Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, SoCS

So Far, So Good #SoCS

International Women’s Day … World Kidney Day.

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I am lucky to be a woman in 2018 I realize. I am lucky to have one working kidney, rather than my two old damaged-beyond-repair kidneys.

Women have come so far since the 1920s. My kidney transplant is working, still after nearly 21 years, so far so good.

I realize all this, as I’m watching Downton Abbey for the first time. I found the series with descriptive track, which I first needed to keep up with all the characters, but now I like for facial expressions and such.

These aren’t available on Netflix with any audio track, though a couple shows (mostly Netflix originals) do have that.

These are recorded right from British television, one episode even with the commercials left in.

We’re coming to a time when audio description, on TV and in movies, isn’t quite so rare as it once would have been. Still, it isn’t common enough.

I want to demand audio description for movie theatres and for television, but it all takes time. People turn on TV and suddenly hear some odd extra voice chirping at them and are taken aback at first. It isn’t nearly common enough.

I recently began to see a new commercial for Diet Coke and wondered why they were choosing to show a new ad. Why now?

Some actress saying how if she wants to have a Diet Coke, she will. I admire that attitude, but what was I missing?

The answer is, I was missing the fact that it isn’t only the regular Diet Coke they are advertising. Apparently, they have four new flavours. I was told this by sighted family. Otherwise, I never would have known and they never would have caught my attention Coke.

I know, if most movies and shows still don’t have audio description, commercials won’t be any more likely to have it, though I have heard of a few. Either way, without specifically speaking about the fact that it isn’t just the usual Diet Coke they have to offer, someone without sight won’t know. I am a small minority of Coca Cola’s customer base, I realize, but I think I deserve to know these things, as insignificant as it might sound.

I totally thought about phoning Coke’s 1-800 number and complaining, letting them know this is discrimination and all they need do is verbally mention the new product they’re offering, but really I hold down a little on the growing activist part of me that is sick of living with things as they are. I am sure I’d only get one of those automated messages and be told to press 1 for…and 2 for…

I might still. I would also complain. I don’t recommend the Cherry, which is flavoured with something that tastes like pepper, a heated after taste that makes it undrinkable.

And so, your hard drive space is low, is the message my laptop keeps repeating to me. I get a notification of lack of space on my phone regularly, but this one is new. I am no good at clearing out my computer/phone. I let apps and files build up.

Wow, this post was supposed to be about one thing and it went a totally different direction. And so it goes.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

We’ve come so far, and yet… And so on and so forth.

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A Stranger Returning Home, #MLKDay #JamesBaldwin #JusJoJan

Just. Juice. Prejudice.

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These are three things that come to mind when I think of the word
“justice”
because they look similar in my mind, not because they have anything really to do with the word itself.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Okay, well, maybe justice and prejudice are related, but really I say this now because I am delaying the moment when I have to write about serious things.

Today hasn’t shaped up the way I was expecting it would. I was trying to figure out how to write something about Martin Luther King Jr. and then Dolores O’Riordan died.

Well, that’s not really a topic of justice. It only adds to my blue mood on Blue Monday as it stands.

I relate to the fight for racial justice, in that I can take my disability and think how discrimination manifests. Still, the subject is a sensitive one, as it should be.

It’s like the reconciliation discussion I learn about, with Indigenous Peoples, daily, here in Canada and in other places, all over the world. I am just sad, sad we haven’t come far enough and in some cases, have slid backwards with time.

This is the type of writing that evolves and changes throughout a day. I started this (mid month Monday) thinking about how to address MLK Day.

I’ve spent most of today lamenting the death of a one-of-a-kind voice in music, and I’m ending it by watching a documentary I have known about for months about writer James Baldwin, being shown on PBS.

I haven’t read his stuff and I know very little about him to be honest. I do know that these issues of rights, of where privilege lies, and on how to fight oppression and for justice, are bound to be found throughout Baldwin’s doc, in his own words, years before I was born.

He watched the young girl try to attend school and be spit on, chiding himself for not being there to help her.

