June 5, 2020

From Stigma to Mad Pride Podcast: Episode 2 with Hailee

From Stigma to Mad Pride: Fighting for Visibility Podcast
Episode 2 with Hailee

Guest: Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons
Hosts: Ginger Leopoldo and Miriam Mercado
Transcript by Miriam Mercado

TW: bullying, race denial, institutional abuse, racism, hate crimes,


  1. Introduction and History of CIRCA-Pintig
  2. Mental health experiences and shifting from the medical to social model
  3. Mad pride and psychiatric labelling
  4. Fighting stigma as a “white passing” mixed race person
  5. Resources for Asian Americans exploring their psychiatric identity
  6. Talking about disability outside of academia
  7. Managing mental well-being and racism during the COVID-19 pandemic
  8. Outro

Introduction and History of CIRCA-Pintig

[gentle, propulsive mandolin and guitar music]

GINGER LEOPOLDO: Welcome to the From Stigma to Mad Pride Podcast, a collaboration between the Disability and Human Development Department at UIC and CIRCA-Pintig, a community arts and immigrant resource center serving Filipino communities in Chicago. We seek to serve the disability community to de-stigmatize mental health within the context of the intersection between mental health, Asian-American identity, and Asian immigrant identity. When our communities’ stories are heard, mental health stigmas give way to MAD PRIDE.

Hi Hailee, I’m Ginger Leopoldo. I’m the Artistic Director for CIRCA-Pintig. CIRCA-Pintig is an arts organization that’s based here in Chicago. We are celebrating now our 29th Anniversary. Actually, this is kind of exciting times for us as we began as a group of community members – mostly Filipino Americans in our teens and our early 20s – and we wanted to find an outlet or a way to learn about our history and kind of process our identities. One of the first productions that we began with was a piece called “America is in the Heart”. This was a novel that was written by Carlos Bulosan, who was an immigrant that wrote about his experiences. He came in the 1930s, and he expressed about the kind of isolation and some of the abuses that he experienced coming to America as an immigrant during those times. In Seattle there would be signs that said, you know, “Absolutely No Filipinos or Dogs Allowed”. And it was through his writing that he was able – and his poetry – that he was able to kind of process and even share with others what his experiences are.

And so that really brought our organization together, and we had always been one that pride ourselves as ATORs. Those are: Artists, Teachers, Organizers, Researchers. We actually were thinking about it yesterday and we thought…AORTAs! Add on Activists as well. It was through the arts that we show our activism. Most of the topics we cover are around social justice issues, and the past few years it’s been around healing and social justice.

So It was back in 2014 when Dr. Rooshey Hasnain — professor at UIC with DHD 420 was the course that she had us partner with. We were able to work with her students and lead them in theater workshops and writing workshops and develop the interviews and the stories they collected from community members into scenes and monologues. And so last fall we had a production called “Silencing Stigma: Reclaiming Life 3.0” because it was our third set of the series. And now with our capstone scholars, we’re just very excited that we can have this new way of collecting stories and continuing the conversation around mental health and silencing stigma. Our title for this project is “From Stigma to Mad Pride”. We’re just excited to continue to do important work such as this, which is to continue the conversation around topics that aren’t often spoken about. So thank you.

HAILEE YOSHIZAKI-GIBBONS: Yeah, thank you for having me. I’m really excited. I actually used to teach the capstone course, so I’m excited to be working with the next generation of disabilities, you know, scholars and activists. It’s very exciting for me as a former professor of the class.

GINGER: Great! Well thank you. We’re quite honored then it’s been wonderful to be a site for the students because, again, most of our work is, you know, in the process of whether we’re working on a new production or doing community work and engagement through workshops. And so it was really important when we began with our group of capstone scholars to kind of find out what was most of interest to them as we had a little bit of flexibility to mold it to what would be a best fit. And it really has kind of propelled our way of organizing and taking hold of our social media and continuing the course work that we’re doing with DHD and on mental health. So it’s really quite exciting to make use of other resources too, like City Bureau and StoryCorps – the community partnerships and resources that are available to us.

