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"From Self-Hate to Self Love"

Beyond Awareness: Disability Awareness That Matters Podcast Interview with Keah Brown

Keah Brown, a Black disabled woman, sits on park bench, smiling. She is wearing blue jeans, a grey sweater, and glasses.

Diana Pastora Carson:

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Beyond Awareness: Disability Awareness That Matters. Today, I am excited to welcome Keah Brown, author, actress, journalist, and screenwriter as our guest. I've followed Keah Brown for a couple years on social media and learned of her passions and her work, and have also read her books, The Pretty One, a book of essays that explore her journey from self-hatred to self-love, as well as her timely and educational children's book, Sam's Supers Seats, which in my opinion, is the perfect book for educators and families to use with any discussions or lessons related to diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and belonging, and definitely an essential with any disability awareness work. So Keah, welcome to the Beyond Awareness Podcast, and thank you so much for being here.


Keah Brown:

Thank you for having me. I'm really excited for this conversation.


Diana Pastora Carson:

So, can you please share with us a little bit about your journey and your work and why you do what you do with so much commitment?


Keah Brown:

First of all, I love this question, and I never really thought about how I do things with commitment. So it really, I think the reason that I do all of the things that I do is because I'm a fan first. I really try to look at life now as being a fan of it, and trying to do as many things as possible that I love to do. And so a lot of the work that I do, if people are unfamiliar, is that I write a lot about identity, and what makes us who we are, how we see the world, how it impacts the world that we see, and how we see ourselves because of it. And so, whether I'm writing essays or articles or books, fiction or nonfiction or poetry, I try to figure out what makes people, who they are and why, and how that impacts how they see themselves, and also how we see each other.


And the thing that I often try to infuse in anything that I do is joy, because I think we could all use more joy. And I find that coming from that place of just being a naturally excitable person allows me to really approach whatever I do with an excitement of a fan. Because I'm a fan of all the things that I do when they're done by other people. So it's like, if I'm writing... I have a young adult book coming out next this next May, so May 9th, 2023. I'm a huge fan of young adult books. I'm a huge fan of romance. I'm a huge fan of telling stories. And so when Sam's Super Seats came about after The Pretty One, I was like, I'm a huge fan of children's books. I wanna write it. So I try to approach the things that I create from the standpoint of like, I'm so lucky to be able to create them because I'm a fan of them.


And so usually what I do with my work and my journey, in general, is try to approach life as it is, as a a gift and as this thing that I get to enjoy. And, and I wasn't always like that, but I'm so happy to be in that place of like finally feeling good in my body and with the work that I do, and as a human being in the world and trying to share that joy with others, and to let people to remember that it's okay to be excited about something. It's okay to be excited about the world, you know, even as we figure out what's going on with it.


Diana Pastora Carson:

That's beautiful. I love that! You're a fan of life!


Keah Brown:

Yes.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Wow. That's transformative. Just imagine what that could do if we woke up every morning eager to be the fan of, of other people and of life and of ourselves. Yeah. Thank you so much. So let's talk about Sam's Supers Seats. You brought up Sam's Supers seats. I am a big children's book geek, and I love uppercase L-O-V-E...love, love, love this book. It's progressive, it's diverse, it's educational, it's whimsical, and it's beautifully written and illustrated. And for me, (Keah: "Thank you.") Yeah, of course, I'm a fan of it! <Laugh>.

Keah Brown, a young, Black woman with long dark braids in her hair, wears a black t-shirt and glasses. She is holding up her children's book, Sam's Super Seats as she smiles.

And for me, there were so many valuable teachable moments within the book. And one topic that I think is an overall theme of the book is the idea of access and the correlation of ensuring access, not as an obligation or as a legal requirement, but as an act of love and friendship and community. And, you know, the topic access might seem very technical to people and kind of boring, but it really isn't. It really is about love and community. And we need more books focusing on equity, inclusion, access and belonging. So I wanna ask you, what was your reason, what was your why for writing Sam's Supers Seats? Other than you're a fan of children's books and you just wanted to write one. Was there anything else that was an impetus for having that roll out? And what is your end goal with this picture book for children?