Disgust and anger. How to move past this and into making it all better?

Baldwin didn’t miss America while he was in Paris. He didn’t miss it, but he did miss his family and his culture.

MLK knew he wasn’t likely to live long to see any sort of change.

It is painful for James to return, though he is home again.

James Baldwin said: The line between a witness and an actor is a fine one.

This feels so intensely true right now.

So poignant all these years later.

All about class and culture and race and so many other classifications I cannot seem to parse.

James did not stay, as witness. He was free “to write the story and get it out.”

He saw Martin and Malcolm X both go and he wrote about it.

Malcolm, Martin, martyrs both. Baldwin was the writer.

He writes: I Am Not Your Negro

How to reconcile any of this?

And so goes the clicking of the typewriter’s keys.

If you get the chance, watch I Am Not Your Negro.

Things sure have changed, since last century, but we writers still will write.

The story of America,” Baldwin said, “is not a pretty story.” “Aimless hostility.”

“This is not the land of the free.”

—James Baldwin

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The Good Old Days: “We’re Drowning In It!” #SoCS

I have a headache. I don’t know where to start.

It hurts, threatening to burst under the weight of it all.

It’s just another speech on the US 2016 election campaign. Still, underneath that, there were parts that were all, essentially about human decency.

Michelle Obama spoke and I listened and I felt the familiar stinging of tears starting to form in my eyes.

I put off listening, as Facebook’s newsfeed blew up with people sharing the speech and lamenting its sincerity and harsh reality. Finally, after a bad day of becoming choked up on New York Times Modern Love essays about children and adoption, I thought, “why not?”

Every day I can’t believe it. The days are constant: International Day of the Girl (which Michelle mentions), World Sight Day, Blindness Awareness, White Cane Awareness and people can never seem to settle on the correct word order for some of these. But I guess it doesn’t matter what you call it. We’re all just trying to get by and to be heard and valued.

I see less and less and yet it’s what I hear that I can’t believe.

I hear things on my television
screen
that I can’t believe I’m hearing.

I doubt my own hearing, one of my strongest remaining senses.

I feel vulnerable every time I walk out there, a visually impaired woman with her white cane. Am I standing out? Or am I invisible?

Michelle Obama Speaks Out

The line she spoke that most caught my attention and left a lump in my throat, my eyes burning, and a ringing in my ears was: “We’re drowning in it.” I believe she was referring specifically to sexism and misogyny. It’s no big deal to most people, most times, but it’s always there, somewhere. How much does it matter?

Women should feel it. Men should feel it. Over and over again, people talk of daughters, sisters, wives, mothers. What are women, even myself, what are we supposed to think? What lessons have young men learned? What do those calling themselves politicians think they’re doing anyway?

I even doubt my ears here in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been in charge for one whole year now, since the last time Canada’s baseball team made it to the play off’s. I had hope then, as someone finally starting to feel somewhat better about the state of my own country, hope for a future where women’s rights, all rights of people might continue to improve, that we here could be a living embodiment of what is possible. Nothing but a naive girl’s silly hope?

His reputation as a feminist has only grown here and around the world. But then I think about possible leaked tapes, recordings, information in the future.

We believe forward-thinking men in politics like Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama are decent, would never treat women so disrespectfully. Then I imagine a time in the future where I will hear, with my own ears, something that could shake my confidence in these two men as concerned fathers and sons and husbands. Maybe they aren’t who they claim to be either. Power. Is it all one giant power trip?

A black man ran the country that supported slavery, segregation, and the targeting of black men as criminals. A woman may soon run a country where women who were black couldn’t even vote fifty years ago. This must represent change and growth, but not all want it, require it, hope and pray for it. Some attack and demonize it.

As for progress and decency, men in positions of power and capable of making sweeping and lasting change, I don’t want to be let down in that way, not ever.

But how sure can I be? When may the other shoe drop, the floor drop out on me?

I appreciate varied viewpoints and healthy discussions, but I too shy away from disrespect, inhumanity, bickering, anger, discrimination, the refusal to see beyond the nose on one’s own face.