HAILEE: Yeah, that’s awesome.

GINGER: Miriam will be kind of taking the lead with the interview questions. I will let Miriam go on ahead and take over.

MIRIAM MERCADO: I’m Miriam, and I’m going to be doing your interview today.

HAILEE: Nice to meet you.

MIRIAM: The first question is a pretty simple one, and it is just, if you want to talk about your background, your name, your identity, or anything else.

HAILEE: Yeah, my name is Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons. I am a PhD candidate in Disability Studies with a concentration in Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago. My research looks at the intersections of aging and disability, and I’m particularly interested in dementia and dementia care and applying aging studies and disability studies lenses to the experiences of people doing care work, and then also receiving care work, and the kinds of interdependencies that develop.

I identify as a mixed-race, white and Japanese, woman – white passing. I also identify as disabled. I have a number of diagnoses, which we can talk about the complexity of diagnoses later, but I do identify – depending on the day, I might describe myself differently – but I do identify as someone who has a mental or psychiatric disability. I also identify as queer and, yeah I think that covers kind of my- a brief overview of my background. You know, when you’re a doctoral student it’s hard to not launch into a, you know, a thirty minute long tirade of all your work. But yeah, that’s kind of a basic summary of who I am and what I do.


Mental health experiences and shifting from the medical to social model

MIRIAM: And so, the second question is: What are your experiences with the intersection of being Asian American and the mental health system?

HAILEE: Well, I think first, it’s important to acknowledge that as a white passing person I experience a lot of privilege in the mental health system. More privilege than people who do not pass. So I want to start by acknowledging that. But I think in terms of mental health, my familial culture growing up was really to not talk about any issues related to mental health. There was a lot of silence.

I learned as an adult that my father, who was Japanese, experienced a lot of trauma in his childhood. But I learned that from my mom, and again, like I said, as an adult. It was never something my dad discussed with me or any of us, and I know that he had a number of mental health issues arising from that trauma. And he also actually worked as a fireman which I think furthered a lot of that trauma in terms of seeing death and really difficult situations.

But yeah, that was never discussed. And it wasn’t until I was I think in high school. I was talking to some of my cousins, and I don’t even remember who, you know, “admitted” this, but someone mentioned an antidepressant they were taking. And then a bunch of us are like “oh I’m on this antidepressant” or “I’m on this medication”, and it was kind of a surprise for all of us that, oh wait we all are going through something that we haven’t been talking about that we didn’t know. We thought we were like alone in this or that our family was unique in this. But it turns out like our entire family has had various experiences with mental health and the mental health system. And it wasn’t until we were much older that we started more openly talking about those issues and our experiences and how we identify.

MIRIAM: How has your mental health identity shifted to Mad pride? Do you have a specific moment that changed your perspective of your mental health situation?

HAILEE: Yeah, when I was younger I definitely embraced what we call the Medical Model of Disability, which understands disability as an individual problem that needs to be fixed or rehabilitated or cured as much as possible through medical intervention. And I definitely embraced that viewpoint of my disability. I welcomed the various diagnoses I received. I was eager to somehow “cure myself” or “recover” from the issues I was going through. I was very hopeful that there would kind of be an end to my mental health issues. That I would basically eventually- I would figure out the right balance of medication and therapy and then that would be it. I would be finished. I would emerge, you know, a new person. And so yeah I really- when I was young I really embraced that. I really wanted…I wanted to be basically free of all the mental distress I was experiencing.

And then as I was getting older I started to realize that the way my mind works is just the way my mind works. And it doesn’t have to be pathologized. It’s just different from some other people. I experience my thoughts differently. I experience emotions differently. and that’s, you know, that’s okay. And instead of trying to change that, I started to really, not only accept it, but eventually even embrace it as something that, you know, makes me unique but also makes me part of a community.

