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The purpose of the You First podcast is to discuss the rights of individuals with disabilities, putting your rights first. Host Keith Casebonne interviews knowledgeable guests, accounts first-hand experiences, and dives into issues of national and global importance to people with disabilities.

This podcast is produced by Disability Rights Florida, a not-for-profit corporation working to protect and advance the rights of Floridians with disabilities through advocacy and education. You can learn more about Disability Rights Florida on our website at

Nov 16, 2023

In this episode, co-hosts Maddie and Keith talk with Dr. Bill Bronston and Marlene Sallo about Willowbrook State School, its exposé, and its impact on the disability rights movement. The episode starts with our conversation with Dr. Bronston, a doctor who worked at Willowbrook and ultimately was vital in the lawsuit against New York State, ultimately officially closing the institution in 1987. He tells the insidious and harrowing story of abuse, violence, murder, and monetization of disabled folks warehoused at Willowbrook State School and what efforts he's currently involved in to advocate for healthcare for all and deinstitutionalization. Then, we hear from the National Disability Rights Network's Executive Director, Marlene Sallo, about the impact Willowbrook and the deinstitutionalization movement have had on the disability community and the ongoing fight for disability rights.

Content Warning: strong language, explicit mentions of violence against and death of disabled people, institutionalization, medical trauma, and eugenics.

The episode starts with Dr. Bill Bronston's interview, then we hear from Marlene Sallo starting at 1:28:10.

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