Episode 126 – Unstoppable Disability Justice Advocate with Lauren Foote

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Lauren Foote’s life has always included involvement with persons with disabilities. She was born into a family including a tetraplegic father, and other close family members with disabilities, and, as she discovered in college she also possessed a mental health disability. She will tell us all about this as she describes her life and tells her stories.

She decided to take on a goal of seeking justice and inclusion for persons with disabilities in Canada as she went through college and she has stayed true to her desire to serve.

You will learn how she has become involved in projects and jobs around urban planning and policy. She will discuss some of the committee work she does today and she will tell us stories of success she has had in helping to change how people in Canada view and interact with the population of individuals with all kinds of disabilities.

About the Guest:

As a lifelong disability rights advocate, Lauren Foote always knew that she wanted to work toward creating more equitable and inclusive spaces for people with disabilities. Growing up with a mental health disability, a tetraplegic father, and other close family members with disabilities allowed Lauren to experience accessibility barriers first-hand. Through her personal, academic, and professional experience in the realm of disability justice, she realized that these accessibility barriers were a result of decades of ignorance and oversight in community planning and infrastructure development. Lauren has since made it her life goal to mitigate access barriers by incorporating the rights of people with disabilities into urban planning and policy.
Lauren proudly serves on the Advisory Committee for Accessible Transit (ACAT) at the Toronto Transit Commission and the ACAT Service Planning and Design Review subcommittees. In these roles, she offers expertise as a consultant to internal and external stakeholders about regional diversity, accessibility, and inclusion. Lauren has also collaborated with organizations including Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, Metrolinx, the Disability Foundation, the University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, BCMOS, DIGA, and the David Suzuki Foundation to strategize methods to remove systemic barriers to access for people with disabilities. Through various roles in the accessibility planning realm, she has led forums, guest lectured, and constructed numerous reports on creating equitable and inclusive spaces. A majority of her work analyzes flood events and accessibility barriers, ableism within current legislation and policy, and transportation access and equity.
In addition to her roles in accessibility planning, Lauren is working toward achieving her MSc in Planning at the University of Toronto, which she will complete this March 2023! Her thesis, Countering Ableism in Flood Resilient Infrastructure, allows people to reimagine public places as accessible and inclusive spaces for the entire community to enjoy.
Lauren is dedicated to creating inclusive and equitable communities and she is so grateful that she has already had the opportunity to make meaningful change by increasing access for people with disabilities through her work. She plans to continue in the field of accessibility planning so that she can contribute toward bettering the community.

Links for Lauren:

Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-foote-5187ab1b9/

About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.

Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.


accessiBe Links
https://www.linkedin.com/company/accessibe/mycompany/ https://www.facebook.com/accessibe/

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Transcription Notes

Michael Hingson 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.

Michael Hingson 01:20
Well, greetings and welcome to another episode of unstoppable mindset. Today we are going to speak with Lauren Foote. Lauren is a lifelong disability rights advocate. And I think that’s going to be interesting and relevant to talk about. She’s been very involved in urban planning and a bunch of stuff. technical term. They’re up in Canada. Lauren, welcome to unstoppable mindset. Thanks for being here.

Lauren Foote 01:47
Thank you so much for having me, Michael. I’m so excited to be a part of your podcast.

Michael Hingson 01:51
Well, we’re glad to have you. Why don’t we start by you telling me a little bit just about you growing up how things started and just a little about you as a as a younger Lauren?

Lauren Foote 02:03
Sure. So I’m from to Austin. It’s a small suburb outside of Vancouver, Canada. My father’s touch diplegic I have a mental health disability. And I have other close family members with disabilities as well. So Disability Justice has always been a large part of my life. And I’ve always been active in the disability advocacy community, even from a young age like you were saying so.

Michael Hingson 02:26
So when you say tetraplegia what does that mean? Exactly?

Lauren Foote 02:30
Yeah. So it’s a it’s paralyzed from the neck down. So people might be familiar with paraplegic quadriplegic, or quadriplegic, quadriplegic and tetraplegia can be used semi interchangeably. But But my dad has a injury and his spine quite high up. And that affects the movement from his neck down. So because of that he has the touch of paychecks definition.

Michael Hingson 02:54
Got it got. Yeah, well, and you, you said you have a mental health disability. Tell me about that, if you would,

Lauren Foote 03:00
yeah. So I have pretty severe anxiety and OCD. A couple other things going on. But I’m really grateful that I have a good, a good support system, and I receive good medication for that. And I’m really open about it, because I think quite a few people actually have hidden disabilities. And the more you talk about it, the more people feel comfortable opening up about that, and it’s just really important to me to create spaces where people feel welcome and included and accepted and, and having a mental health disability is quite a silent battle sometimes. So I tried to be open about it and welcoming it and make sure that people don’t have to face barriers or discrimination because of that.

Michael Hingson 03:45
Well, I can appreciate that. But doesn’t chocolate help everything?

Lauren Foote 03:50
Yeah, chocolate of course. Yeah.

Michael Hingson 03:54
My wife was a was more of a milk chocolate fan. I more flexible. Of course, we both also liked white chocolate, which is you can’t complain about that either. But chocolate is always good.

Lauren Foote 04:05
Especially that peppermint bark chocolate you get there we go. Now

Michael Hingson 04:09
we’re talking. And they tend to only do that at Christmas time. So we have a Costco near here. And I at Christmas went in and bought several boxes of the Kirkland peppermint bark and one Ghiradelli. And so far, since we bought them near the beginning of December, I’ve gone through one box, they will last most of the year. It’s sort of like, Girl Scout cookies, Thin Mints, you know, they have to be parsed out just to play safe.

Lauren Foote 04:37
although admittedly, I buy a lot of them so they can be parsed out. Got a stack up, stock up in advance, you know?

Michael Hingson 04:44
Yeah, I usually I usually buy at least a case of Thin Mints at a time.

Lauren Foote 04:48
Absolutely. That’s the way to do it.

