Today’s episode is about natural disasters and emergency preparedness with Germán Luis Parodi and Valerie Novack. German is the Co-Executive Director of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, a coalition of local, national and global disability rights, emergency management, public health and community leaders and allies committed to equal access and whole community inclusion before, during and after disasters. Valerie Novack is a Board Chair of the Partnership. We’ll talk about the interconnections between pandemics and disaster planning, systemic issues that impact the disability community, and the need for improvements in infrastructure.
Preparations for the Next Pandemic Must Improve Resources for Those At Greater Risk, Valerie Novack, April 15, 2020, Center for American Progress.
Many Tornado Alley Residents With Disabilities Lack Safe Options In A Storm, Jackie Fortier, February 18, 2020, NPR.
In California wildfires, disabled people may be left behind, Alice Wong, November 13, 2018, Curbed SF.
NCD Letter to FEMA regarding NCD research into institutionalization of people with disabilities during and after disasters, November 28, 2018, National Council on Disability.
Effective Communications for People with Disabilities: Before, During, and After Emergencies, May 27, 2014, National Council on Disability.
Germán Parodi is Co-Executive Director of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, the only disability-led organization with a focused mission on equal access, disability rights and full inclusion of people with disabilities, older adults, and people with access and functional needs before, during and after disasters and emergencies.
Germán is a disabled Puerto Rican with a strong disability rights activism and advocacy background. After acquiring his spinal cord injury at the age of 17 in Puerto Rico, he moved to Philadelphia in 2004 seeking better healthcare, housing, and accessibility, where he worked at Liberty Resources Center for Independent Living for over 5 years, and got actively involved with and is now a leader of Philly ADAPT. Germán is currently President of Disabled In Action of PA and Secretary of Trach Mommas of Louisiana. Germán has devoted his life so that all persons with disabilities have the services, supports, and access to choose how and where to live. Germán’s experience as the first disabled first-responder when he was deployed to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and his nationwide advocacy efforts for full inclusion and equal access for people with disabilities before, during and after disasters makes him a strong advocate and presenter to empower others in and out of the disability community. Germán is also active in global disability inclusive disaster risk reduction as the United Nations Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point for Persons with Disabilities in the Américas.
Valerie Novack (she/her) is a Black and Latina disability policy researcher focusing on inclusive infrastructure and emergency management practices. She focuses on integrating the expertise of lived experience and grassroots efforts of marginalized peoples into policymaking at the local, state, and federal levels. Valerie was a 2019 Portlight Fellow focusing on legislative solutions to inaccessible emergency response practices in the United States. Currently, Novack serves as the Board Chair of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, teaches a college course on disability policy and justice, and works as a disability policy fellow. Novack has a bachelor’s degree in disability studies and urban planning from the University of Toledo and a master’s degree in disaster preparedness and emergency management from Arkansas State University.
Valerie is a proud, queer and MAD woman who loves to travel, make music, and spend time with her husband, Chase, and her dog, Mac.
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Geraldine Ah-Sue, Audio Producer
Alice Wong, Writer, Audio Producer, Host
Cheryl Green, Text Transcript
Lateef McLeod, Introduction
Mike Mort, Artwork
Theme Music (used with permission of artist)
Song: “Dance Off”
Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp
“Gears Spinning” by Podington Bear (Gears Spinning by Podington Bear is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License.)