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Tune in to episode 4 of the Disability Inclusion: Required podcast.

Disability Identity and Pride: A Conversation with Ryan Easterly and Justice Shorter

In this episode of Disability Inclusion: Required, host Emily Ladau welcomes Ryan Easterly, Executive Director of WITH Foundation, and Justice Shorter, a Disability Justice advocate and international advisor for disability inclusive humanitarian and disaster assistance, for a wide-ranging, poignant conversation on disability pride. Ryan and Justice offer insights into their lived experiences as Black disabled people who are part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, reflect on the power of storytelling, and share how they find joy in disability identity and culture.

Our podcast theme music is by Andre Louis and Precious Perez. Thank you to Recording Artists And Music Professionals With Disabilities (RAMPD) for connecting these talented disabled musicians with the Disability & Philanthropy Forum.

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

Click here to tune into other episodes of Disability Inclusion: Required.

Featured Guests

Ryan Easterly, a Black man wearing glasses, a gray jacket, and light colored button down.

Ryan Easterly lives and works at the intersections of race, class, disability, and sexual orientation. Ryan serves as executive director of WITH Foundation. WITH promotes comprehensive healthcare for adults with developmental disabilities in the United States. Ryan previously served as manager of the National Youth Transitions Initiative at the HSC Foundation. He has also worked across the federal sector and within community outreach and advocacy efforts. He is a member of the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy, the Disability & Philanthropy Forum Steering Committee, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations Board, and co-chairs Exponent Philanthropy’s Disability Funders Peer Circle.

Justice Shorter, a Black person in a black jacket and sunglasses, smiling.

Justice Shorter is a skilled organizer/facilitator, Disability Justice amplifier and senior advisor on issues at the intersection of race, disability, gender, climate, and crises. She is a national expert on disability inclusive disaster protections, emergency management and humanitarian crises/conflicts.

She has studied community development in South Africa, Peace & Post-Conflict Reconciliation in Uganda/Rwanda, periodically returned to her childhood community to teach on subjects surrounding social action/communications and earned a B.A. in Journalism with minors in Justice & Peace Studies from Marquette University. While earning her MA in Sustainable Development: International Policy & Management, Justice interned within the White House Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs where she focused on disability outreach efforts, social inclusion policies and federal agency engagement.

In more recent years, Justice served as a Disability Integration Advisor with the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, deploying frequently to disaster areas across America and its territories. She is also the co-creator of a celebrated framework for applying Disability Justice approaches to disaster/humanitarian assistance, a Crisis Management method that acknowledges histories of harm, centers intersectionality and prioritizes leadership by Black, Indigenous & People of Color with disabilities.