Keah Brown:

Absolutely. I mean, I know for a fact that I wanted to write a book where there was a child that was like me. You know, when growing up, I never had representation in children's books where there was a little black girl with a disability, and she was just like hanging out with her friends. And I'm like, I never had that. And so I wanted to make sure that Sam's Super Seats was about a little black girl with cerebral palsy who was excited about life and who was excited about going back to school because I'm a nineties kid. So growing up in the nineties, my favorite thing in the world to do was to go back-to-school shopping, you know, buying all the pens and pencils and cute clothes, spending hours in the mall. And I used to do the thing where my mother would take me and my sister out to school shopping, and we would go to the mall and get our clothes, and then I would beg my mom to let me go into Borders bookstore at the end of the mall trip.


And if you don't know what Borders bookstore is, it was this beautiful, wonderful, perfect bookstore. May it rest in peace. And I used to be like, mom, can I just go in and browse? And I would browse and browse and browse and just be so excited to be near books. And I wanted to, I know that kids don't really go to the mall anymore, but I wanted to bring that back, that excitement of like, I'm going into the mall with my friends and we're gonna pick out outfits, and we're just gonna spend time with each other. And I think the thing about Sam is that she in many ways is the kid that I wish I was friends with at that age. You know, she's precocious, she's confident, she's excited, and I just wanted to create a character where it was like, she is disabled.


And that is a part of the story, but it is not the sole thing about the story. Like, she's disabled, but she has friends who love her, and they take care of each other. You know, they help each other when they need it. They cheer each other up when they need it. They're very excited to exist in the world and get back to school and have fun. And so for me, setting Sam's Super Seats in a mall where she could introduce the world to, you know, a super seat in training, or she could introduce the world to her favorite chair at home, or her mom's back seat. It was just the idea of like treating it like it was an adventure, letting rest be the adventure was the reason I wanted to write this book. Because I think we, we talk so much about, you know, kids going, going, going and having all this energy, but what does it mean when they also just need a break? And so, to me, this book was really important because I wanted to teach kids not only the importance of rest, but that, that it can be fun as well, that listening to your body can be fun. And, you know, spending time with your friends and your mom and the people who love you can be fun, but it doesn't mean that you have to constantly keep going and going and going in order for an adventure to happen.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Right. And in order to not feel like, or to, yeah, to not feel like you are imposing on your friends. And also you, there was just so much love and acceptance, and this is just normal and natural, right? This is how it is. And we're friends and we take care of each other. You know, maybe take care of isn't the right word, but we honor one another and we honor one another's needs. So I love that. Just so powerful. So powerful. We need more books like that that really set an example for kids.


Keah Brown:

I really think it's a lot about interdependence, you know, wanting to make sure that people are no longer afraid, especially children. Cause I think you learn it at an early age where children are not afraid to ask each other for what they need, and they're not afraid to show up for each other and be kind to each other and give each other care. And I think for me, Sam's Super Seats is a really good introduction into the idea of interdependence, of allowing yourself the space to need other people and to be needed.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Mmm. I love that. What a great resource for educators and parents alike to have that, not only to model for their children, but to model for us as educators, this is, this is actually the what I should be modeling for my students and supporting them in doing with each other.


Keah Brown:

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yeah. All right. I'm gonna switch over now from our wonderful Sam's Super Seats to just you. You are admittedly obsessed with pop culture and lipstick and music and movies, cheesecake, Paramore, and Demi Lovato, just to name a few. You bring all this and more into your book, The Pretty One.


Keah Brown:

Yes.

Keah's book, The Pretty One, standing upright, and another copy laying next to it.

Diana Pastora Carson:

Aside from your humanity and all your coolness factors, you discuss your disabilities and your journey from self-hatred to self-love as a disabled person, and more specifically, as a Black disabled young woman. As I read The Pretty One, I found such relevance to young people who are confused or questioning their identity, their value, and their beauty. Here's a quote I'd love for you to read for our listeners, and then I'd love for you to elaborate on it a bit in terms of societal narratives about disability.