Michael Hingson 04:50
It is so when you went to school did you know at that time you had a disability of some sort or how to All that work out,

Lauren Foote 05:01
um, I sort of had an inkling since I was young, but during my undergraduate years is when I officially got diagnosed with my disabilities. And I think it was really just, I was working a bunch of jobs, full time studying and everything was kind of like, I could almost coast by without without trying to bring too much attention to my disability beforehand. But then eventually, I realized I can’t do this, I need to talk to someone. And finally being able to get the proper help I needed, really made such an impact in my life and being able to get on the right medication. And it actually helped inspire me to start some protocols for my undergraduate school where I came into different classes and taught about accessibility resources. And I helped people go to get the proper counseling they needed and, and teach them about all the options that were there for them that they might not know about, which I didn’t know about at the beginning. And it’s really fulfilling actually to see people get the help they need, and then just shine from that.

Michael Hingson 06:02
How did your parents react to all that?

Lauren Foote 06:05
Oh, they’re I mean, my family. My family is a very disability positive community. So I mean, my dad was his physical health disability. And then I have other family members with disabilities as well. So they’re very supportive. And I’m very honestly lucky to have them. And my dad introduced me to the disability community from a young age. So So I felt very welcomed. And I think that’s one of the beautiful things about disability communities is they’re always so focused on inclusion and equity. And it’s such a great place to be people are just so so awesome.

Michael Hingson 06:37
Why did you decide though, that you wanted to take on the role of being an advocate and really pushing for change, rather than just saying, Alright, so I’m a person with a disability, I’m gonna go off and do my own thing. But I don’t need to be an advocate.

Lauren Foote 06:50
I think I was a healthy dose of frustration with the way Planning and Community communities are organized today. Especially going around town with family members and myself. During we would always face barriers to access and transportation, especially public transportation systems, we would go, I live in the Pacific Northwest, which experiences a lot of climate change related hazards like floods, and a lot of California does, too. And I believe you’re in California now. So this is something you would probably resonate with fires, and all of that. And people with disabilities that their needs aren’t really accounted for in planning, evacuations and planning areas to be more resilient. So people with disabilities often get left behind, especially in flooding events. A good organization, called Rooted in Rights did a documentary on Hurricane Katrina and the people’s disabilities who are left behind and that, and I just realized that these barriers don’t have to be there. They’re put there through there through systemic and institutional barriers that were in place by planning, core planning and poor policy practices that have evolved over time to exclude people. But if we just go back and start mitigating some of those barriers, everyone will have the ability to be included and, and cared for and welcome in society.

Michael Hingson 08:13
So where did you go to college?

Lauren Foote 08:16
Well, I did my undergraduate at Simon Fraser University, it’s, it’s out west and BC. On a mountain, actually, there’s bears which I like to tell people as a fun fact. And right now, I’m just completing my master’s degree in urban planning at the University of Toronto. And here, I do a lot of work on disability rights and incorporating their needs into planning.

Michael Hingson 08:40
What was your undergraduate major,

Lauren Foote 08:41
it was in. So bio geophysical sciences, that is the technical name, but under the field of physical geography, and that was the reason I was still interested in those climate hazards I was bringing up earlier, and I was understanding the processes behind why they happen. And then I and then through my work with the disability Foundation, where I was working on more of a community based level and accessibility planning to incorporate the needs of people with disabilities into planning in the community, I realized there’s not really like sure, we talked about climate change. And I’m reading all these climate change policies and reading all these environmental policies. I’m reading about how to plan resilient communities, and the needs of people with disabilities aren’t being thought of at all, which is a huge issue. Because if they’re not even thought of that, how are we going to create resilient communities that include people with disabilities? So that’s kind of where I was trying to I was bridging that interest between environment, environmental sustainability, but also community resiliency for people with disabilities. And through my work, I kind of picked up transportation as well, but particularly public transportation as a sustainable way of moving across cities and connecting people to spaces and places and incorporating the needs of people with disabilities into that as well.

Michael Hingson 09:56
Well, delving into that a little bit. Why do you think it is Since that people tend to just not pay attention or leave people with disabilities behind.

Lauren Foote 10:08
Yeah, so, um, I guess not pay attention. I feel that might not be the I wouldn’t say I necessarily think that but I think there’s just, if you don’t have a disability or you don’t know somebody who has a disability, you don’t experience it on a day to day basis, or you have any reason to even think about it, it’s not that they don’t care. It’s just, it’s not something they personally experienced. So they might not notice the nuances of needs that people with disabilities have. And then it gets overlooked. And a lot of plant planning in North America was very colonial, segregated, ableist. And a lot of the policies we have in place are from that period of time where people with disabilities were, and still are an afterthought, although it’s getting better. And I think a lot of it comes down to education. And I was talking to, I won’t name names, but I was talking to a CEO of a housing development company here in Toronto. And we were talking about building affordable housing in the community, and he was buying up land parcels to do this. And he genuinely thought, all you needed to create accessible housing was adding a ramp on the bot on the floor. And that was it, there was nothing that needed to be done inside. There’s no other barriers that needs to be considered. And he genuinely thought that and I was honestly shocked, like, this is the CEO of an affordable housing company. It’s quite a large company, actually, in Toronto. And I just couldn’t believe the lack of knowledge there. But on the bright side, he was very willing to learn, and he was very receptive to my feedback. And he incorporated some of my insights into his analysis, which was awesome. So I think it really shows that it’s not that people don’t care, it’s just that they might not be aware of the barriers that are there. So it’s important to learn what they are, so you can mitigate them.

Michael Hingson 12:03
The other part about it is that when you’re building a house from the ground up, pretty much to deal with physical issues. As a as a starting point, doesn’t really cost a lot unless you’re going to a two story or three story house where you have to have the extra cost of an elevator, but to build in wider doors, to build in lower counters, to not have steps and make the whole grounds accessible, really doesn’t cost because you built it into the design. And we’ve built several homes. And the reality is the only time we ever really had an extra cost. Well, we had to one, the first home that we designed was a manufactured home, and we worked with the home manufacturer, and it cost us $500 Because they had to go get a different HUD design approved. And so 500 bucks in the scheme of things. The other one was in New Jersey where we had a home that had to be a two story home. So we did have to put an elevator in but other than the elevator, there were no additional costs when you do it upfront. And it is such a huge thing if you have to go back and do it after the fact.