I don’t call myself a believer in feminism lightly.

I try to find a balance. This isn’t easy.

I have not suffered at the hands of abuse by men in my own life, but I feel a wider societal pressure. I know only the most decent men in my own life. My father. My brothers. Those I have learned from about love. Those I have loved. We all make mistakes, say foolish things in a moment of weakness or ignorance, both male and female. Goodness can still thrive.

I’m just afraid to believe what I hear. Perceptions are realities.

13TH

I wasn’t around during slavery, but what slavery still occurs, and what can I do about it, if I happen to see it or if I hide from that which still exists?

How free am I personally? What am I a slave to in my own life? How dare I even ask, even think?

The 13Th Amendment. The 19Th Amendment. What can 100 years, 150, what can that passing time do? How slow is change really? How far have we really come with rights for all? What is truly being amended? What am I seeing, hearing, witnessing, neglecting to admit about this time I’m living in?

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-13th-doc-trump-20161014-snap-htmlstory.html

I recommend 13TH. It covers a long timeline of events and not just the small snapshot of time we’re currently living through. It’s not easy to see back into all the preceding time, into anything other than noticing the glasses on our own faces, even mine where no more literal glasses sit.

Trump. Hillary. Bill.

Reagan, like Trump, an actor/performer. Nixon, known, as Hilary Clinton, to be a liar. What really changes? What can we count on as the years pass us by?

I hear suffering. I feel it more and more as I age. the echoes of ghosts long gone. I recognized all their voices at different times.

I hear what I hear. I doubt what I hear. I know what I hear and wonder who may have isolated each clip, what it meant, as an overall statement of any intention. I believe it has all contributed and brought us all to where we currently are.

I did not need anyone to Tweet those selected Trump clips, used to illustrate a wider point, to know how awful I’ve felt at having heard them myself over the last months. I already felt ill upon hearing them.

I know much of the history. I know how humans have treated other humans. I felt my headache worsen as 13TH went on, but I watched the documentary all the way through.

So then why exactly did I put myself through that pain?

What else should I do? How else should I handle what I can’t un-know?

Politics. Pride in one’s home. Culture. Religion. Propaganda, all of it?

It is more than six months since I really last wrote about these things here.

In The News and On My Mind: Supermegafragilisticexpialidocious

I thought that the 2016 summer with unending stories in the news about the US election would never ever end. But it did and here we are. Less than a month to go, thank God! But I am so tired and I know I’m not alone. Speaking up is seen as “incendiary” and immediately turned into a political opinion, when really, all I’d like to make is a human one. I don’t write about it on Facebook, trying to be sensitive to my American friends. Here on my blog I feel somewhat safer, but I can’t agree with the sort of patriotism Americans often speak of, like Michelle in her speech most recently: that the US is the greatest country in the world.

I regret to say this Mrs. Obama, but go ahead and say whatever you need to say, to feel better about things.

I shake my head at such love of one place, run by capitalism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, from whichever country you reside in. Globalization. I am not a politician and never will be, but I care about not only myself and my family, but my country, and all others. I care about people, no matter where they live.

I love Canada fiercely, but I can’t just keep hearing people speak of their own country being the best, as pride gets us nowhere. I am lucky to live here and yet I fight to find my way. Canada has treated people just as poorly as any other country.

I stand on the border of my Canadian, English-speaking province and into the French-speaking province next door and I feel the wind on my face and in my hair. I smell the river. I hear the cars. I trust my senses in that moment, but rarely do I trust all else I’ve seen.

All politicians are caught saying things, things that have furthered their political purposes at one time or another, eventually revealing true intentions or previously held beliefs, hopefully altered. I don’t know how they really feel. Suddenly, thanks to an actual reality TV star coming this close to winning, it all feels like a huge reality show, like more and more politics and entertainment are melding, like we can’t tell them apart and there is no going back from that.

Human lives are at stake and 13TH makes that point extremely well. This isn’t a game. Or shouldn’t be anyway.

