File 0092-0094: The Sticky, The Dead and The Feathered
In this three-part episode our hosts, Cayla, Nathan and Halli take a look at three cases of intrigue:
- The Great Maple Syrup Heist: You know what's more expensive than a barrel of crude oil? A barrel of maple syrup. So much so that between 2011 and 2012, nearly 3,000 tonnes of it out of the Canadian Reserve, valued at $18.7 million CAD
- Where We Bury Our Dead: Cemeteries are fascinating. I think a lot of people would agree with that statement. Certainly some may get the creeps when walking the silent paths through rows of headstones and monuments, knowing there are hundreds of deceased below their feet. But cemeteries are perfect encapsulations of our history, and they're important markers that tend to get overlooked.
- Cassowaries: One of the largest birds in the world and known for their vicious reputation, cassowaries are birds that not many know a whole lot about it (other than the fact that they most definitely want to kill you). Except that they don't, and they're actually pretty cool
For the full source lists visit the topic page
Bonus! At the start of episode 0092, Halli shared some information about Judith Heumann:
"Disability only becomes a tragedy when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives — job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example," she said. "It is not a tragedy to me that I'm living in a wheelchair."
With today's news of the passing of Judy Heumann, I wanted to take a second to spotlight her and her work, before we get into my main topic. Heumann was a disability and human rights juggernaut, the kind of person who should have been spotlighted with every move she made. Sadly, it's only been in the last few years that her name became widely known. Her memoir, Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist, is an incredible read. From the title alone, it's not hard to see the type of person she was - fierce, outspoken, caring, and, as she put it, unrepentant.
Judy contracted polio in 1949, at the age of two. When her parents tried to enroll her in kindergarten, they were turned away because the principal said letting a girl in a wheelchair go to school would be a "fire hazard".
In college, Judy studied to become a teacher, specializing in speech therapy; she was told it was one of the few professions "open to a young woman in a wheelchair". But she was deemed a fire hazard by New York City's Board of Education in 1970, because she wouldn't be able to evacuate children during an emergency. On top of that, they denied her a teaching license. Judy sued, her story gained press coverage, and other disabled people began to write to her, telling their own stories.
Fueled by all of this, she co-founded Disabled in Action, a protest group "modeled on the work of Black civil rights activists, the women's movement, and anti-Vietnam War protesters".
You may know her name from a series of historic protests in the 1970s: shutting down rush hour traffic on Madison Avenue outside President Nixon's reelection campaign headquarters; taking over a federal building in San Francisco over 26 days in 1977. Judy memorably said to a federal official during that protest: "We will no longer allow the government to oppress disabled individuals. We want the law enforced. We will accept no more discussion of segregation," she said in a voice that quivered with emotion and indignation. "And I would appreciate it if you would stop shaking your head in agreement when I don't think you understand what we are talking about.
Nixon's initial veto, then signing, of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 fueled the fire even more during this time. This act expanded programs to help people with disabilities, but did not initially prevent discrimination against those same people. These protesters forced then President Jimmy Carter to sign Section 504, which did provide these protections, and become a model for the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), signed in 1990. Judy was there for the signing by President George H.W. Bush. Later on, Judy worked with President Clinton and Obama to help spread ideas about civil and disability rights around the world.
Heumann appreciated the growing recognition of her work and the way demand for her time had grown starting in 2020. She was generous with that time and kept mentoring young activists around the world. She started a podcast and traveled or, during the pandemic appeared on Zoom, to keep up with a growing demand to hear her speak.
"We're simmering to a boil," she liked to say about seeing her work for the disability civil rights movement spread into the mainstream and across the globe.
And in 2020, her name become widely known because of the documentary "Crip Camp', about her time at Camp Jened, a summer camp for disabled people in New York state that became the ground floor for many disability rights activists.