Lauren Foote 13:18
Exactly. And there’s so many cost analysis that show that it costs like exactly like you’re saying the same price, sometimes cheaper, sometimes a tiny bit more, but plus or minus a few dollars here and there Overall, it’s a very similar cost. And also, it opens up the market to a whole new population two, I mean, 25 24% of people in Ontario identifies as a person with a disability. So having accessibility and housing only increases the the places where people can can live. So

Michael Hingson 13:48
sure. And the problem is, of course, with all the homes that are already built, you run into all the difficulties of having to go back and do it later. But that’s why it’s important with new homes affordable and otherwise, that accessibility be built into the process because in reality, it’s not just going to help people who happen to have some sort of physical disability and we can look at other things as well. But it’s also an aging population who are going to have to take advantage of those things.

Lauren Foote 14:22
Exactly, exactly. And it helps make more equitable and inclusive communities to and any at least in Ontario, the government subsidizes companies that retrofit buildings to make them accessible. I’m not sure about the legislation in California, but they’re in place. Yeah, no, they don’t. Okay, that’s. That’s unfortunate. Hopefully one day then you do have ADA. So that’s good. Well,

Michael Hingson 14:49
yeah, but there are other things about the ADEA for example, unless you’re doing a major remodel, you don’t have to go back and, and put in anything to necessarily make something accessible. and you’re not going to get funding to do that, at least the way the structure is set up right now. So those do tend to be issues that we have to contend with. And again, that’s why it’s important upfront that when you’re building new housing, that you really put in all the stuff to make the the home the unit accessible and usable by everyone. Absolutely, I completely agree. How do we change the conversation, because there’s another part of the conversation, let’s take it away from Housing, and Urban Planning, and take it to the job market where you go into a company. And let’s take blindness because in a sense, it should be simpler to deal with. So we’ll just use that for the moment. Somebody applies for a job. And they need to have a screen reader to be able to hear what’s going on the computer, or they need to have Braille signs on restrooms that aren’t necessarily there already. And the people who are running the company, or you got a coffee machine, that’s touchscreen, and how do you make that usable? But the people who run the company go, Well, I can’t afford to pay money to make any of those things accommodating to you. We just don’t have the money to do that. And how do we change that conversation when in reality, it ought to be part of the cost of doing business to be inclusive for all.

Lauren Foote 16:35
Absolutely. I mean, again, I’m not sure about California, but that is outright discrimination here in Iowa. It is yeah. Okay. So same idea. And one of the interesting things, at least through my experience, because I’ve I’ve dealt with this, especially given your screen reader example. This past summer, I was working with the Ministry of Transportation, and all the onboarding documents for new hires were not screen reader compatible for some reason. So I would go in and make them all screen reader compatible. And they had no concern with this. But one of the things that helped the that the Minister of Transportation, at least, was having a separate branch specifically focused for accessibility. And I think that’s a really good idea. And I think, and I’m on the advisory committee for accessible transit at the Transportation Commission, for Toronto, and a bunch of different initiatives in in the city of these were those accessibility committees. And having people who have disabilities or have experienced working with disabilities come in and provide their expertise, I think is so key, and can really help solve some of these problems. So if somebody went to a company was in a company and said, I need Braille signage, and the company was saying, No, that’s when I would take it a step further, ideally, they would have some sort of accessibility committee that could reach out to which I know many places in Canada have. I’m not sure how it works in the United States, but many jurisdictions and municipalities in Canada have accessibility committees or boards, who deal with these types of concerns and can help them get further legal aid and advice for this discrimination. But also just bringing it up ahead of time and saying, Hey, actually, I’m not sure if you knew, but this would this here, if I if you could put Braille here I’d been helped me understand this. I’ve had a lot of conversations like that with people in planning. And just by explaining to them, a lot of times, they say nine times out of 10, they make the change right away. Because they’re just not aware like this, there’s a lack of awareness of these barriers that people face really

Michael Hingson 18:47
well. There are a lot of lacks of awareness. But let’s take another example websites, you go to a company that’s got a website, and people need to interact with it, the company goes off and gets an estimate, oh, it’s going to cost 10 $20,000 to get a programmer or programmers hired to come and make that website accessible and inclusive. How do you deal with that?

Lauren Foote 19:13
Well, in that case, I would, first you explained the benefits, right, like what I mentioned earlier, there’s a quarter of Ontarians have some sort of disability might not be blindness, it might not be the need for a screen reader, but they there are some sort of disability. numbers fluctuate depending on the region globally, it’s about 15% of people have disabilities. So if by making your website compatible for screen readers, you’re really opening up a whole new audience to seeing whatever your product is, or whatever your company is selling or what they do. And that’s only beneficial because you’re widening the scope of people who can interact with and and be a part of your company. But aside from them saying no, again, that is a human rights issue. We have Have A an act in Ontario called the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act that actually requires these types of websites to be accessible for people with disabilities by 2025, it was put in place in 2005, that the act. So a lot of companies now are hiring people to update these websites. And our provincial government does have some subsidies to do this as well. So So pointing at the attention to the subsidies that are available would be useful. Also,

Michael Hingson 20:29
a lot of places don’t tend to have the subsidies. And I’m sure that even the subsidies are limited. And depending on the website, it can be a pretty complex website. And so companies, hiccup, spending 20,000, or $30,000, or whatever the case happens to be to go in and make the website accessible for what they view as a small number of people. It doesn’t change the fact of what you said, but it still is an issue for them. Because they’re going I can’t afford to pay that money. Yeah, and and the question is, how do we get around that kind of situation? Because it is something that we are all confronted by law, I mean, look at it this way, we know that about 98% of all websites aren’t accessible and usable. And yes, a lot of that has to do with education, a lot of it has to do with the fact that people need to be made more aware of the value of doing it, they need to be made aware of the fact that in reality, there are studies that show that if you make your website inclusive, and people come and use your website, they’re going to come back time and time again, because it’s going to be hard to go elsewhere. But most businesses are not large, and can’t afford to hire a programmer. So how do they do that? And some of them build up pretty strong resistance to going off and making that change, because I just can’t afford to do that.

Lauren Foote 21:58
Yeah, and I think that’s where subsidies are come into play here. And that’s something that I’m really grateful that we have in Ontario, so they can help the small businesses that have those financial barriers. Again, I do find it hard to have. I feel like it’s a human rights issue. So it’s Oh, it is a human rights issue. So to me, it’s it’s just something that needs to be done and saying it costs money isn’t a really valid excuse to discriminate against people. And,

Michael Hingson 22:27
of course, that is of course, your view. However, if you personally has to spend money. Yeah, I agree with you. But But that is, that is the issue. Yeah.