Keah Brown:

So here is the quote: At the time, I didn't recognize that I was feeding into the narrative of shame and disability that society had created, that I saw someone so broken that she could never be whole again. Yes, my insecurities were self-made. But they had been encouraged and influenced by a society that had taught me early on that I was not supposed to feel beautiful in a body like mine. I was supposed to hate it until the day that I died. The minute I stopped listening to that kind of thinking was the minute I started living.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Wow.


Keah Brown:

Yeah.


Diana Pastora Carson:

That is such an empowering epiphany, Keah.


Keah Brown:

Thank you so much. Yeah, no, I mean, I think a lot of it really was just this, this...the matter of fact is that I spent so much of my life feeling like I was broken and wrong and, you know, two halves of a very bad person, just because I was disabled. And I spent so many years building up this sort of armor where I thought I was protecting myself, you know. I would say really negative things about myself and be really hard on myself and tear myself down because I thought I was preparing myself for the world. And then when I realized that the only person who was fully believing all these things about me was me, I had to do the active work of saying no, I don't wanna wake up today and be mean to myself. I don't wanna wake up today and calm myself names, or pick out problem areas, or, you know, tear myself down because I think I have to.


So, like, the minute that I stopped saying to myself, you have to hate yourself because the world doesn't see you when you feel invisible, was the minute that I was like, okay, you can start living your life now. But that took years and years of work, and therapy, and active choice of saying even the four things that I like about myself in the mirror, which I'm sure we'll get to later. But I, I think because I was so convinced that, you know, no one loving me romantically or not seeing myself on TV or film or in magazines, automatically meant that I didn't matter. And I had spent so many years believing that. Once I got out of that place of just, Keah, you're wrong, you're broken, you're, you're useless, you suck, I got into a place of like really understanding that everybody is going, there are gonna be so many people who say no to me, but I don't have to join in, you know. I can say yes to myself because there's gonna be people lined up to say no to me, to make me feel small or terrible. But I don't have to feed into that.


I don't have to feel that way just because somebody might expect me to just because I expect me to. That, to me, the greatest thing that I have done in my life thus far is say, no, you are worthy, you are beautiful, you matter. Because it allowed me to get up everyday and be excited to live. You know, it allowed me to get up everyday and feel like the world was my oyster, even if it wasn't, even if it was just the day I spent watching romantic comedies. It allowed me to feel like I was actually living my life and not just waiting for the day that I died.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yeah. Where did that negative self image originate? You know, how did that come about? Because you, you had, you know, your grandmother loved you, your mother, yeah your twin sister, your cousins, you had a very strong family network of love surrounding you. I believe it was your uncle as well. (Keah: "Yes.") People were there for you. People were a stand for you. So how did messages of self-doubt come to you? Like, how did that happen?


Keah Brown:

So I think a lot of it, and, and I have told this story before, but when I was like 12 or so, there was a kid in school who made fun of me in the cafeteria, and he made fun of the way that I limp. And you would think that it's a small moment in a vast amount of moments in your life. But to me, that shifted everything because I had the love of my family and my friends and, you know, cousins and uncles and aunts. I was very, I'm very lucky in the love and support department in a way that I don't think a lot of disabled people are, I was. But I think just having that lone dissent from somebody who who was not related to me and didn't already have a predisposed love for me, I was like, oh, this is it.


This must be the truth, you know? And even though my family loves me and they care about me, I was convinced like only they ever will. And it really shifted the way I saw myself when I was looking at, you know, watching my favorite rom coms and, and listening to my favorite music and doing all these things and not seeing somebody who looked like me. To me, that just solidified what that kid was doing in the cafeteria that day. It was like, oh, you hold no value. You're, you know, you are useless. You don't matter. And so it was like, I was getting love from my family and my friends, but it didn't feel like enough after that moment, you know. It felt like they loved me, but I was like, I don't love me. I'm the worst. Nobody else will, you know, I'm gonna spend the rest of my life only ever being loved by people who are related to me. And so it really got to a point where I was taking more stock in what I thought people hated about me than what I knew my family loved about me.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Right. Yeah.