I can hardly believe what I’m seeing/hearing, but I suppose sensible people have always thought that way, and yet what was really done about it? What will the answer be now?

The thought that any one country is “the best country in the world” or that there ever existed “the good old days” is false to me, no matter the intended meaning behind either stated belief.

The “good old days” spoken of weren’t quite so good for us all. I just hope we can stay afloat going forward.

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Feminism, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Created, Creative, Creation – Boourns, #10Thankful

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

–Sylvia Plath

I’m spending my Easter Sunday under the weather, so I will be making this list uncharacteristically short and abbreviated, but I’ve been thinking a lot this week about creativity.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For drumming.

Our creation “Don’t Look Back” is all done. My brother has a friend who is a brilliant drummer and he agreed to play on it.

He wanted to be a part of this project so much he even took the morning off work to record his drum part for the song.

It definitely has a different sound to it with drums added. It fills it out and it is so beautiful.

Once my brother presents it in class I hope to be able to share all the hard work we all put into it. After all, what else is making music for but to share it with people?

For now and then.

I spent time this week hanging out with my youngest nephew, sitting in his favourite spot on the couch, while we watched a movie.

As we sat there, I couldn’t help thinking back to the first time the two of us sat in that corner of that particular couch. I held him in my arms when he was only days old, while he slept, nearly three years ago.

For family fish and chip dinners.

A lot of fun is had when you get a family, people all the way from two to sixty, around a dinner table.

We all crowded into one van, on a rainy Wednesday, and off we went.

For humour.

With all the crap going on around the world, sometimes it’s nice to just laugh a lot. My brother, father, and myself did just that, for a few hours the other night. It felt good.

We watched the Jerry Seinfeld series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and if you have not seen it yet, you really should check it out.

It’s available online, on YouTube and on a free streaming website:

http://www.crackle.com/about

Basically, Seinfeld goes out and rents a car, fitting to the comedian he is about to have coffee with. He then spends the first few minutes explaining what kind of car it is and why he chose it. Then he picks up his coffee companion and they go for a ride in the car to the coffee shop, discussing everything from show business and comedy, to family and hobbies, and cars of course.

We watched episodes with people like Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Will Ferrell, President Obama (one of the best episodes in my opinion, but they couldn’t acquire the proper security clearance to leave White House grounds), a few of Seinfeld’s former co-stars, and Howard Stern.

For literacy, education, and the grandpa there to pick up his granddaughter from school.

When I read about all the young girls around the world not allowed to receive a proper education and so many people who’ve never been given the chance for literacy I am particularly thrilled to know my niece is getting the opposite of all of that.

She’s learning to read and she has a good school to go to every day, with teachers who happily teach her, help her develop her own gifts and creativity.

And she has a grandpa who can pick her up after the day has finished.

For rain.

Okay, so I wasn’t really prepared to consider this one as a positive at the time.

I love to go for a nice long drive, but if rain is falling hard on the windshield I can’t quite relax in the same way.

This was our drive home the other night, in semi heavy traffic, but on reflection I realize I was lucky to make it home safe and even hard pouring drops of rain are something of beauty.

For another Friday up on Good Men Project.

For the second Friday in a row I had my writing featured on the site:.

Where Are We Since International Women’s Day Last Year?

Sure, being that the subject again involved the issues surrounding feminism, I received a few more somewhat angry comments from those who took my writing to mean I don’t think men around the world suffer at the hands of oppression and discrimination, or that I don’t believe men and boys deserve the same attention as women and girls and the issues we face.

I should expect a little backlash when writing about something that seems to divide many of us. I am still thankful I got my message out there and I know in my heart that I believe in fair treatment of both genders. You can’t possibly make everybody happy, all of the time anyway.

For date night.

I am thankful one couple in particular could have one night away, in a beautiful spot, as they truly deserve that.

I am happy that others can enjoy Niagara Falls like I do and they deserved some time to themselves now and then.

For inside jokes, group texts with brothers.