Lauren Foote 22:38
And I think that’s why having it in legislation and policy is key. And that’s something I’m working towards doing. Because then you can say, well, it’s required. And this is discrimination at the end of the day. And if they’re going to be uncooperative, at least you can have the legislation to back you in that.

Michael Hingson 22:54
Yeah, it’s it’s a long process to enact some of those is difficult. I can’t resist bringing up the fact that I work for a company called accessibe. And I don’t know whether you’ve looked at the house. Yes. And so part of the answer can be, hey, if it only costs you $500, to make your website inclusive, because you have under 1000 pages, and a lot of the accessibility issues can be addressed by something like accessibility, why not do that? But the answer ultimately, really, is it’s education. And it’s getting people to understand what you said that is, you’re going to lose about 25% of your business, if you don’t deal with making access happen, because people will go off and look for other websites that are more inclusive. And the fact is that if you do the job, and you make the website available, and you demonstrate and using it with the other parts of the company, like I said, Braille signage, which is which is not overly complicated, but other kinds of things like accessible coffee machines, since we tend to have coffee machines in our companies now for employees, and finding ways to make all those things work. If you make that step happen, where you create that kind of inclusion, you will find that you have more loyal employees who are going to stick with you and not jump ship nearly as fast as other people.

Lauren Foote 24:23
Absolutely. And I think that’s something that’s really important to drive home to people who are more money minded about the about it, who maybe care less about the human rights aspect and more about the dollars because at the end of the day, like you said, you are increasing access to your website and you will have those loyal customers now who who can ask navigate your website properly and to who trust the website.

Michael Hingson 24:46
What kind of resistance is do you see? And so far as dealing with accessibility, whether it’s in companies or homes or or whatever What kind of really strong resistance Do you tend to see on a regular basis?

Lauren Foote 25:04
I say on a regular basis, I wouldn’t know I don’t know, if there’s one particular thing I have a lot of, I come up to face the heritage at Planning Act a lot, because this act, I kid you not will there will value the character of the building. So like whatever makes gives it its heritage value over the right to access a building for people with disabilities. And that’s I think the heritage act is something that I find conflicts with disability rights the most. And the heritage act is just it’s kind of as it sounds, it’s about preserving buildings because of their inherent heritage value, maybe it’s a 40 year old building or a 50 year old building, they don’t have to be that old. But these buildings were kind of made in a time where accessibility really was an afterthought. And they’re not generally that accessible to people with disabilities. And there’s been cases in Toronto and elsewhere, where people have bought homes, their own home, it was not a heritage building, and then a disgruntled neighbor found out they were going to renovate it, or an or a few disgruntled neighbors found out they’re going to renovate it. And then they moved to give the building heritage status and thus prevented them from performing the alterations. However, recently, there’s been a lot of outcry. And a lot of coverage in the media and the news because of this. So if there’s, a lot of these decisions have been reversed, and people are able to then do the accessibility modifications they need whoever it’s just such a clear sign that there’s so much work that needs to be done still and, and how frustrating for people who just wanted to renovate their home to have to go through all of this, just to be able to say no, I need to access this, this home. But public spaces as well, too. There’s there’s some legislative buildings in Ontario, where we had to fight to put in a ramp because they’re worried it would, you know, infringe on the character of the building. Although more recently, I have noticed a trend, definitely that people are siding with the accessibility side of things over the heritage side of things. And I am seeing a general trend towards less of these cases happening. So that’s something I’m pleased about. But also, even when we’re talking about just general. So like in my role on the Advisory Committee for accessible transit, the Toronto Transit Commission, we do a lot of on site audits in person audits of things. And before we do these audits, we’ll go we’ll go through the designs, with the whoever’s implementing a transit line, we’ll talk about all the possibilities and how to make it accessible. And it’s a very long process. And finally, when it starts being implemented, we go on site and do these audits. And sometimes, it’s just not how it’s, for example, there recently, I was looking at an LRT station, which is a light rail station for public transit. And two people who were on the audit with me were blind, and the tactile edging, which for listeners who might not be familiar with this, it’s bumps on the ground that indicate whether you’re going to go onto a busy road, or there’s gonna be a great change, or there might be hazardous materials coming up. They were flush with the ground. So they were not detectable by the two peoples walking canes, and they just walked right onto the road. And that’s just an example of some of the nuances that you capture on in person audits that you don’t really, so you would think in theory that it’s accessible, there’s the tactile edging there. I mean, among a bunch of other things they did not just talk to alleging, but it actually wasn’t. So really being in there on person helps, helps clarify things too. And that’s somewhere where I face some issues sometimes too. I mean, you can’t make a place 100% accessible. That’s not the point. It’s about creating a place that’s as accessible and as inclusive as possible. So So yeah, definitely lots of little nuances and little struggles along the way but but that’s you know, the part of what it is to fight for disability rights and disability justice and I’m happy to do it.