Keah Brown:

And it all started in the cafeteria, and I think the thing that I, that I feel now at 31 is like, it was just one moment. I'm sure that that kid doesn't even remember doing it. I'm sure that, you know, he went on about his life and everything was fine, and, and I even went on about my life and like, it's not the worst thing that happened to me in the world, but I think it was the thing that shifted the way that I saw myself. And so it had a huge impact on me in terms of just feeling like this is the answer to a question I had long been asking myself. Once you hit, you know, once you hit puberty and you're trying to figure out who you are and what it all means, I think I took that as an answer to the question of who I was and what value I held in a way that I would never now, you know, as an adult. But we don't know that.


We don't know then what we know now. And I think for me, it's like small things like that really can't shift how you see yourself. And it really took me years and years and years after to feel like, no, I can, I can lay that down. I don't have to carry that sort of feeling of, you know, uselessness or that feeling of not being good enough from when I was 12. I don't have to carry that with me because I'm an adult and things have changed. And I think I just, there was such a part of me, especially when I first started therapy, there was such a part of me that always believed I was deep down that little 12 year old girl who didn't matter and who was just only worthy of being made fun of. And I think once I was able to lay that down, I became a much more fully realized human being who was excited to be in the world.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Well, thank goodness that you did, that you sought the support, and that, thank you so much for your authenticity in the book and sharing that journey with so many others who may be experiencing the same, you know, pivot that for the worst in self-image that came about at a certain point in time when an element of society put a different message in their minds. So thank you.


Keah Brown:

Absolutely. And I think that was like, I think one of the really exciting things to me about writing The Pretty One was first, I wrote it for myself, you know. First I wrote it thinking like, okay, maybe five people will read this, and that's okay. Like, I wanted to write a book that I wanted to read and to have people still be able to connect to it, you know, this many years later. And to have it have a shelf life that was longer than the six months that I was worried was going to pass, and that it was just gonna be over <laugh>, um, has been the, has been the coolest thing about it is that it's reaching people and they're, you know, taking things from it and it matters to them. And I think that makes it all worth it, you know, going through all of this and talking about it and giving people the space to talk to each other about, you know, similar things that they went through has been the biggest blessing of all for it.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yes, absolutely.


All right, so a lot of my listeners are interested in DEI work in schools and disability awareness. And one thing that I notice is that oftentimes when non-disabled and even some disabled people are talking about disability or doing disability awareness, they'll say things like, she accomplished X, Y, Z "in spite of" her disability. And I wanted to address this because although it's well-meaning, this statement completely misses the point. I took your quote from Simon and Schuster's website, and I'd love for you to read it for us and then tell us why it's important for educators to understand. I think that this quote will help people to understand why that, you know, she accomplished X, Y, Z in spite of her disability, does miss the point?


Keah Brown:

Yeah. Okay. So the quote is, "My point is that I do all these things in a disabled body, not because I am brave or bold, but because I like doing them and I would love doing them in anybody. I adapt to the world because I have to do so in order to live. My disability is cerebral palsy, and it affects the right side of my body, effectively altering my motor skills and reaction time, as well as my strength or my bones on that side. I didn't do these things in spite of anything, except for maybe people who told me I'd be nothing and no one." (Diana: "Yeah") And essentially, yes. And essentially what that quote means is it's this idea that people are, that we as disabled people are doing things despite anything or anyone. And the reality is disability happens because we live in a society that isn't designed for us.


And I think what happens in education is we focus so solely in education on the idea of like person-first language. And I think that it's a, it's a debate, I think, amongst disabled people. But I find that sometimes when people say, oh, she's a person with a disability, or, you know, she just happens to have a disability, it's like, it's not a tote bag that I carry with me every day. It is a part of me. I am a disabled person. And I think sometimes educators, you know, they mean really well, and they're trying their best, but there's a sort of desperation to separate out the disability from the student or the disability from the person. And it's this idea of like, oh, she did these things despite disability. But it's like, no, I did them with my disability.