And so now I very much more look at my disability through more of the Social Model lens, you know, where we understand disability as a social construction. What is it about the way I express emotions or the way I experience the world that is pathologized by medicine? And also, what are the gifts of going through the world in a different way? And what are the gifts of experiencing emotion differently? Or having different ways of thinking about things? And so that’s really kind of been my shift from more of a medical focus to understanding myself as a madwoman, as a part of a community, as part of not only a mental health community but a larger disability community. It’s been really I think helpful for me, in terms of, instead of trying to constantly “fix myself”, I can embrace who I am and how I move through the world in a whole new way.


Mad pride and psychiatric labelling

MIRIAM: So earlier you also mentioned that you’re a Ph.D. student in Disability Studies. And so I was wondering kind of, from that perspective, if you think there’s a better way, or if there’s anything lacking within Disability Studies, and how Mad studies or Mad pride can be better incorporated into the curriculum.

HAILEE: Yeah, so in Disability Studies, which emerged out of the disability rights movement, we know that there has been historically a bit of a hierarchy in which people with physical disabilities, especially in the early years, received far more attention, more prestige. People with- who identified as mad were less included in our movements. People with intellectual disabilities as well were less included. So that’s been something that I think has been kind of a work in progress. And I should add also that it’s not even just about disability. Of course, also you know, white men – their voices were more privileged than women and people of color and immigrants. And so I think the field is evolving a lot and that’s really great, and we have more and more diversity within the field. Which is amazing.

I do still think that sometimes madness can kind of be pushed to the side in some cases. I think there are some really exciting exciting work and activism being done trying to bring Disability Studies and Mad studies together, which i think is really important. You know, I think they do need to remain in some ways distinct fields because they have distinct ways of understanding disability and madness, but there’s also so much room for partnership there and for collaboration. And so I think that’s really important.

MIRIAM: Thank you. So going back the different diagnoses that you have had. So how has that kind of affected your life? And how did you feel when you finally got your diagnosis?

HAILEE: Yeah, I’ve had I think maybe five or six different diagnoses throughout my life.
At first I really embraced these diagnoses. I thought that they were kind of like the answer. Okay, now that I know what’s wrong I can start addressing it. Then through time, my diagnoses are shifting. They were changing. I was getting different diagnoses. I was getting diagnoses I sometimes didn’t agree with. And I started to realize that in many ways while, you know, while based on a psychiatric system of medical care, these diagnoses are also socially constructed; and that the fact that my diagnoses were shifting demonstrated how socially constructed they were.

My current diagnosis, which is bipolar disorder type 2, I do sometimes use that to describe myself. I’ll refer to myself as either, you know, a person with bipolar or even like a bipolar woman depending on kind of where I’m at. Or other times, I won’t share my diagnosis because diagnoses are very complex and also very personal. I do think that diagnosis in some ways makes sense for me. It is a way to kind of communicate with people how I move through the world. But then there’s also a lot of really negative stereotypes about people who are labeled with bipolar, and so that, you know, sometimes has become problematic for me, which is why I’m sometimes more guarded with sharing my diagnosis.

But yeah, I think my my thinking about diagnosis has really changed throughout my life whereas at first, you know, I thought okay this is a solid objective answer; this is what’s “wrong” with me. And now I see it as basically a way that I can access the therapy and the psychiatric care that I need, but also something that I take with a grain of salt, recognizing that it does not define me completely and that in some contexts it actually can be problematic to focus on diagnoses. And so I will use it at times to describe myself, but then other times I’ll take more of an approach of saying “oh I’m a disabled woman. I’m a bipolar woman” – taking more of the Mad pride or Disability pride approach to describing myself.


Fighting stigma as a “white passing” mixed race person

MIRIAM: So the next one is: How has your Asian American identity affected your mental health?

