we attend, so she has her women's Bible study, I hear her all the time ministering to these women that have came from broken pasts and that have been in abusive relationships, that have been in things that really should have taken them out, for lack of better words. And she's there to just pour out that graceful spirit into them and give them hope that they can make it, that they can pull through, that there is a better day ahead.
0:34:18.5 Yvette Pegues: She's definitely making moves, and I think it's understated because she doesn't seem like someone who'll stand on a pedestal but she will work in the background and lift other women up, so I'm really glad that you took the time to mention her today, and I think that blesses her, yourself and everyone listening, so thank you so much for that. Likewise, if I have to think about a woman making moves, Dr. Dowdell, for her to take a situation that she had to watch happen in front of her law firm and to take that to a whole other level... Because I think she told me once that the original traffic light was created by a man of color, and it has really not been changed very much for her to step in and do this now and to do it against all odds, because she made it sound pretty easy, but it's not.
0:35:17.1 Yvette Pegues: And she gave me permission to share that she also lives with an invisible disability, and those moments are chronic for her, but nevertheless, she still pushes through, she still raises her children, she still supports her husband, who's an attorney, and she still smiles and shows up on a trip out of the country to support what we're doing here on Crazy and the King today, in this takeover. And I just really want to encourage anyone listening to hear the full story. Her email address... Actually her website... Dr. Dowdell's website address is wheeldestrian.com, and as I mentioned and I'll mention again, the Black Family Magazine is going to feature her and Ethan, so that if additional information is required, we'll be able to access it there. Ethan, can you tell us how to reach you?
0:36:23.7 Ethan Stone: Yes, our website is https: //cplwj.myspreadshop.com/ and that has all of our items on there, all the logos, designs and everything there.
0:36:47.0 Yvette Pegues: And you're on social media. Right?
0:36:48.4 Ethan Stone: Yes.
0:36:48.5 Yvette Pegues: So are you using your name on all your social media platforms?
0:36:52.0 Ethan Stone: So I have my name, Ethan Stone, on LinkedIn and also Facebook. My Instagram actually has the acronym of the business name, so it's CPLWJ_0117, so you can find me on those social media platforms, follow the page, see what new designs come up and see the mission take place.
0:37:19.5 Yvette Pegues: I'm ready. Your designs are such high quality and I really wanna support what you're doing so that it's sustained long enough that people can find out about it, because I know that it's a lot of word-of-mouth right now and sharing your testimony, but I'm so grateful for that. But on the topic of social media, do you have a disability Twitter that you wanna share with us?
0:37:48.5 Ethan Stone: Yes, so there was a brief snippet by #disabilityyouth, it spoke to me because growing up, I did not get many encounters or exposures to individuals with disabilities, I was heavily into sports and things like that, so I did not come into this until later in life, when I came with MobilityWorks, but I did see that in the snippet, it said that youth with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than non-disabled peers, and a lot of people don't know, but previously I was a school teacher for a preschool and school-age children. Yeah, my mom's actually a preschool teacher, so I thought I was gonna be a teacher but God...
0:38:51.3 Yvette Pegues: You're teaching us some stuff.
0:38:52.7 Ethan Stone: God had different plans for me, but he does still have me teaching, just in a different way, which is ironic, so but to this point, a lot of media is focused in a lot of ways on bullying happening through the cyberworld, physically at school, but a lot of the times, it doesn't break down how different individuals with disabilities, how that level of bullying can be increased and how it can affect in different ways, so that snippet really, really hit for me by #disabilityyouth.
0:39:38.4 Yvette Pegues: And it's also #disabilitytwitter, I believe, and I'm so sad about that because they say people who hurt hurt but when people who hurt others who are hurting, it really amplifies that situation, and it's so sad because again, when you look at the statistics, one of every four people have a disability, so like there was three of us on here, and two of us had a disability, or a family member, someone you know and love, as you mentioned, you did not have very many interactions, and I was innocently ignorant to disability and everything that came with it until I myself became disabled, and so now, it becomes my life work, and so that's why I wanted to present what you're doing and what Dr. Dowdell is doing because between the two of you, you are making my life equitable. And so I'm so glad you brought that up, I don't know if people really think about that. I have one as well. This one's a doozy, so @stevieboebi, I think that's Boebi, posted that a disabled Airbnb host is being sued by some guests because they had to be around a disabled person. They rented a room in her house and are claiming damages to their mental health. If that in and of itself is not bullying behavior, then I don't know what is.