I adapted to the world around me. And, and I find that when I talk to educators and when I talk to people in schooling systems, I remind them that their disabled students are people first. They're not, you know, they're fully-realized human beings who deserve to have their disability treated with as much respect as, you know, they would, they would treat any other student. And I find that people who are so focused on being like, oh, so-and-so did something because, or despite their disability, it's because they wanna do the whole inspiration porn thing. They wanna be like, look what this person can do. So you should be able to do that. And it's like nobody's lived experience is the same. Maybe somebody can be disabled and do cartwheels and, and you know, ride a bike or whatever. I can do that. And so I think what we have to do is separate out the idea that because one or two or three disabled people can do something, that doesn't mean that those other people can do it. And it doesn't mean that that makes them less than because they're not doing something despite disability. They're doing something with their disability. And that should be, I think, celebrated as well, instead of trying to separate it out like it's this bad, terrible thing when it's just a part of who people are.


Diana Pastora Carson:

That was beautifully stated. Thank you. Thank you. So then, just for clarity's sake, I want my listeners to know what are directly the barriers or obstacles that a person with a disability has to overcome if it's not the disability, you know, the impairment itself that they're overcoming. What, what is it that people with disabilities have to overcome on the daily?


Keah Brown:

I mean, honestly, it's just being in a world that's not designed with us in mind, you know, I think everybody talks about curb cuts and, you know, broken railings and broken elevators, and those absolutely matter too. But it's also about like policy changes and making sure that when you design a building or you design something, you think about disabled people and that we have access to all the things that we need. Again, access is coming right back up, access to comfortable seating, access to buildings that have, you know, bigger spaces so that people who are wheelchair users can get in and out of them safely, access to healthcare and medical needs. It's like, I can't speak for an entire group of people, but I can't say that the thing that makes disability the the most exhausting and the hardest thing to deal with is the fact that you live in a society that does not think about disability.


They're like, oh, hey, we passed the ADA, everything's good to go. First of all, there's so many places and people and things that don't even care about the ADA. And you know, there's buildings without working elevators. There's places where the only way to get in and out of something is to use the stairs. And not every disabled person can use the stairs. You know, you go on public places and they don't have anywhere to sit because they don't want people to stay long. And, you know, all these, like, there's like, there used to be all these park benches and everything, and now there's like stuff on the benches so that people can't, you know, so that people without homes can't lay on them or sit on them or even rest a while. We live in a society that's so bent and, I think it's because of capitalism, but it's, we live in a society that's so eager to keep going and going and going and, you know, hustle hard and work hard and et cetera, et cetera.


That being disabled in a world like that and being a person who needs more time even, or who needs longer breaks or who needs to rest their body, it's impossible to, because you for long anyway, you know, the only way that you can recuperate is if you're at your house. And maybe, and hopefully your home is accessible and, and the like. And I just find that the thing that makes disability the hardest is the inability to think through an accessible and inclusive design, whether that's in buildings, in homes, in public spaces. You know, that to me, I think is the biggest hurdle because we don't have access to, you know, accessible homes or buildings or places, and we don't have access to healthcare, and I think, in a way that we need it, in a way that we deserve. And those are the bigger things than just being like, oh, somebody's disabled. Like, that's the problem. It's like, no, it's not the problem that we're disabled. It's the design. That's the issue.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yes, yes, yes. So, you know, I was gonna ask, how might this understanding play out in terms of what we teach children about disability when we do disability or DEI work in schools? But I wanna combine that with another question: Is there anything that you would like to say to educators and to families of children with disabilities, and specifically to kids who experience disability, including those who are multiply-marginalized?


Keah Brown:

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot. You have time?


Diana Pastora Carson:

<laugh> Yes. Do you have time!? I appreciate your time.