HAILEE: Well I have struggled a lot with my Asian American identity as someone who is white passing. I actually did not realize – when I was growing up, everyone always told me I look like my dad – and I did not realize that I would be read as white until I went to school. That was like a very big shock for me. I still very distinctly remember being confused when I would say that I was Japanese or part Japanese and my white classmates would tell me, “no you’re not”, like “you’re lying”. And that was very painful for me. And I would continuously try to assert, you know, I have a white and Japanese identity. And my classmates when I brought that up – like I said, they would accuse me of lying. Sometimes they would, like, slant- make their eyes slanted to mock me. They said this chant that was, like, mocking of Asian culture.

And so I did mention it to my dad, and my dad basically just told me to keep my head down and to just not talk about being Japanese anymore. And I know that he was basically trying to help me, like, pass to get through it. But at the same time that was very painful for me. For many years I didn’t know how to talk about being Japanese. I didn’t know if I had any right to talk about being part Japanese. And it was just a very confusing and difficult time.

And then as I was getting older, I started meeting other mixed-race people because before- I grew up in a very white town so basically the only mixed-race people I knew were the people in my family. As I started going to college and then graduate school and just working I started meeting more mixed-race people, and I started realizing Identity is a lot more complex than just how you’re read or coded. And yes, while I do experience a lot of privilege as a white passing person, there also- I can have my identity as multifaceted. I don’t have to reject the Japanese side of me. I can embrace that. I can claim that.

And I was actually very surprised- when I came to Chicago, I was very excited because, you know, there’s a significant Japanese community in Chicago. And the very first time I went to an event at the Japanese American Service Committee I was very nervous. I was very stressed out. And even though people of all cultures go to those events, I was just worried like: would I be accepted as a part Asian person, as a part Japanese person when I pass as white? And I was very shocked to find that everyone was so welcoming and supportive. And, you know, a lot of people explained like, “Oh a ton of us identify as mixed race,” and it was just such an affirming [thing]. I remember I went home and I just– I just cried. Like tears of joy, but also tears of grief after so many years I had to struggle with this alone. And for so many years I had to hide this part of my identity from people. Like in college I really only talked to my friends about my Japanese identity because they were the only ones that were really accepting of it.

So yeah, in some ways it was a painful experience growing up but then an affirming experience as I’ve gotten older. And I’ve connected more with the Asian-American community in Chicago – in the Japanese community, especially.

MIRIAM: And then you mentioned the white passing. Does that influence how you access mental health within the mental health system?

HAILEE: I think it does because — you know people of color, of course, are not treated as well in mental health systems. And so by being white passing I can, I think, probably access better care, access care quicker. Of course I have other identities that mediate that experience. So, for example: like, when I was in college I had never- I had only ever been to like a court-mandated therapist, and I didn’t really know how to navigate the system. I was low income. And at first, I thought like I could only get a certain number of sessions and then I would be done because my insurance wouldn’t pay for it anymore. But my- I had a great counselor who was great at working with first-generation college students and low-income students. And he helped me fill out all this paperwork to get free counseling basically the entire time I was in college – to get free psychiatric care. And so yeah. That was really helpful, but I do think that white- you know, being white passing definitely gives me a privilege.

At the same time I’ve had really varied experiences with therapists when I’m talking about my Asian American identity. I have found that therapists of color, whether they’re Asian or not, have been extremely supportive. They understand the ways that I’m struggling. They understand the grief I experienced having to deny part of my identity for so long. They understand how I’m trying to navigate acknowledging the privilege I have while also not denying my complete and full identity. And the ways that I am like trying to navigate being parts of multiple cultures and being parts of multiple communities

So those therapists have been very understanding. very affirming, again, sometimes in ways that, like, surprise me. Especially early on, I would be very afraid of telling my therapist: “I identify this way and I’m struggling with this” because I just was worried they would be like “you’re making an issue out of nothing”. And I unfortunately- I did find that with some white therapists – not all, but some – they really did kind of confirm a lot of my fears. They would say things like “well you do look white,” or they would say “I had no idea,” or they would look really hard at me trying to find Japanese traits, you know, in my face. Which is kind of a common reaction I actually have gotten from white people. They’re trying to look for the otherness, I guess, in my appearance. But anyways, after those kinds of reactions of like being dismissive or- I just kind of quit talking to those therapists about my racial identity, which was harmful for me. I needed to talk about it.

