Opinion: More Representation of People with Disabilities is Needed in America

When I went blind at age 10, I frequently found that the first thing I heard from others—family, friends, and strangers alike—was something along the lines of how terrible it was, how sorry they were for me, or how that person could not imagine what I was going through. 

These reactions make an impact on you and make you begin to question what your life will be like moving forward and whether the dreams you once had for yourself are now possible. I found these negative thoughts hard to silence because I struggled to find examples of others like me who were blind and who had still accomplished their dreams. There were no blind athletes competing in Olympics, Super Bowls, or World Series; no blind people winning on election night; no blind people accepting Oscars, Emmys or Tony Awards; and it was rare, if ever, that I remember blind people being discussed in the news. For a group of people consisting of roughly one out of every four American adults and who are the largest demographic minority in our country, it is astonishing how infrequently the stories of the disability community are told in society. Storytelling is a powerful way to provide positive role models for people within the disability community and to educate others outside of it about the experience of what it is actually like living with a disability. This December 3 in honor of the International Day of People with Disabilities, let’s strive to share more stories and experiences of people with disabilities and let’s start with these three steps.

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Opinion: Boston Needs Stable Housing That is Both Affordable and Accessible

I began my career in housing first working with individuals facing homelessness in California at Sacramento Loaves and Fishes and then as a housing advocate for the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston. The work showed me that housing is about more than finding a place to live. Stable housing plays a role in creating a solid foundation for improving someone’s health and their ability to receive support for mental health issues, recovery and addiction, and trauma. Reliable housing can also enable connections to transportation, education, and work opportunities. COVID-19 has only made the work of providing housing more difficult and important.

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Jamaica Plain’s Alex Gray Running for At-Large Council Seat

Jamaica Plain resident Alex Gray, who's dedicated his entire professional career to public service, is running to be a At-Large Boston City Councilor. Gray would be the first-ever blind Boston City Councilor. Born with a genetic condition that caused him to begin losing his vision at eight, he learned to adapt to a world not designed for all people. He had to fight for himself to stay in a traditional public school while in middle school amid protests from administrators. This experience made him understand the value of special education and how important it is to students and their family.

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