Keah Brown:

So yeah, I think one of the, one of the major things that I would say to educators specifically is that remember that your student is more than their disability and that they deserve respect, care, and you know, the sort of love that you give other students who aren't disabled. I find that oftentimes, the stories that I hear from parents of kids with disabilities or disabled kids is that they feel like the educators in the school system don't really see their children as valued members of the school system. They don't really see them as people who matter and as people who can contribute to society. And so oftentimes it's like we're trying to get these kids in and out, in and out. And I understand that that's, you know, the way that it works, but it shouldn't work that way. It should be that we listen to the concerns of disabled kids and students, and we ask them what they need and also listen and stop letting ourselves, you know, be so focused on patting ourselves on the back for really allowing them in our classrooms.


I find that oftentimes what happens is they'll be like, oh, you know, this kid is disabled, but like, don't talk about that with the other students. Like, don't look at them, don't ask questions. And I think when you're at that age, it's important to ask questions, and it's important to figure out what's going on so that, you know, these kids aren't in these classrooms feeling isolated and like they don't matter. And kids being afraid to look at them and ask them questions or like, you know, figure out what's going on or how to approach these conversations. I think these conversations need to happen not just in the IEP meetings or in, you know, school conferences with students. It should happen, or with their parents, it should happen with students in the classroom. And there should be a much more comprehensive education in general about disability within the school curriculum, in my opinion, because when I was going through school, I didn't learn anything about any, you know, disabled people. No, we didn't talk about disability at all.


The only time that we talked about disability was if I was in like a math class that I needed help in because I'm not good at math. You know, we didn't have any sort of comprehensive education about disability. And I think from what I've heard, a lot of times today students feel like, you know, they're not really being heard or understood. They're sort of just being cast aside because teachers and educators have no idea how to deal with disabilities. So there needs to be training in that aspect as well. And so I'd say to teachers today, please just be conscious of the way that you speak to your disabled students and the way that you feel, like confront your own biases (Diana: "Yes.") about the way that you teach and care for and educate disabled students.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yes. And, and seek out resources written by disabled individuals as well. (Keah: "Absolutely.") such as, you know, Sam's Super Seats and The Pretty One and so many other disabled writers and disabled writers of color. I think it's really important that we immerse ourselves and that we listen to podcasts like this one and there's so many others.


Diana Pastora Carson:

So finally, tell us Keah, about #DisabledAndCute, your TEDx talk and many more projects in the works. I know you have one you said coming up May 9th, 2023 that I'm excited about.


Keah Brown:

Me too. Okay, so with Disabled and Cute, I created it on February 12th, 2017. Wow. That's been a long time. And essentially it's this hashtag that went viral of me celebrating finally feeling good in my body, and finally feeling like I could say to the world, "Hey, I'm disabled and cute." There's no either or. It was really a celebration of me saying, it's so good to finally feel excited about life and to feel like waking up in the morning was a positive thing. And what it turned into was a place for other disabled people to feel comfortable and excited to share the things that they like about themselves. And it turned into this thing that went global. And I was honestly floored by it because I had no idea that that was possible. But I, I'm really grateful for it because it helped further catapult my career for me.


But also I think it gave disabled people the space to just say, yeah, you know what, you're right. Here's you know, these things that I like about myself. Here's what I'm learning to like about myself. Here's this journey that I'm on. And you know, that that hashtag led to my book, The Pretty One, which led to Sam's Super Seats and, you know, my next book coming out, but I'll get there. And then with the TED Talk, the TEDx Talk, that was a dream come true. You know, we were in the height of the pandemic and I got an email and they were like, Hey, we would love for you to do a Ted Talk. And I was like, me, I spent all college and after college watching TED Talks. I thought that they were just so cool and the people doing them have lived such, you know, interesting and exciting lives.



Book cover of You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame, Resilience, and the Black Experience

And I was like, you want me to do one me? And so I shot it from my mother's house in, I think it was, was it early 2020 or early 2021? I think it was early 2021. And it was so cool because I got to wear my favorite power suit by Argent. It's this pink, like bright pink, beautiful suit by Argent. And I just felt so cool and powerful and I talked about The Pretty One and my own journey of learning to love myself and what that looked like. And then I also was in an anthology called You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame, Resilience and Black Experience edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown. And the reason I was in that was because Tarana Burke and I did this thing called Share the Mic Now, where, I think it was like 50, Black influential people took over the accounts of 50 White influential women.