0:41:16.8 Yvette Pegues: So let me just clarify, as I am to understand it, the non-disabled guest feels like they were negatively impacted by a disabled guest, so I just have to take an emotional pause there because they have now gone to the next level to file suit, so the Airbnb owner is just flabbergasted, and it's getting a lot of attention online, and it's just another example of ignorance, not in a bad way, but in a way that doesn't educate individuals about disability, and that's what you're doing in your work, that's what Dr. Dowdell is doing in her work, and as a navigation organization who speaks to corporate, who speaks to schools, who helps with policy, it's something that we must do more of. And so I think we're all educators, if we take the patience to meet people where they are, have a conversation and understand why they feel the way they feel... Because there was no detail around why she felt that she was damaged somehow in her mental health. I mean, let's be honest, disability is not sexy. Right? When you talk about the different understandings and the different levels of understanding around disability, we can go all the way back to the 1940s. These models of disability come from, "Hey, that disabled family member in the back room," to now someone like me and people in my community, who are water skiing and scuba diving and skydiving and playing hockey and golf.
0:43:11.1 Yvette Pegues: That didn't happen maybe 40, 50 years ago, so that mindset hasn't made the shift to the human rights part of where we're living today, so I read this with a grain of salt because as appalling as it is, people who hurt hurt. And so I'm happy that you brought that up. And I just feel like this segment is so important. It's different but it's also really important because it's a inside track on things that we may not have even thought about, but it's around us, it's our family, our parents, the person at the grocery store, our teachers. It is pretty vast. And again, only 15% of disabilities are seen, so 85% of the people who are living with cancer, who are living with depression, who are living with lung, COVID, and some of the invisible disabilities you might not think about, like myself with a brain injury and cognitive delays.
0:44:14.1 Yvette Pegues: You may not look at me especially on Zoom and say, "She's in a wheelchair," or, "She's had a brain surgery," until you can see that scar from the back of my head to the front where that surgery affected my cognitive dissonance. So we are not neurotypical, and even if we age into a barrier, if we are blessed to live long enough, we will experience either temporary or permanent disability. So as we move forward for National Disability Employment Awareness month, which is also October, which is Cancer Awareness month, I think it's important for the listeners and the readers of the Black Family magazine and each of us individually to continue to share this message. And I'm ready to take us home, but I don't wanna do that without getting some final words from you, Ethan.
0:45:03.8 Ethan Stone: I just have to say this was a complete awesome experience. It was a... I was honored to be a part of it, and if I must say, we took over. I just have to say, we took over this.
0:45:16.6 Yvette Pegues: That part.
0:45:19.0 Ethan Stone: We took it over, we nailed it. I think this was an important conversation that needed to happen, and if I think back to when I was not involved in this industry or working to assist people with... Individuals with disabilities, this conversation is key, and there's so much wrapped up into it that I think will speak loudly to whoever listens to it. That between our three stories, there is hope, and new things are to come.
0:45:55.1 Yvette Pegues: Thank you. I was thinking the same thing. I think Julie and Torin would be proud that we were able to take over the first Crazy and the King podcast and do pretty good, I really do think we did. And to close out, I just wanna say that in addition to being the right thing to do, in addition to it being a human and civil rights issue, disability is also an $8 trillion, with a T, industry, so we don't just create innovation, we buy it, so if you are not in a place where you get it, you need to get it.
General Manager / CEO / Father / Small Group Leader in God’s House
I am Ethan Stone, General Manager of Mobility Works in Hawthorne, CA and CEO of Carpool Lane With Jesus. I am a father of 4 beautiful daughters, and a men’s small group leader in our church that we attend. My wife, Cindy, and I are on a journey to spread our brand to the nation, while I am also finding ways to help individuals with disabilities and the challenges they face with transportation through my role at Mobility Works. I look forward to what God has in store in the days to come.