Michael Hingson 29:12
Well, the the other side of truncated domes or tactile edges is people in wheelchairs hate them because that bounces them around like cobblestones. My wife hated them. And I understand that also, from my perspective, as a blind person using a cane and or using a guide dog. The surfaces aren’t all that wide and it’s if you’re walking at any kind of speed, you could go right over it and totally miss them. Exactly. Yeah. And so the reality is I still think it comes back down to people doing a better job of using a cane to to know where they are, but I appreciate especially Sacramento California is a great place for this where a lot of curbs are not curbs at the corner. intersections of the corners, they go flush right down to the street. And yeah, they are very difficult to tell, you can if you’re really paying attention because the sidewalk is composed of different material than the street, if you happen to use a cane where you can notice that, and but at the same time, it is an issue that that needs to be addressed. And I don’t know what the ultimate solution to that happens to be, or really should be. But I’m not sure that the the the tactile or truncated domes, really are the ultimate solution. Because if they’re only like 18 inches, and you take a step, that’s more than 18 inches, you could go right over him. And the problem is, so I think it’s something else that has to be looked at. But you bring up an interesting point with the heritage homes thing. When we moved to New Jersey, in 1996, they were just preparing to modify the train station where we lived in Westfield, New Jersey, the way you got on the train, the way you got on the train before that was there are steps built into the side of the train car and you went up these like 18 inch steps, and you went up three of them and you’re in the car. Well, everyone started to recognize with the Americans with Disabilities Act, you’ve got to have a sidewalk that’s raised so that people can go right across, which which is fine, except people in the town started to protest and yell saying, we don’t want that because that means we’ve got to go back or around and go up a ramp or up steps. And if we’re running to catch a train, we might miss it. Because we’ll miss being able to go up those steps, we got to take this slightly longer route. And we don’t want that. Why don’t they just hire people to be there to lift at every train station to lift people in wheelchairs on trains, which was ridiculous. That’s crazy. And it took it was a major fight. So the problem is, there’s a lack of awareness, but there’s also a lack of sensitivity and a lack of understanding that you can say these things. And you can say how inconvenient it is? Why don’t you just plan on getting into the train to 15 seconds earlier or 2030 seconds earlier? And it means that more people can ride the train? And the reality is they finally Well, New Jersey Transit pushed it through and got it all addressed. And I never heard of anybody having a problem getting on the train. So of course, you know, yeah, that’s the other the other side of it. My favorite example, though, of all this is looking at a place like in Virginia Colonial Williamsburg and Williamsburg is the original capital of Virginia, it goes back to the 1700s Revolutionary War. And they did not want to change buildings in Williamsburg, like the governor’s house or the state house to put ramps in because it would have destroyed the integrity of the building from a standpoint of what it looked like and so on. Right. And I appreciate that. So we were there once my wife and I, and we said we wanted to go up into the state house, but it was up several steps. How do we get in? Well, it was a manual chair. I could have tipped her back. But we were talking about it and this guy comes up who was a guard, okay. And he said, Oh, let me show you. He said stay right here. There was a little flagstone patio right in front of the steps going up into the building. He said, so just stay here. He walks away. We’re standing on the flagstone path or patio. Suddenly the patio raises up and slides across.

Lauren Foote 33:51
He didn’t even tell you. Okay, that’d be startling. Well,

Michael Hingson 33:55
the point was that they had created a way to get people in the building that in no way interfered with the integrity of the historic value of the building. It was really cool.

Lauren Foote 34:08
Yeah, I think that’s a really cool example of ways that you can there’s there’s no excuse not to have accessibility in, in heritage buildings, there’s always a way to make it happen. And we couldn’t get

Michael Hingson 34:19
to upper floors. There was no easy way to do that. And, and we had a discussion with him and some other people about that. And they said we are constantly trying to figure out a way without destroying the building to figure out how to get to upper levels, and they’ll figure it out one of these days, but they hadn’t by the last time we were there.

Lauren Foote 34:37
I’m sure they will. Yeah. And another thing is they allowed modern day plumbing in all of these buildings, which involves removing some of the elements of buildings and maybe quote unquote, compromising the character the the heritage of the building to put in plumbing, so don’t really see if they’re using that to justify plumbing then how then how come they won’t be able to put an accessibility modifications to To me, it’s also a necessity.

Michael Hingson 35:01
I’m not sure that they did any of that at the buildings in Colonial Williamsburg.

Lauren Foote 35:05
Yeah, that sounds like a different case.

Michael Hingson 35:06
That’s yeah, that’s an unusual case. But I think for what you’re talking about, absolutely, in general. That’s perfectly true. Exactly. Yeah. But Williamsburg was a little bit of an exception, and understandably so. But even so, they worked to make it possible to get into the buildings and do things and the restaurants were accessible and, and other things they had created ways to get in. So it was a lot of fun to go there and see the creativity. Yeah, it is, it is a problem. Because the attitude isn’t just a lack of education, there is true resistance to change, there’s a resistance to inclusion, and it is something that we do need to deal with.

Lauren Foote 35:48
Exactly. And, and like, I mean, you’ve said, and I’ve said, Education definitely helps people who have that resistance to change, because a lot of times it comes from a lack of a lack of understanding and compassion for what other people are going through and experience. And then when they can be told or described to or given examples of, of how this adjustment will help people, and how people are prevented from seeing things currently, or going places currently, and how a small modification will make a big difference in people’s lives. Generally, people come around, it’s a longer process than I, I would like but it’s definitely possible. And it has and it happens.

Michael Hingson 36:31
Well, amen mentioned in Jersey Transit, tell me a little bit about accessibility when it comes to public transportation and so on. And some of the challenges or things that you’ve seen, and how are we moving toward getting that to be addressed in a lot of different ways?

Lauren Foote 36:47
Well, I guess, if I take a step back, and I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this, it’s similar across North America, systemic and institutional ableism, which is the discrimination towards people with disabilities with exists within almost all public transportation systems in North America today, I presume many other regions of the world as well, but I’m not well versed in other areas. And what I mean by that is public transportation has historically been designed and constructed in a way that has created unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, like we mentioned. And it’s therefore excluded people from with disabilities from the right to access space in the community, and public transportation is key, it gets people from space to space, it helps people get to work, it helps people get to appointments to see friends. And I should note that this access is is not just pertaining to the disability community, this access issue also pertains to racialized communities, lowing income communities and other vulnerable communities as well, just to point out, and it can be traced back to these poor planning practices I was talking about where there’s segregation and exclusion of the quote, unquote, other. And a good I guess, a good example of this, that North Americans might be familiar with his redlining. And it’s these practices where they were quite racist practices where they separated white communities and black communities and, and there’s a lot of ableism involved in in practices like this as well, although it’s more nuanced and less talked about. Anyways. So what I do today works towards removing these systemic institutional barriers that have kind of worked their way into all facets of public transportation in North America, but I focused on a Canadian context. And recently, I was working with the Ministry of Transportation where I worked to create accessible rail for people. I’ve also worked in operations planning and service design with Metrolinx, to look at ridership with the pandemic, and people with disabilities, and communicate that with external stakeholders. And my work right now, which I’m so proud of on that advisory committee, which I’ve mentioned, for accessible transit, really allows us to help, we’re actually we also retrofit old stations to make them accessible, and plan new stations to make them accessible for people with disabilities. And I feel like it’s this role where I can really make a difference in the community. It’s really fulfilling to be able to be like this station didn’t used to be accessible, but now it is, and now more people can have access to places they need to go, you know what I mean?

Michael Hingson 39:24
So what kinds of things do you do to get a station to be accessible?