It’s nice to have a Friday evening group text with myself and my brothers, about a cherished eighties band (Duran Duran) and that we can share an inside joke that most people would be utterly confused about if they heard it.

For mendacity.

Feeling unwell of late has given me a lot of time to watch some films I’ve never gotten around to watching before.

This included one, based on a play, I’ve always wanted to see. I was aware of the main character, but I was unclear on just exactly what the storyline was for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.

Well, I like returning to those films that are mostly all dialogue. Of course, I was watching one with descriptive narration, but it would have been unnecessary really.

Well, I enjoy old movies, with dialogue so different from the films of today, and so many issues of the day, late 50s were interesting to me.

I also learned a new word. I’d heard of “menacing” but “mendacity” was a new one, repeated multiple times throughout. It means deception. I love learning new words.

It’s funny I started off the week watching “Ray”, one Jamie Foxx film and I ended it watching “Django Unchained”, which I’d heard was harsh and raw but to be expected when having to do with slavery, but Fox was so good, not to mention all the other actors.

It did really show how cruel we humans have been to one another. I’m sure this could lead directly into the themes of redemption surrounding Easter, but unfortunately I am far too tired now to explore those any further this year.

Check this out. Creativity and just lovely.

And Happy Easter everyone.

I’m starting to feel warm again so I think it’s off to bed with me. Have a good week.

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Special “In The News and On My Mind”: Original Bunker Punks Edition, #IStandWithAhmed

Discrimination and prejudice are real. I hear story after story, with discrimination at the core, and I look for signs that it is simply the media, blowing things out of proportion for ratings.

I don’t want to believe any of it of my fellow human beings. I really don’t.

I am a woman with a visual impairment. There are plenty of stories about inequality for both women and people with disabilities to go around. I am right in the middle of it and I would like to think I could recognize it when I see it, to be able to sense someone’s true intentions.

The two big stories this week both involve cries of discrimination and there are criticisms flying from all directions.

First, there’s the story of talk show hosts on The View and the remarks made about nurses.

Second, the case of a ninth grade boy who took a clock to school for a science project and ended up having the cops called on him, for fears of a bomb threat.

I am the first to say I am a fan of nurses and the work they do. The doctors get to go on their rounds and see their patients. They make the diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

It’s the nurses who are the ones to empty bed pans and change catheters. I’ve been on the patient side of this exchange, countless times, and I appreciate them. Believe me.

I’ve had two spinal operations, a kidney transplant, and several other surgeries and procedures. I don’t include this for any other reason, but to show that I support the work nurses do. I wouldn’t have gotten through any of that without the wonderful care nurses provided me with.

This particular nurse read a monologue for the talent part of the Miss America pageant. The View ladies weren’t the first, that I heard, to comment on it. I heard the clip of her and I could not see it, but I thought it a bit ridiculous myself.

Of course alzheimer’s is a terrible illness. This woman is doing good in the world. She probably deserves little of the attention she’s gotten. I don’t know why anyone would enter those competitions in the first place, but she could expect to have people make their comments, as she was on television. I am just as offended by the existence of those competitions as nurses are of the comments made about one of their own. Why would any intelligent, hardworking woman choose to take part in an outdated ritual, when what she does for sick people every single day is more than sufficient?

As for The View, well the name of the show says it all. They are live and giving their opinions. This is not scripted TV. These co-hosts spoke up , in the moment, and you get what you get. So they did not realize nurses use stethoscopes. It was said out of humour and Joy was doing the job that show hired her to do. She is a comedian.

The question then becomes, when is comedy going too far? Who is allowed to say something controversial? I love you all, nurses, don’t forget that the next time I find myself as a patient, but you need to lighten up. I could be offended, all the time, about so many things involving blindness and disability, but I would drive myself crazy. What is someone’s intention? that is the question we should be asking.

In this case, it was scathing, but it was made about a participant in an event that many women find offensive or ridiculous. Joy is likely one of them.

Of course the apology made a few days later isn’t enough for many. Nothing else to be done, but I happen to respect Joy more than I do anyone involved in a show which goes against the feminist I guess that makes me.

