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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