Lauren Foote 39:29
Oh, it’s, well, first of all, I guess if it’s a if it’s an old station, and we’re retrofitting it, so if we’re like re constructing it to make it accessible, we we do some site visits of the old station, we talk with designers of the station, we talk with project managers, we see what could be done what I’m not an engineer, so what can be constructed. What, there’s so many discussions that happen. A lot of the stations that are older are way too narrow and don’t have elevator access. and don’t have any indication where the drop off is, I know you’re not a fan of tactile edge, or maybe not a fans too strong, but it’s something we use a lot here and I there’s miss my dad’s in a wheelchair too.

Michael Hingson 40:10
And he has an AR use. And they are used here too.

Lauren Foote 40:13
Yeah. And he has to pop a wheelie over those tactile leggings. So so I definitely know what you mean. But it’s definitely something that helps, especially in subway stations, in my opinion, because we just have those like abrupt drop off. So having much wider indications that a drop off is coming is useful. Although by all means not the only or the best way to do so. But it is affordable on a tight budget and semi semi decent. But anyway, so

Michael Hingson 40:43
if a person is using their cane well, and they have a long cane, in the accepted practice, although not among some professionals in the field is you shouldn’t have a cane that comes up under your chin. So you have about a three step warning. And even without the tactile bumps, you would be able to have enough of a warning of a drop off to be able to deal with it. But I’m not you know, I’m we’re not going to debate that it’s Yeah, around. But But what other, tell me other kinds of things that you would do to make a station accessible, safe where a person who’s blind?

Lauren Foote 41:20
Yeah, so one of the things we do, for example, for talking about people who are blind, or not necessarily buying but other disabilities as well, like mobility related disabilities, there’s a big issue with coupler gaps, which are that space between two carts on a subway. So if you know how each car kind of connects, and there’s like a big gap there, people kept falling into them or confusing them for entranceways, which makes sense, because the way they’re shaped, kind of give off the impression that you could walk into there. But it’s actually in between, it’s onto the tracks. So we designed these little flap things that come up and prevent people from doing that. So it’s small little additions. That’s just something I worked on recently, which is why I brought it up. And it’s something that that was useful to the blind community just because we’re looking at cases of people walking into the tracks or even people tripping and falling or you getting pushed in your own rushing for the door. And then another thing I was looking at was we had some billiards out because like you mentioned about the tactile edging, you said people should notice it. But people weren’t noticing it enough. So we had to pry Oh, yes,

Michael Hingson 42:32
yeah, that’s that’s definitely an issue.

Lauren Foote 42:36
And there was this concern about if there was an emergency, and only some doors could open, at least what the trains were working with, or the subway station cars were working with, there’s only one of the doors is truly fully accessible out at about five to one per cart, which is again, another issue, but that’s the way it is for now. And there was concern that Oh, what if it doesn’t if it stops in an emergency and this accessible door is half covered by these billiards? So then we made them bendable and flexible. And, and we got out there a few of my my friends who use wheelchairs or trying to wheel over them, and it was too big. So they had to read redesigned them to make them thinner. And and then we’re concerned about potentially guide dogs not knowing whether to go over it. There wasn’t there was just someone who was with me who had a guide dog who raise that concern. And then eventually, it’s a lot of trial and error. And you come and you find the solution. So we ended up doing the flexible ones, not the not the non flexible ones. And they are a little thinner, and they have warning signs. And I guess we’ll see if that helps people more than the tactile. But yeah, and again, it’s it’s we’re gonna have to review that. And then try something new. If it doesn’t work, a lot of it is is trial and error. And a lot of it’s nuanced, because everyone has unique disabilities, and everyone has unique needs because of their unique disabilities. So that’s why more voices is important, bringing more opinions to the table.

Michael Hingson 43:59
Well, so here’s another question. Yeah. To do it this way. Where’s the responsibility of the consumer in all this, for example, I submit bappy having been using guide dog since I was 14, and been mobile my whole life and using a cane for most of my life. Where is my responsibility in being able to deal with some of those things like you mentioned, the subway car, space between the cars, the connectors, and so on. If I’m using a cane properly, I would detect that we’re not dealing with an entrance to a car because I would feel the drop off rather than the than the cane, finding that there’s a car there to step into. And likewise, again dealing with the drop offs, if there weren’t tactile edgings my cane will find it far enough in advance to Allow me to stop or alter my course. So where, where is my responsibility as a consumer and all of that?

Lauren Foote 45:10
I think the same can be said for people who do not have disabilities is, if everyone used everything, the best case, in a best case, weigh, then we’d have a lot less safety measures in place because it wouldn’t be necessary. And that doesn’t just apply to people with disabilities. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. And things happen. And like I said, people get pushed when people are busy in almost all subway stations, not just the ones in here in Toronto, and people get pushed into these spaces when there’s this rush. And there’s certain certain sins instances that can’t be avoided. So it’s about maximizing the safety possible. And in this case, oh, sorry, yes.

Michael Hingson 45:48
Which is not to say consumers don’t have a responsibility. But by the same tokens, what at what token, what it is saying is that consumers should use all of their tools, but at the same time, you can’t rely on that.

Lauren Foote 46:05
Exactly. And like what, like I said, in the emergency situation, evacuation is an issue too. And that’s not necessarily the consumer, but that’s definitely not the consumers responsibility, they just need to get out. Because there was an emergency that unexpected something happened. And, and, and yes, everyone should be trying to be as safe as possible in transit systems, whether you have a disability or not. But in reality, things happen. People are distracted, it’s busy. People are confused. They might be new to the area, and not familiar might be the first time on transit. So there’s a lot of specific circumstances that come into play. So which brings

Michael Hingson 46:42
up another question, again, dealing with blindness. What you haven’t discussed is information access. So for example, I go into a station. Yes. How do I know what train is coming? Yes. You know, those kinds of things. What? And I’m not saying you don’t in any way, but I’m I’m curious, what do you do to retrofit stations to deal with those kinds of things?

Lauren Foote 47:08
We actually do quite a bit in that way. And one of the main issues of the new station I audited last month was the air conditioning was too loud for anybody to hear. Instructions. And it was really funny actually, because I don’t know if people who aren’t from Canada might not know but I’m not sure that conversion to Fahrenheit, but it gets to 40 degrees Celsius, which is extremely Oh, summer. And people think of it is very, it gets cold here too. Don’t get me right. It’s cold right now. I wish I was in California right now. But I’m, I’m here unfortunately, in cold winter, but it gets really hot.

