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Leaving no one behind: How the disabled community challenges ableism

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Two headshots of wheelchair users. On the right is a woman with her service dog on her lap and on the left is a man sitting on a wheelchair
Erin Bagatta

As April ends, we wrap up our body-image series featuring voices from all corners of our community speaking about their personal experiences with their bodies.

Setting up this project, we knew the flow was essential; each episode needed to stand alone while still fitting within the overarching theme. When it came to wrapping up the series, in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to play on the concept of “leaving no one behind” and amplifying voices who often get drowned out when we discuss body image: people living with disabilities.

There are a lot of negative stereotypes and attitudes around this topic. Some of them portray disabled people as being tragic but brave, laughable, aggressive, burdens, outcasts or incapable of fully participating in everyday life. We know those stereotypes are not valid and profoundly affect self-esteem.

For this conversation, I spoke with Sergio Muniz-Munoz and Emily Cadman, both wheelchair users. Then, to close off the series, former Radio Milwaukee program director Jordan Spencer Lee joins us to talk about how his body has changed since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

When you finish listening to this week’s episode, remember that our month celebrating bodies of all kinds isn’t over yet. At 5 p.m. this Friday, April 28, you can join us at Milwaukee Artist Resource Network in the Third Ward for a pop-up exhibition and community conversation around everything bodies. The event will feature portraits from this month’s guests and an opportunity for you to participate by getting your own portrait taken. For more information and to RSVP, visit the event page on MARN’s website.

This month's episodes

  • April 4 — Real Women, real bodies: Getting candid about body-image journeys
  • April 11 — Breaking the silence: Men and women navigate beauty standards from hair to height 
  • April 14 — All about that hair (minisode)
  • April 18 — Beyond the binary: Transgender voices in the body positivity movement and embracing body diversity
  • April 25 — Leaving no one behind: How the disabled community challenges ableism
Audio Storyteller / 88Nine On-Air Talent | Radio Milwaukee