power-of-disability, Social Justice, Podcast

The Power of Disability Part 6 — with Barb Goode

May 27, 2021
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“I think words are very powerful. If we use complicated words, you're going to leave people out of conversations.” — Barb Goode

This final installment of the Power of Disability series highlights an unsung hero of the disability movement, Barb Goode. Host Al Etmanski is in conversation with Barb about her work around self-advocacy for people with learning and developmental disabilities. Barb speaks to the importance of plain language and the harm that comes from labelling people. She also recounts organizing efforts around a milestone legal struggle to prevent the forced sterilization of people with disabilities.

In this interview, Barb is joined by her friend and colleague, Aaron Johannes. In addition to being connected through involvement with PLAN, they collaborate on consulting projects around disability and inclusion with ImagineACircle.

About Our Guests

Barb Goode

Barb is a self-advocate leader who has helped shape the disability movement into what it is today. She is a founding member of BC People First, and has been on the Boards of Inclusion BC, the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), and International Inclusion.

She is presently serving on the board of directors for PLAN Institute, and also works with ImagineACircle, a consulting collaborative, that acts as both a consultant and voice for inclusion.

In 1995, Barb addressed the UN General Assembly (GA), becoming the first self-advocate to present to the GA. She also played a very important role in 1986, when the Supreme Court of Canada made The Eve Decision and ruled that developmentally disabled adults cannot be forcibly sterilized. Barb was on the Editorial Committee for CLBC and contributed to their Just Say HI campaign. In 2011, Barb published her memoir, A Goode Life, and is currently working on the next edition.

Barb is a prolific presenter and workshop co-host for a variety of groups including; Spectrum Consulting, BC Representative of Children and Youth, ESATTA as a voice for self-advocate leadership, and most recently on a webinar with Cornell University Citizen-Centred Leadership series.

Aaron Johannes

Dr. Aaron Johannes is the proud parent, with his partner Gary, of six fostered, adopted and nearly-adopted children with various labels. For 30 years, until his retirement in 2018, Aaron was one of the Co-Directors of Spectrum Society. 

During his time with Spectrum Society, he got the opportunity to experiment with many different support models and interact with organizations around North America, as the leader of Spectrum Consulting. He has also served as the provincial advisor for BC People First. He returned to university with an interest in addressing the gap in research around people with intellectual disabilities, and leadership. He completed an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies, which examined leadership opportunities in a small agency, focused on authentic inclusion; and a Ph.D. focused on Critical Disability Studies and leadership. 

He is currently working on a book about Person Centered Planning as an emancipatory practice. He runs a small consulting practice with colleagues, imagineacircle, and lately has been working with school systems in rural areas.

He teaches at Douglas College in the Indigenous Pathway, and Disability & Community Studies; and at the Justice Institute of BC. Aaron is passionate about community education, and frequently hosts workshops and learning groups in person centred planning, community development, Critical Disability Theory in practice, leadership and media studies. He is a PLAN board member, a Taos Institute Associate, the Vice President of Unity of New Westminster Spiritual Community, and a board member of his daughter’s Microboard.


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