Michael Hingson 47:44
This morning. It got down to minus five Celsius here.

Lauren Foote 47:48
Oh, that’s pretty chilly. For California.

Michael Hingson 47:51
I live up on what’s called the high desert. So we have about 20 850 feet up so we we had a little bit chill, and it hasn’t gotten all that warm yet today. But anyway, it’s better

Lauren Foote 48:03
than here. I’d take that over the weather. Oh,

Michael Hingson 48:05
I know. I hear you.

Lauren Foote 48:07
But yeah, definitely still cold. I’m surprised I yeah, I guess when I think of California, I think of like, LA and the warm beaches. So naive, I suppose.

Michael Hingson 48:17
Just keep in mind when you’re at one of those warm beaches during the winter, you can drive two hours and be up in snow country and go ski.

Lauren Foote 48:24
Wow. Yeah, I’d love to visit in the winter sometime. It’d be so nice. But yes, back to Audible indicators. The air conditioning, which goes which has to be on in the summer was was way too loud. And people couldn’t use. People couldn’t hear this. Tell the voice telling you where you were, what station you’re at or how far you had to go. And, and that was a huge issue, of course. So we’re working on fixing that. And this was a new station. And it was just embarrassing, because not for the for the designers because they worked so hard to make sure that they had all these proper sounds in place and signals in place and audible signals in place. And then the air conditioning of all things was too loud and people couldn’t hear it. But they are working to fix that. And we do have that in place. We do have Braille signs, we put places, they used to be more in the older stations, which is something we’re working on in retrofitting old stations. We also have a program, at least here and I know it’s very similar in other areas as well, where people who are new to transit for free can sign up for a program where someone accompanies them for the first few times to make sure that they’re familiar with their route and know where to go. And that’s free of cost. And I think it’s really beneficial to people, especially people who have invisible disabilities, especially even like anxiety or they might have autism or something. Those are those are some major clients who use who use that service, that free service and I think that’s helpful too. And having attendance there to help this is really important too. But of course there’s so much work that needs to be done and like I said I just pointed About a big issue that we found last month. So it’s definitely never ending.

Michael Hingson 50:04
What’s what’s happening in terms of using some of the newer technologies working toward having the ability to use indoor navigation apps and things like that? Is anything being done in Canada with that, in so far as all that goes in that regard?

Lauren Foote 50:23
Yes, but it is kind of in its infancy here, there’s a lot of talk. And there’s some meetings about how we can do that, and what what would be involved and how we can make sure it’s accessible for people. I recently did an audit. And my thesis is in, in incorporating accessibility into flood resilient infrastructure in Toronto, and I was doing an audit of a green quarter, which is a trail basically a pathway with shrubbery and trees and grass and parks, and all of that think of green space in an urban area, kind of, but a long linear path. Anyways, I digress. And this is where I sparked the conversation about about having this technology and how it be so useful for people because the GPS, GPS doesn’t really extend onto these trails. And it’d be very, very useful for people, I was walking with someone who was blind, and they said, that would really help them. And then QR codes are being added to a lot of things here. That’s something that’s being done, and it continues to be done, but but needs to still be done more. So there’s some

Michael Hingson 51:28
things, there’s a lot of work being done, though, on indoor navigation that Yeah, it’s interesting, might really be helpful, I’d love to talk with you about that offline, and maybe help you make some contacts that would help with that. But there are actually solutions that can help in moving around indoor spaces, and it can be outdoor spaces as well, that are not nearly as complex to make happen. As you might think. There’s a lot of development going into all of that. And the other service for blind people that immediately comes to mind as a service you may or may not be familiar with called IRA. Are you familiar with Ira? Yes, I’m familiar with Ira, a IRA. And the reality is that it is a service that one has to pay for. But if the government would make stations, for example, or pull City’s Ira access locations, then there’s an immediate access by any person who needs more visual information to be able to get access to that stuff.

Lauren Foote 52:35
Yeah, that’s a great idea. And I would love to continue this conversation with you offline, too, because I know you’re very well versed in this in this area, and your your insights would be so meaningful.

Michael Hingson 52:45
Well, we could we could certainly talk about that. And would love to tell me more about your thesis and the things that are going on with it.

Lauren Foote 52:52
Yeah, so it’s all I can think about right now, actually, because I’m excited to be graduate. I’ll be finishing in March. So it’s coming up. I’m not done my thesis, I’m almost there. But yeah, so I’ll be presenting it in March. And basically, I’m looking at Green corridors, which I said, are these interlinked green spaces, often with pathways, typically, in urban areas. And they are really important because they reduce urban flooding, increased biodiversity act as carbon sinks, so they take carbon out of the atmosphere, they reduce flooding, and they increase social and physical health and well being so they help humans as well. And it’s just super interesting to me, because it combines my passion for environmental sustainability, and disability justice, and also active transportation, because moving through these corridors is a form of active transportation. And what I’m doing is and like I like I’m sure you can tell I’m a big fan of in person audits because they just capture things that can’t be captured online or in a discussion even though those are valuable too. But I’m doing in person audits of these green corridors in Toronto with people with disabilities. I’m lucky I got some funding for it. So I’m able to hire people with disabilities to do these audits with me. And so far, I’ve received such valuable insight and feedback every me know that oh, and I think I’ve done nine or 10 audits so far. And I make for a few more. And the interesting thing is, like you said, with housing, like the very small, okay, maybe not small, but the cost would be very similar to doing to increase accessibility in these spaces. And a lot of things we find in terms of barriers is, is like I mentioned, a lack of QR codes on signage or lack of Braille on signage, a lack of lighting, which may be a little more expensive, but but not crazy in terms of in terms of these projects. And then certain things like there’s 100 garden beds free to the public, but none of them are raised so people with wheelchairs can’t go under intend to them if they want to. I Um, and there are a lot of things, some of the grid, some of the crosswalks don’t have any audible indicator when the light changes. So it’s they’re relatively small things to change, which is actually really nice because when when I’m because I’m working with municipalities and not municipalities have project planners and people who are organizing these green corridors and designing these green corridors to discuss what can be changed and how they can make it more accessible. And it’s a lot better to pitch more affordable things to companies, because they’re a lot more on board with them when it’s it’s a low cost barrier, especially when, when they’re on tight budgets. A lot of these are city projects that don’t don’t have huge budgets. So having these small, these small, very adjustments can make such a big difference in people’s lives and create such an equitable and inclusive space. And the thing is it with environmental planning, it’s, at least from a sustainability point of view, not less. So in general, it’s relatively new in the planning realm, and it’s gaining a lot of traction. And the issue we’re seeing here is very similar to what I was talking about with transportation is, is all these it’s what we’re trying to fix and transportation is all these segregation and exclusionary approaches are kind of being reintroduced in environmental planning. These green spaces are being put in affluent communities, they’re being put in predominantly white communities, they’re being implemented without considering the needs of vulnerable people, like people with disabilities are not to say that people with disabilities are far more but systemically they face barriers that they shouldn’t have to. And then that sense, it creates vulnerabilities that they shouldn’t have to face, and cultural, cultural barriers as well. And, and so what’s really cool is that this research, it aims to stop this cyclic exclusionary planning approach that aims to reimagine these spaces to create a more equitable place where people can enjoy it and aims to stop this cycle of exclusion of different groups. So it’s really it’s really cool. It’s really fulfilling. And I think because it’s kind of a new area of, of planning it, there’s a lot of potential for it to be done in a adjust way. So it’s nice to be able to have, and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback with the project managers I’ve been talking to. And they’re all very keen to listen and to create things in a more equitable manner. So so I’m really fortunate in the sense that I’ve received possible positive feedback, and that I’ve had such great help from from other people with disabilities in the community too.