And you know in Chicago specifically, I’m on like the University insurance system and so I don’t really have a lot of choice in the therapist I receive. And I am very fortunate that I had some wonderful therapists of color who really were supportive and helped me process everything I was going through. But I also had some white therapists who really did a lot of harm to me by not being supportive. By being dismissive. By not creating a space where I felt safe to discuss being mixed race and what that meant.


Resources for Asian Americans exploring their psychiatric identity

MIRIAM: So do you have any sort of message for the Asian American community who don’t have good access to mental health? Or those who don’t go to the mental health system because of the stigma within the Asian American community?

HAILEE: Yea, I think it’s so hard to overcome stigma especially when that stigma might be rooted in your culture or your community. And I think, you know, all communities of color struggle with this. Albeit in different ways of course. I think what was helpful for me was to just start trying to attend events where, you know, there were other people who identified as mad, or, you know, having a mental illness, or disabled. And the thing about those events is you can actually kind of go in very stealthily because 1) a lot of us pass as non-disabled; like when I’m walking down the street I’m not read as disabled, and 2) like no one is asking you like Wait a minute: Do you belong here? How do you identify? What’s your disability? Everyone is welcome regardless of your disability, or even if you’re non-disabled.

And so you can really attend those events without kind of going to that dramatic step of saying “I’m struggling” or “I’m in distress” or, you know, “I have a diagnosis”. And I think that’s like a really good way to start easing yourself into thinking about who you are and how your mind works and the kind of resources you want to access. Once you’re in those communities, you know, that’s when you can really start connecting with people, and I have just found that’s, you know, what’s most helpful in terms of figuring out what resources are there. How can we navigate these systems, which a lot of times are broken systems? How can we get the most out of the limited resources we do have? And so yeah, I think that’s a really great first step.

I’ve also just noticed there’s been a lot of wonderful events that are focusing more and more on Asian-Americans and mental health. I was very honored to be on a panel a few years ago about Asian-Americans and disability at the Japanese American Service Committee. And I have just noticed that there’s more and more of those events happening which I think is so wonderful. And so I really encourage people to just attend those events. And yeah. I mean it’s so hard but just trying to connect with others who understand what you’re going through is so helpful and it’s so empowering. And so, even though I understand it’s so hard to overcome the stigma, I just really encourage people to try and reach out and make those connections because I think in the end community is what protects us from stigma. Community is what empowers us and helps us embrace who we are.


Talking about disability outside of academia

MIRIAM: So you’ve done a study with your sister where you both talk about how your disabilities have impacted your relationship. I was wondering if there was ever a time when, given your Disability Studies background, you try to let your sister figure out stuff on her own? I guess what I’m asking for is advice because sometimes I’m in situations where I don’t want to come off as if I “know better”. How do you balance this dynamic?

HAILEE: Yeah that’s a great question because, you know, we often point out in Disability Studies that even though as many as 20% of people in the United States have a disability, a lot of people don’t identify as disabled. They don’t talk about their disability. It’s not a part of their identity. They may acknowledge “Oh, I have a medical condition”, but they haven’t incorporated it as part of their core identity. And so that can sometimes make it challenging because, you know, in Disability Studies we have this very specific way of looking at disability; of trying to empower disabled people; of engaging in a lot of activism to make the world better for disabled people. And you have to, like, understand that not everyone is there yet.