Then there’s Ahmed Mohamed, the teenager who dared to bring in his science project. Did the Texas school overreact? Would they have done the same for a white, caucasian student?

It was a clock, but they feared it was more dangerous. A cloak ticks and so does a bomb? Well, okay then.

In the end, he was not in trouble with the law, just a misunderstanding. He was suspended, but has decided to transfer to another school. Can’t say I blame him. I wouldn’t want to go back either. The charges were dropped and so many supporters have stepped up.

President Obama has tweeted:

“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Astronaut Chris Hadfield has invited Ahmed to be his guest at the Toronto Science Show. He’s received support from Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, and has been invited to come to MIT.

This student is obviously smart and inventive and we need more bright and innovative youth like him in the world. He did not deserve all the attention he received. Why do we, here in North America, why do we have such a fear of other cultures and religions?

Oh yeah, 9/11 right? Too many are sullying the memory of that event and those affected, by using it as an excuse to let their prejudice out without consequence.

It’s a bunch of bull. This problem is deeply imbedded in the western world. I just hope, as we really think about it, that we can do better.

Of course, there will always be prejudice in the world and the media will always be on the lookout for the next big, sensational story. That’s the way it is. Just remember to look for someone’s intent and signs of character. And don’t take yourself quite as serious. There is enough negativity in the world, so much so that we should try to find the good, but criticism, I feel, deserves a place because we will also always want to give our opinions on the things we see going on all around us.

Today I am participating in a Friday addition of my series, which usually appears on Wednesday:

In The News and On My Mind

with others on a linkup.

This can be found here:

http://originalbunkerpunks.com/blog-battle-zone-2/

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Patience With Public Perception

Last time, on the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,http://rosebfischer.com/2014/07/15/the-redefining-disability-awareness-challenge/

I wrote about my diagnosis of kidney disease:

The D Word!

Here’s today’s question.

***

Q: How has public perception of disability changed in your lifetime?

A: Okay, so I will try my best to look at this question with an optimistic viewpoint, as much as possible – because although progression doesn’t happen as quickly as I’d like it to, it does happen.

I don’t know if so-called “public perception” has changed all that much really.

Yeah, the optimism is coming…just wait for it.

🙂

All I mean by that is that although conditions are hopefully improving, the question of what the public thinks, feels, or knows logically or through education are all different questions.

I was born in the 1980s and so not that long ago, in the grand scheme of things. In that time, in the US there was the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which came on the scene six years after I was born.

Here in Canada, we have:

**The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

and

**The Canadian Human Rights Act

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/about/

Disability is such a broad and all-encompassing term. It isn’t easy to lobby for every single disability out there.

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/about/history

There’s a little thing called equal opportunities, which is becoming more commonly known in workplaces, but I still sense a lot of ignorance and discrimination, whether meaning it or not, by employers toward anyone with a disability:

I want to know my obligations. – Canadian Human Rights Commission

Right there!

The fact that the word “obligation” is used feels ugly. I read that and I already feel like I’m an obligation or a burden, just something mandated by the government and forced upon every unsuspecting company.

If so, well what’s wrong with that then?

I should be happy with that, right? The government is taking the necessary steps toward inclusion.

Laws may be the first step, but in many ways, they aren’t the most important one that will make the world a more inclusive place for everyone.

I believe terms such as “obligation” keep things just as focused on the negatives and downsides as my own negative tone of which I promise to keep adjusting.

I may come off sounding demanding and I am, but I am willing to do my part.

I am the first to admit that I am not always a patient person, like with this issue, but I also need to work on speaking up for myself and hopefully I can make it better for someone with a disability, thirty or fifty years from now.

Accommodations must be made, but until our world opens their minds and hearts and sees less differences, I fear this will never lead to the inclusion I dream of.

So what will it take to change the public’s perceptions fully?

