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Ryane Nicole Granados and Being An Ally On Issues of Race and Disability

Ryane Nicole Granados is a Los Angeles native and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in various publications including The Manifest-Station, Forth Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, Scary Mommy, The Atticus Review and LA Parent Magazine. Her storytelling has been showcased in the national stage production Expressing Motherhood and KPCC’s live series Unheard LA. Ryane is best described as a writer, professor and devoted wife and mom who laughs loud and hard, even in the most challenging of circumstances. She and her husband have a blended family of four sons that range in age from 27 to 5 years old with two grandsons!

Ryane's 12 year old son was born with optic nerve hyperplasia, a spectrum condition that Ryane says in many ways "almost presents as an invisible diagnosis." She was a fierce advocate for her son from the moment he was born, trying to make sure eventually that teachers and the educational system understood the various ways that her son's visual deficit impacted him, including the fact that his hearing is heightened .

In today's podcast, Jason and I were thrilled to laugh a lot, along with Ryane. "I believe in laugh therapy," Ryane said, "I believe it feels good to laugh." She encourages everyone in her family to laugh, believing that you can "put some of those worries on the shelf and find something to laugh at, that it's kind of like what we manage to do with those detours in our life." Along with laughter, one of Ryane's more unique coping mechanisms in an otherwise chaotic day is to pick a theme song for her family to sing and even blast throughout the house. "I believe in theme songs," she says. "I believe you have to have some kind of intention to start your day!"

With today's song being "Eye of the Tiger," Ryane emphasized that it was a "Rocky kind of day" with everything that could go wrong, going wrong and all kinds of household chaos giving necessity to belting out the lyrics. Jason and I spent a bit of time wondering what theme song we might incorporate into our daily lives, and I have determined that mine would be some sort of dark dirge.

We dug into some more serious topics, including identity, invisible disabilities and race. Ryane quite eloquently shared with us her work as an advocate for disadvantaged children and children of color who also might have invisible disabilities. Using a harrowing story of what happened with her own son, she urged people to throw off the term "colorblind," however well-intentioned. "The best thing that I could ask of people, when it comes to issues of diversity is to see my children, to see our children, to see children of color." Ryane urges allies to recognize that invisible disabilities, coupled with race, can increase the statistics of "things going really wrong." I think all of us, as advocates should take this seriously and work hard to make it better.

For the rest of the podcast, we talked about writing and sharing stories and community. Ryane is a gifted writer and performer who hopes to explore more of this passion now that she has retired from being a full-time professor. She has written a middle grade novella about a young girl coming of age in south Los Angeles. The book will be published in the spring of 2020, so be on the lookout!


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