There’s just so much stigma and shame about disability. Disability is so stigmatized in our culture that it’s just very hard for a lot of people to get over that initial – I guess you could say – bump in the road where everything and everyone in our society is telling you “you’re not normal if your disabled”, “you’re less than if you’re disabled”, “you’re not fully human if you’re disabled”. And so I think it can be really hard for a lot of people to overcome that. And again, I just encourage people who may be thinking that they might want to explore having a disability identity to attend, you know, disability community events. I think that’s one of the best ways to explore it. But yeah, I think it can be difficult to navigate having one perspective on disability and then other people have a very different perspective.

A lot of my research involves older adults and people with dementia who 1) may not have been told they have dementia or understand they have dementia. They, a lot of times when old people acquire disability later in life they don’t identify as disabled. They understand their disability is just part of old age. And so I have had to be in a lot of communities where they had a very different perspective on disability than I did. And I think you know the best thing you can do is you can always affirm their perspective. We do have a very powerful medical system, you know, and our culture is very medically based. So kind of affirming those perspectives while also, you know – sometimes I just try to you gently mention for example, “oh did you know some people actually embrace their mental health and their mental illness diagnosis and they incorporate as part of their identity” or “oh did you know that some people look at disability this way.” And some people might react really positively. They’re interested. They want to learn more.

And then other people might not show a lot of interest. And at that point I think it’s important to just kind of respect where they’re at and, you know, hopefully you have planted a seed. But you really have to just kind of let people come to the identity and the community on their own. But maybe with some gentle guidance from you, but you know we can’t make people understand disability the way we do, right? We have to do a lot of educating, a lot of outreach. And we have to acknowledge the various hurdles people have, especially if they come from any sort of marginalized background; the various hurdles they’re gonna have towards accepting that identity or embracing it; the various hurdles they’re gonna have towards even being a part of the disability community and what that would look like for them.

And I think with my sister it’s a little tricky because, you know, I’m the oldest sister, so I’m the boss. [laughs] And my family does look to me as you know “an expert” in disability. But I think that, you know, my sister has come to a lot of her own conclusions, a lot of her own ways of thinking about things. For example like, I kind of hem and haw at using the word “mental health”. I do use it just because it has a lot of meaning to people in our society. But I kind of have some issues with, like, the healthy/unhealthy binary it creates. But my sister very much, you know, likes that term. She wants to use it, and so I respect that.

I think in our article my sister had a quote where she said something like “Our siblinghood is like a mental health community in itself,” and that quote really excited me because I thought it really showed our deep connection that occurred through disability and through our sibling relationship. You know, and I didn’t say, like, “Well actually ‘mental health’ can have a problematic, you know, construction and we need to think about the language we’re using,” right? And I very much- like, I looked at what she said as, you know, her perspective. and I loved that she said that. I thought it was so beautiful, and it was such a great descriptor of our relationship and the ways that disability has actually brought us closer together into a very interdependent relationship as disabled siblings.


Managing mental well-being and racism during the COVID-19 pandemic

MIRIAM: So those are all the questions I had written down but I also wanted to kind of ask, because I don’t think I can’t not ask, is how you’re kind of doing with the whole situation going on right now with COVID-19? And how that impacts your mental health?

HAILEE: I think that those of us who experience any kind of mental distress, this is such a tough — a tough period of time. There’s just so much anxiety. I’m- you know, I know I’ve been having a lot of anxiety. I’ve been very tired. There’s this really harmful message going around – which I’m glad a lot of people are challenging – but, there’s just this really toxic idea that “oh you have all this time on your hands and now you can be the most productive you’ve ever been”. I’m trying to write my dissertation right now, and I can tell you — that is not true. [chuckles] You know, I’m just trying to be really kind to myself, but it’s hard. You know, I’ve been very tired. I’ve been sleeping more. I’ve been, you know, having a lot more anxiety. I’ve been having trouble eating regularly because I’m so anxious that, you know, I’m just not hungry or food doesn’t seem appetizing to me. My sleep schedule is becoming more erratic with everything that’s going on.