Here’s a blog post my friend Steph, fashion and lifestyle blogger for women who are visually impaired wrote about that:

Observing 25 Years of the ADA – Bold Blind Beauty

I think Steph says something very wise in this post. She basically says that discrimination is everywhere, from people who don’t live with disabilities, but disability does not discriminate.

Sure, it’s easy to live in fear and denial. Believe me, I am extremely familiar with these things in my own life.

Fear keeps the public from wanting to take too close a look. If society keeps people with disabilities kept separate in their own schools and clubs and then, even worse, hidden away at home, they won’t have to deal with the fact that we do exist and deserve to have all the same opportunities for work and life.

However, the denial that goes along with this won’t protect them when disability comes into their own lives.

Laws are important and all well and good, but perceptions are a little more difficult to control this way.

You’d have to really get out there, to ask people what their true feelings are on disability, to follow them through their daily lives to see how they might react to certain situations.

I perceive myself one way, but I can’t control how other people will perceive me.

I will still continue trying to make strides in this arena though because it matters.

I do believe things have improved, in the thirty years since I was born – don’t get me wrong.

See, I can be optimistic. It’s just a little more complicated than that.

Sure, I get angry. I grow frustrated that the public just doesn’t understand, but I am very willing to keep the dialogue going.

Anger can work for you. It has propelled some of us in positive ways.

We do progress, as a species, even if we backslide now and again.

I do not downplay or discount all I have mentioned above, all that has been put in place since I was born thirty-one years ago. I even like to think it was, partly thanks to my appearance on the scene, that these leaps forward were made.

🙂

Too presumptuous? Okay, perhaps.

But in and amongst the frustration and the fear, I do have hope. Most people in the public are curious and kind. They don’t purposefully go out of their way to put up roadblocks for those of us with disabilities. It’s just that we need more than pity or good intentions. We need awareness and action.

I will admit, I’m not the first person to know all about public policies and government initiatives, but I do know about what it’s really like to live with a disability, in a world where I am in the minority.

The public does want to move beyond the fear and the denial; or at least, that is what I tell myself.

We must focus on what we can do, disabled or not, instead of what we can’t.

***

What can I do to help this process along? I ask you, the public!

Public…are you there?

(Crickets.)

🙂

Hmmm. Awkward!

Well, in the meantime…check out:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge on Facebook

And maybe fifty years from now we won’t need to have a Facebook page at all. Maybe disability won’t be such a big deal any longer. Or, maybe, awareness will always be a necessary and an important thing? What do you think?

Next week’s question is a variation on this weeks’:

How has your perception of disability changed in your lifetime?

Oh, how indeed.

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Book Reviews, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, History, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, This Day In Literature

Worth the Climb: Blog Tour and My Interview With Audrey J. Snyder

Today I am participating in a blog tour for author Audrey J. Snyder and her inspirational memoir:

Worth The Climb.

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I got to ask Audrey ten questions about her life and her story.

For a review you can check out the previous stop on the blog tour:

Book Review – Audrey Snyder’s Worth the Climb,

over on The Meaning of Me.

To win a copy of the book:

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81bd98925/

First, let’s hear what this book is all about.

MEMOIR SYNOPSIS

Raised by a grandmother who believed the only available professional jobs for a Black American women in the 1960’s were nursing and teaching. Audrey Snyder grew up feeling restricted in her own home. Audrey, however, had inherited the grit and determination of her great Cherokee grandmother, who had accomplished the impossible by traveling, unescorted over 1300 miles in a covered wagon filled with orphaned Cherokee children.
Worth the Climb tells Audrey’s remarkable story of struggle and success in corporate America. Leaving home at a young age, Audrey moved from secretary to prominent business success in the face of racism and discrimination.
Throughout her 40- year struggle, Audrey pushed away anger, bitterness, and despair, clinging instead to excellence, perseverance, and the need to open doors for Black Americans who would follow.
Worth the Climb is a must read for anyone looking to move forward in spite of pitfalls and disappointments.

***

K: Did you always think about or wish to write a book, or is this something more recent?