And we met because of it. And she asked me to be in the anthology, and I said, absolutely, where do I sign? Please and thank you. And that was a dream come true. And I got to talk about vulnerability, which is something that I touch on in The Pretty One and sort of being excited again about sharing my story in terms of how I got to where I am today and where I hope that leads me. And then, now I'm co-writing a musical, which has been so fun. I can't sing, but co-writing a musical is so fun, <Diana laugh>, I'm a terrible singer. But it is such a fantastic experience so far. And then I'm also, I've got a book coming out. It's a young adult novel about this girl who is creating the best summer ever list with her best friend. And she finds that, she figures out that, she's falling in love with her best friend.


And so she has to navigate sort of understanding what that means for their friendship and also what that means for her life. And it's called the Secret Summer Promise. That'll be out May 9th, 2023. And I'm really, really excited about it because fiction is my first love. So to be able to write as many fiction books as possible is my dream. And, you know, to be able to, to continue with that process from Sam's Super Seats onto this young adult book has been literally a dream come true. And I've got, you know, some really cool things in the works that I'm really excited about.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Well, that's fabulous news. I'm really happy for you.


Keah Brown:

Thank you.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Yes, thank you so much. Keah Brown, where can our listeners find you?


Keah Brown:

Oh, I'm very on the internet. I can be found on Instagram at Keah_Maria. You can also find me on Twitter at Keah_Maria for however long Twitter is around. I don't know what's been going on lately, but we'll see. I'm also on Facebook at The Keah Brown and you can find my work at KeahBrown.com.


Diana Pastora Carson:

Wonderful. Thank you so much, Keah.


Keah Brown:

Thank you for having me.


Diana Pastora Carson:

This was just the most delightful experience for me.


Keah Brown:

Thank you. Me too! Thank you so much.


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The preceding is an interview transcript from my podcast, Beyond Awareness: Disability Awareness That Matters. Special thanks to Keah Brown for her time, and passionate work in the world!

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Do you have a burning desire to have a more equitable and inclusive school culture? Are you a person who understands the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion work in schools? But when it comes to disability, you're just not sure you know the right things to say and do. Maybe you're a special education teacher or a general education teacher, a specialist or an administrator, and you may know a lot about disabilities, but not necessarily about the experience of being disabled by society. You're interested in disability awareness that will actually make a difference, but you feel stuck. Maybe you're still experiencing a lack of guidance and lack of research-based disability awareness materials or strategies. Maybe you're seeing segregation on your campus and a lack of belonging for all students. Maybe you feel frustrated due to resistance to inclusion. And you're afraid that you're not qualified to lead the charge for disability inclusion in your DEI work.


You know, there's gotta be a better way, but you're not sure what it is. If this is you, then I have a couple things that might be helpful to you. First off, I invite you to take advantage of my free resource called The Five Keys to Going Beyond Awareness. All you have to do is go to GoBeyondAwareness.com/keys, and I'll send you my important tips for starting your journey toward a more inclusive school culture. And if you've already started the journey and are wanting more to keep you grounded and moving forward in disability awareness that is based in dignity, respect, and research, then head over to GoBeyondAwareness.com and sign up for my Compact Digital Beyond Awareness course filled with valuable information and resources. In it, you'll learn the foundations of disability awareness strategies that align with research so you can feel confident in your diversity, equity, access, inclusion, belonging, and disability awareness endeavors. Again, just head on over to GoBeyondAwareness.com.


Finally, I'm thrilled to announce my newest resource now available through National Professional Resources, Inc. This is a laminated trifold, quick, easy, convenient resource packed full of foundational, research-based tips for your disability awareness discussions and events. It's called Beyond Disability Awareness: An Educator's Guide.



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