Michael Hingson 57:37
Well, the things like Audible traffic signals are, of course, pretty expensive. And that would be yes, it needs to be used somewhat judiciously. And not every street needs to have an audible traffic signal. And you pointed it out, all the audible signal does is tells you that the lights change doesn’t tell you that it’s safe to go exactly and and I’ve seen way too many audible traffic signals in places where all you’re doing is walking across the street, there’s no complex intersection is just for curbs. And people still want to have audible traffic signals. And the fact of the matter is, it isn’t going to make you more safe. If you’re listening for traffic. And again, there are those people who can’t. So there, there are other issues there. But the reality is when you’ve got a complex intersection like or a roundabout, roundabouts are a little different. But when you’ve got several streets coming into an intersection, that gets to be more fun.

Lauren Foote 58:37
Yeah, imagine so. And the person I was talking with was was a blind person who did this audit with me. And for them, they found it really important. So So for people who might be more skilled at listening to traffic, like you or other people, it might not be as much of a as much of a need, but for some people, they find it necessary. And also, like I said, it doesn’t necessarily tell you the direction, which is another interesting problem. It would be useful if it actually repeated or like stated where to go. But but it doesn’t. But regardless, yeah, that would be something that would be less of a I guess they’re in terms of recommendations. There’s like, sooner nearer term recommendations, and then like, would be nice in the future recommendations. And that would be nice in the future recommendations. And then smaller things like raised garden beds, all you have to do is build a bed that someone can wheel under 100 beds. Yeah, it’s simple. So so it’s yeah, there’s quite a nuance there. And honestly, and I guess I did bring up a more expensive one, but there are quite a few.

Michael Hingson 59:38
Just a valid one to talk about as well. So last question, because we’re going to have to run but tell me, what are you going to do once you get your master’s degree? You graduate. So what are you going to do after you go off and graduate? Are you just going to go on and become a professional student and go get a PhD?

Lauren Foote 59:58
We’ll see about that. So, right now I’m just in finished master’s degree mode. Yes, good for you. And I’m very excited about it. And I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to have this opportunity because it’s really allowed me to help make the community more equitable. And it helped make places more inclusive for everyone, not just people with disabilities. And I find if always find it fulfilling to create equitable and inclusive communities. And I’m extremely passionate about disability justice. And I know that I’ll be very happy in a role that allows me to create inclusive and barrier free communities. I’m only I’m only 25 years old. So I’m very happy that I’ve had this opportunity to achieve all this progress in the disability community so far. And I really, I really hope that I’m able to continue in accessibility planning or in a role that contributes towards bettering the community. When I when I finished my degree, and that’s kind of my goal. And that’s where I see myself continuing.

Michael Hingson 1:00:59
Well, let me just tell you that once you get that degree, and you’re going out and doing stuff, we want to have you back and we want to hear about what’s going on forever. You’re too sweet.

Lauren Foote 1:01:11
Thank you so much.

Michael Hingson 1:01:12
But I want to thank you for being here. This has been fun. If people want to reach out to you or learn more about anything that you’re doing, how can they do that? I think

Lauren Foote 1:01:21
my LinkedIn would be best. And I gave you that link at the

Michael Hingson 1:01:25
lunch once you go ahead and say what it is.

Lauren Foote 1:01:27
Yeah. So it’s Lauren Foote. And now I have to you have to set up the address. Oh, yeah, I guess I could just spell my name. So it’s L A U R E N Foot, like the body part, but an E on the end. So F O O T E? And then you should be able to find me on Linked In. I think I’m actually looking up there. Yeah, just Lauren Foote, and I have the a cat thing in my heading. So that’s probably all you need. Yeah,

Michael Hingson 1:01:59
we have some of that in in the notes. And so I think what you would have talked about is absolutely fascinating and fun. It is worth talking about it is worth having a discussion about. And it’s worth continuing the discussion to see how it goes and see any way that we can help in educating people. And I hope that people found this valuable today, because there’s a lot that people do need to know, and they need to recognize that we are all part of society. And it’s inexcusable that some of us get left out.

Lauren Foote 1:02:34
Exactly. Yeah, I’m so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to talk with you about this today. And I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Michael Hingson 1:02:41
Well, I’d love to hear from you listening out there, please let us know what you think about all this. You can reach me as usual at Michaelhi at eaccessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or you can go to Michael hingson h i n g s o n.com/podcast. And we hope that you will, wherever you’re listening to us, and especially when you go to some of the bigger podcast places like iTunes and so on, give us a five star rating. We appreciate your ratings and your reviews and your comments. And I know that Lauren will appreciate knowing about it as well. Yeah, so please, please let us know. Please keep us posted. We’d love your thoughts. And Lauren, one more last time. Thank you very much for being with us today.

Lauren Foote 1:03:27
And thank you so much. I had such a nice time chatting with you.

Michael Hingson 1:03:34
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.

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