So there’s a lot of a lot of factors that are affecting my mental well-being. And what I’m really just trying to do to survive is just keep connecting with people, albeit virtually. I’m very fortunate that I live with a partner, and so I’m not completely alone because I have found that being completely isolated in the past has been very very bad for my mental well-being. Of course there are people who actually need some isolation to an extent or even completely for their mental well-being, but for me, isolation often is hard for me. And so I’ve just been trying to – through text, and Zoom, and Skype, and FaceTime – stay connected with my family and my friends and the disability community at large.

And that’s been really helpful, but I just know it’s such a tough time for everyone. And I am very concerned about this ongoing narrative that we should all be being so productive, because I think it doesn’t acknowledge that this is such a tough situation and marginalized communities especially are going through such a hard time in terms of a lot of uncertainty, job loss, income loss. And I’m just really worried about people in marginalized communities and [them] navigating this.

And then of course it’s just been, you know, absolutely horrible — the increase in racism against Asian-Americans. I actually had been talking with my students in my Gender and Women’s Studies 101 course, for actually the entire semester, about this – about how the ways in which racism is socially constructed. It often, you know, evolves with the current context. So because of, you know, COVID-19 originating in China, and, of course, we have our president and other leadership referring to it as the “China virus”, you know, those things are just really very much worsening the racism that Asian Americans already experience. And I think in some very like frightening ways. Especially – you know – for example, a lot of times when we talk about Asian American stereotypes and racism, we talk about the model minority myth and how harmful that is.

But now we’re seeing just acts of outright violence, fear, stigma. People, you know, are dying from this racism and so that, I think, adds a very complicated layer to all of this. And I’m sure for a lot of people with Asian American identities it’s extremely- it’s stressful enough to be going through a pandemic, but then on top of that to know that one of your identities is being targeted as a result of this pandemic. I just really- I’m really concerned for everyone’s safety and well-being and I hope people can access resources to help them.

I’ve actually been able to find my- I was very lucky my therapist has decided to do virtual sessions. I’m not really sure what’s gonna happen with my psychiatrist…Sorry, my pets are like playing. [off mic – “This is the worst time to play”]. They’re like right behind me running back and forth.

Yeah so I’m not sure what’s going on with my psychiatrist, but I also found that at UIC, for example, the Counseling Center is doing free virtual workshops on things like self compassion and, you know, not being hard on yourself. And so I really encourage everyone to try and look for those resources. I also have seen the Disability Cultural Center at UIC is doing some really exciting virtual events. I’m hoping also other Cultural Centers…Sorry. [The pets] were sleeping all day. But now of course, you know, that I’m in the middle of an interview we have them playing.

But yeah, I’m hoping that other Cultural Centers are also going to be doing this. And of course not just at UIC but throughout the Chicago community at various colleges, universities, community centers, artistic spaces, activist spaces. And I just encourage everyone to search for those and try and stay connected and try and do everything they can to take care of themselves in this just really rough time.

MIRIAM: So those are all, kind of, the questions I have. And so thank you for being so open and honest with this. Ginger did you want to say anything?

GINGER: Just want to extend again our thanks.

HAILEE: Yeah, thank you for having me and for including me in the project. Take care of yourselves.

GINGER: Yes, it was very nice to meet you.

HAILEE: You too.

GINGER: Thank you! Thanks Miriam! Bye-bye.

HAILEE: Bye! Take care Miriam.




[gentle, propulsive mandolin and guitar music]

GINGER: Thank you for listening. From Stigma to Mad Pride is a podcast project hosted by Noah Ohashi, Miriam Mercado, Rick Wild, and Ginger Leopoldo. Join us in our twitter chat at #AAMADpride. For more information, please visit CIRCA-Pintig at circapintig.com and UIC’s Disability and Human Development program at ahs.uic.edu.