All About Change
All About Change
About All About Change
How do we build an inclusive world? Hear intimate and in-depth conversations with changemakers on disability rights, youth mental health advocacy, prison reform, grassroots activism, and more.
First-hand stories about activism, change, and courage from people who are changing the world: from how a teen mom became the Planned Parenthood CEO, to NBA player Kevin Love on mental health in professional sports, to Beetlejuice actress Geena Davis on Hollywood’s role in women’s rights.
All About Change is hosted by Jay Ruderman, whose life’s work is seeking social justice and inclusion for people with disabilities worldwide. Join Jay as he interviews iconic guests who have gone through adversity and harnessed their experiences to better the world. This show ultimately offers the message of hope that we need to keep going. All About Change is a production of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Listen and subscribe to All About Change wherever you get podcasts. www.allaboutchange.com
Chelsea Miller may be young, but she’s already had a lifetime full of activism. Perhaps more impressive than the work itself is the intentionality, care, and thoughtfulness she brings to it all. Listen to the latest episode of All About Change as Chelsea delves into her childhood in Brooklyn’s “Little Caribbean,” interning at the Obama White House, and founding Freedom March NYC in response to George Floyd’s murder. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Some people may see J.R. Martinez's burn scars and think that he is defined by that single day in his life. But J.R.'s journey towards vulnerability and resilience began long before his time in the military and the twists and turns it’s taken since nearly defy imagination. Listen to the latest episode of All About Change as J.R. describes his trajectory to Jay. He’s gone from recovering in a military burn unit to becoming a motivational speaker, actor, winner of Dancing with the Stars, and advocate for veterans and other charitable causes. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In the early years of the Iraq War, thousands of Americans enlisted to fight for their country, fully aware of the dangers of that decision. Or so they thought. But one insidious threat had long-lasting impacts on the health of American troops: burn pits. Meant to provide an efficient way for soldiers to get rid of their waste, burn pits instead pumped tons of toxins into the air that found their way into the lungs of nearby service members. Service members like Beau Biden, President Biden’s son, and Le Roy Torres. Le Roy remembers the smell, and the almost immediate respiratory infections and headaches that followed. Now, more than 15 years later, he’s still dealing with the fallout. Le Roy joins Jay to discuss his trajectory from deployment until now, and the work he’s doing to ensure that veterans aren’t left to deal with mounting disabilities and health costs alone. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It is said military veterans account for 1% of the American population, and certainly, women have been a part of that number, stepping up to the challenge of defending their country for generations. But when their service ends, they often find themselves without meaningful support, unable to attain the most basic levels of assistance offered to their male counterparts. Jas Boothe was in a similar situation. A single mother living in Louisiana, she was hit hard by two events: The diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Homeless and jobless, she was turned away when she sought help. Jas speaks to Jay about how she turned her struggle into a beacon of hope for female veterans in need. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Life isn’t fair. Perhaps that is why we love sports. In sports, the aspiration at least, is to even the playing field. But that endeavor in and of itself, poses many challenges. What does the inclusion of transgender athletes mean for sports? For ESPN’s Katie Barnes, a journalist who covers the intersection of gender and athletics, the answers here are never simple. Katie joins Jay to discuss the gender politics of sports at all levels of performance, as they break down in their new book, Fair Play: How Sports Shapes The Gender Debates. This conversation distills the complex and often-sensitive questions around transgender competitors, many of whom are kids who simply want to enjoy the sport they love. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Always having a love for the sea, Emily Penn took a journey from Shanghai to Melbourne, Australia that would change her life, as she saw first-hand the extent of pollution in the world’s oceans. Since then, she has organized the largest ever community-led waste cleanup operation, completed a trip around the world solely using biofuel, and created various avenues for people—from ordinary citizens to filmmakers—to discover and document the damage microplastics have done to our oceans. Emily also runs eXXpedition, a series of sailing voyages where crew members—all women—focus on researching the connection between pollution and female health. Emily joins Jay to share her insights into ocean advocacy, what lessons we can learn from the past, and how governments, companies, and communities can reimagine the way we create and consume products. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
While certain areas of Haiti remain picturesque, it’s hard to find a place within the beleaguered island nation untouched by the trifecta of violence, pollution, and corruption. Serving as executive director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine, or FoProBiM, Jean Wiener is considered by many to be Haiti’s foremost environmentalist, and the expert in all matters concerning the Haitian coast. But Activism is not something that happens in a vacuum. Jean’s decades-long efforts to clean, restore, and preserve the fragile ecosystem, is a constant balancing act between the country’s environmental issues and the basic survival needs of its impoverished population. How do you convince a fisherman struggling to put food on his family’s table that it's within his own best interest to engage in sustainable practices? This important conversation between Jay and Jean deals head on with some of those challenges - challenges that are both unique to Haiti but hold relevance for any kind of activism and advocacy. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Saengduean “Lek” Chailert was born and raised in Thailand, a place where Asian elephants are commonplace. After her secondary education, Lek started working in tourism, where she saw elephants endure horrific treatment—in circuses, riding parks, and other attractions most visitors to the country think of as benign. It was then that Lek started rescuing elephants, many of them injured and elderly, and relocating them to what is now Elephant Nature Park. The sanctuary is now home to more than 100 Asian elephants rescued from captivity, and Lek has been recognized all over the world for her tireless work. Lek talks to Jay about the rampant exploitation of these animals within Thailand’s tourism industry, and how social media has helped in bringing animal abuse to the world’s attention. Photo Credit: Save Elephant Foundation See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Genesis Butler is an environmental and animal rights activist. Inspired by her great uncle, civil rights leader Cesar Chavez, Genesis became one of the youngest people to ever give a TEDx talk, as she shared her perspective on the environmental impacts of animal agriculture. Genesis went vegan at the age of 6, and has earned numerous awards and accolades for her activism. She founded Genesis For Animals, a non-profit supporting animal sanctuaries, and she is currently leading the organization Youth Climate Save, the first youth-led environmental organization that focuses on the effects of animal agriculture on climate change. Genesis sits down with Jay to talk about how she became involved in animal activism, and how she shares that passion with her family, her community, and the world. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Noa Tishby is an actress, author, producer, and activist. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Noa Tishby was born to a Zionist family that was involved in the establishment of Israel. Raised in a secular family in Israel she wasn’t really exposed to Anti-semitism, but that changed as she got older. But when you moved to America she encountered a lot of misinformation about Israel and anti-semitism. Inspired, Tishby decided to take action. She became an advocate and founded the first Israel-focused online advocacy and rapid response organization, Act For Israel, becoming a powerful voice for Israel and the Middle East. After years of advocating for Israel, both publicly and privately. She decided to put her understanding and experience to pen in her first book: Israel: a Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth. In this conversation with Jay, she talks about how dangerous misinformation and bias produce antisemitism and how both Jewish and non-Jewish people can fight antisemitism. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/noa-tishby See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Evon Benson-Idahosa is a Nigerian native, a leading expert, a thought leader on the subject of modern-day slavery in sub-Saharan Africa, and a founder of the Pathfinders Justice Initiative (PJI). Raised by parents who were called to serve their faith, Evon became a successful English barrister, American lawyer, and partner in a New York defense law firm. Despite her success, one day she woke up wondering, "What have I done with my life?" Her passion and compassion were calling out to her. That Monday, she left her job to become a full-time advocate. Moved by the plight of Nigerian women all over the world, Evon decided to address gender-based violence and the sexual exploitation of women. She founded Pathfinders Justice Initiative (PJI), a leading international impact organization dedicated to the prevention of sex slavery, sexual violence, the liberation of enslaved women and girls, and the eradication of its root causes. PJI has worked with governments, law enforcement, and communities to rescue and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking. They have also worked to raise awareness of the issue and to change the laws that enable human trafficking. Evon's work has had a profound impact on the lives of countless women and girls. In this conversation with Jay, her journey to becoming an activist against modern-day slavery, and the power of one person to make a difference. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/evon-benson-idahosa See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dr. Benjamin Gilmer is a family physician, professor, and advocate who focuses on bringing attention to the social injustice of mass incarceration, scarcity of mental health care, and global and rural health disparities. A former neurobiologist turned rural family doctor, Benjamin Gilmer is a family physician, professor, and advocate who focuses on bringing attention to the social injustice of mass incarceration, scarcity of mental health care, and global and rural health disparities. Fresh out of medical residency, Dr. Benjamin Gilmer joined a rural clinic only to find that its previous doctor, Dr. Vince Gilmer, murdered his own father. The deeper Benjamin looked into Vince’s case the more he became convinced something was amiss and Vince’s mental and physical health. Benjamin started to research Vince’s cases and even worked with Sara Koenig of “Serial” to get to the bottom of the mystery, which inspired This American Life’s “Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde.” Through the show, they discovered the myriad of conditions that led Vincent toward these terrible circumstances. Moved, touched, and inspired, Benjamin went on to continue fighting for Vincent’s clemency until Dr. Vincent Gilmer’s release. His recent book, The Other Dr. Gilmer, and an upcoming feature film project continue Benjamin’s mission to highlight and transform the atrocity of mass incarceration of people with mental illness Please find a transcription of this episode here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Kristin Henning is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University and the Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic. She has been representing children accused of crimes for over 25 years. Kristin Henning has been representing children accused of crime for more than 25 years, and in all that time she only represented 4 white kids. The many thousands of kids she represented have all been Black and Latinx. She spent her life trying to ensure that children whose families did not have the means to defend them against a criminal justice system steeped in bias had someone to speak up for them. In her book, The Rage of Innocence, Kris weaves together powerful narratives and persuasive data. She explores the criminalization of normal adolescence and makes a compelling case that racial disparities in the juvenile and criminal legal systems are rooted in America’s unfounded, and sometimes intentionally manufactured, fears of youth of color. In this conversation with Jay, she weaves together powerful narratives and persuasive data to expose the criminalization of normal adolescent behavior and discriminatory incarceration of American youth of color. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/kris-henning See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Olivier Bernier is an award-winning director and documentary filmmaker who lives and breathes to tell stories that explore the human condition. When Olivier and his wife Hilda’s son was born with down syndrome they were entirely unprepared. Inspired, Olivier Bernier decided to document his family experience so he applied and won grant money to make a film about inclusive education. However, his family’s experiences with Emilio’s journey took the film in a slightly different direction. Forget Me Not became a documentary film that shares a family’s fight to have their son with Down syndrome included in the country’s most segregated school system in the country, the New York City public school system. Forget Me Not offers a rare look at what a truly inclusive education can look like and how it can lead to a more inclusive society so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. The production crew also included several young people with disabilities, as seen in the closing credits of the film. In this conversation with Jay, he talks about his journey as a father advocating for his child’s inclusive education in one of the most segregated school districts in the US - New York City. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/olivier-bernier See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Meggie Palmer is a confidence creator and globally renowned speaker, facilitator, executive coach as well as the founder and CEO of PepTalkHer. While still finding success as an award-winning journalist, Meggie was surprised to realize that she was facing pay discrimination. This opened her eyes to pay inequality and inspired her to take action not just for herself but for all women around the world. She left journalism to embark on a path of activism. She started her own organization - PepTalkHer - with the mission of closing the gender pay gap. ‘PepTalkHerr App’ is described as ‘fitbit for your career’, helping professionals track success and navigate their pathway to promotion. Meggie now runs a community of 60,000 professional women focused on elevating performance and supercharging their career success. In conversation with Jay, they discuss the importance of proactive and positive storytelling and how her life put her on a mission to close the gender pay gap. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/meggie-palmer See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Deborah Lipstadt is an Award-Winning Author & a Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Originally part I of a special series on confronting antisemitism, please join us as we revisit this timely episode of On All-Inclusive with Jay Ruderman. And, we’ll be back in two weeks with a brand new episode. For decades, Deborah Lipstadt has been a leading figure in writing about and combating antisemitism. She is most well-known for defeating Holocaust denier David Irving when he sued her for defamation. However, Deborah’s accomplishments span far beyond the trial that made her infamous. She is currently the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and recently received a nomination by President Biden as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. In conversation with Jay, they discuss the history of antisemitism, why there has been an uprise in hate recently, and what we can do to combat it. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/deborah-lipstat See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Meg is the CEO of Unsilenced, a grassroots organization dedicated to speaking out against institutionalized child abuse in the troubled teen and youth mental health industry. After being sexually assaulted and expelled from school for drinking at 15, Meg's parents spoke to an educational consultant and forcibly sent her to a children's facility and boarding school. For the next 17 years, Meg dedicated herself to non-profit work before eventually coming to the realization that she had been abused and brainwashed throughout her time in the troubled teen industry. Having already done extensive work in the non-profit sector, Meg eventually founded Unsilenced and has been working since then to transform the troubled teen industry. In conversation with Jay, they discuss her experiences, why parents and children fall victim to this industry, and how Unsilenced is forcing transparency into an industry where, not only is it not encouraged, but it literally doesn't exist. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/meg-appelgate See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dr. Lise Deguire is a psychologist, burn survivor, speaker, and author. At the age of 4, Lise was severely burned in an accidental yet careless fire caused by her mother. Lise spent years in the hospital recovering, undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries, experiencing bullying, and navigating the world in a house run by parents who she describes as outrageously flawed, gifted, and iconoclastic. In spite of her beginnings and losing 4 family members to suicide, Lise continually found resilience, becoming a psychologist, mother of two daughters, and disfigurement advocate. In the multiple-award-winning memoir Flashback Girl: Lessons on Resilience from a Burn Survivor, Lise tells her story of survival and shares life lessons that will help us also find the silver linings and resilience we need to come back from the brink. In conversation with Jay, they discuss her experiences and why she’s on a mission to help people find pathways toward resilience and create a paradigm shift around disfigurement. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/lise-deguire See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
**TRIGGER WARNING. This episode contains conversations about suicide and other mental health issues. If you are triggered or would like to talk to a confidential advocate, please dial the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. If you want to learn more about mental health and find possible resources, please visit this Ruderman Family Foundation link. Jason Docton is the CEO and founder of Rise Above The Disorder (RAD) a nonprofit promoting mental health in the gaming world and beyond. Not realizing he was experiencing agoraphobia, Jason dropped out of med school and became increasingly isolated besides being an avid player of World of Warcraft. On the brink of suicide, he decided to do one last final act - save someone else's life first. Jason began crowd-fundraising for mental healthcare via his gaming guild, Anxiety Gaming. Since then, Jason and his organization, which is now Rise Above The Disorder have helped over 40,000 people from across 135 countries receive free mental health care. In conversation with Jay, they discuss his incredible personal journey into activism and how creating RAD taught him that mental healthcare is a basic human right. Please find a transcription of this episode: https://allaboutchangepodcast.com/podcast-episode/jason-docton See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.