A: When I started writing this book, it was in the form of a Diary to my mother who died when I was four years old. I wanted her to know what I did with my life. I knew we would meet in the afterlife and I planned to give my diary to her. For years, I would write down my thoughts. One day I started reading my diary from start to finish and realized I was experiencing similar circumstances that many of my minority peers and friends had been talking about. Talking with my relatives and elders in the family, I learned about the struggles they had gone through. Realizing that things really hadn’t changed much for minorities. With the encouragement o family and friends, it was then that I decided I needed to tell my story. Others needed to know what was happening to minorities in the corporate environment.

K: What was the process of compiling all your memories for this book, physically writing it – what was that like for you?

A: When I first started writing, it was a pleasure to write because it was going to be a diary of my accomplishments. When I started the diary, I would come home each day and write what had happened that day. However, as I was writing, some of the obstacles I faced while trying to advance in the corporate world began to become daily struggles. What started out, as a happy daily occurrence was becoming a way to express my anger. At one point, I had to put the diary down because the anger was becoming overwhelming and I wasn’t sure at the time how to deal with it. When I started to have some small successes, I again picked up my diary and continued with the process of writing about my experiences. A friend recommended a book coach to help me get my diary into a manuscript format and ready for print. We worked for about a year meeting often to review and discuss situations making the book ready for publication.

K: You include inspirational quotes at the end of each of your chapters. I really enjoyed this part.
Which of these would you say is your favourite and why?

A: It is difficult to pick one but if I have to choose, it would be the quote by Les Brown. “Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. This quote is important to me because it gave me the freedom to set my own rules for success. I didn’t have to worry about those that tried to stop me. I only needed
prove I was qualified and capable for the position or status I was seeking. My success was not about what others thought of me, but of what I thought of myself and what I could achieve.

K: Which qualities did you make use of, going from your marriage to your career, and what lessons do you believe you feel you most transferred to your children throughout all those years?

A: This is an easy one to answer. It would be determination and perseverance. I refused to accept no. I was determined to have what I was entitled to. I set goals and tackled them one step at a time. My children have also shown their success in their adult lives by utilizing these two characteristics along with hard work. My son is an educator and has been awarded “Teacher of the Year” and my daughter has worked at a job with a disability that no one said she could do for 16 years now. Forty-four years of marriage required perseverance and determination for success.

K: Where do you think women, and more specifically women of colour, but really all minorities stand in the corporate world and then in society as a whole?

A: Women of color are still behind white men and white women in the corporate world. Women of color are often offered positions in secondary management roles. There are a few women of color that have been allowed to have the title of “Vice President”, but they are far and few. Most women of color are allowed to obtain higher positions in the areas of Human Resource or Training. In society, women of color are playing a more relevant role if you look at Congress and the role that women are playing as Mayors. Women also are very relevant in our elections. More women of color are on national networks than ever before. Women of color are also organizing and networking to make sure they are being heard.

K: What do you think other minority groups, such as people with disabilities, must do to be proactive in striving for more acceptance and rights that so many other black women fought for?

A: There are two things one must do to be proactive.

                 They are Education and Networking. I mentioned earlier

                that my daughter has a disability. I learned all I could

                about her disability and then all I could about her rights

                as a disabled citizen. I used the Internet to find out who

                I needed to talk with. I also networked with many groups

                and organizations to learn how others handled their

                experiences. I continually asked questions and when I

                get answers, I don’t always accept them at face value.

                Often times I need to research and continue to learn.

                 I make use of many social networks because many things

                today are still about “Who you Know”. I find these groups

                to be creative and encouraging.

 

K: Do you consider yourself an inspiration? Why or why not?

A: Yes, I do consider myself an inspiration. My entire career has

                         been to always reach back and bring someone up the corporate

                        ladder with me. I have mentored many employees in the

                        various positions that I’ve held. I currently teach as an

                        Adjunct Professor and with each class, I make sure to

                        always give encouraging advice to my students.

                        Whether at home or out with the public, I always make

                        sure that I am setting an example that others can follow

                        through my mannerisms, my speech or my actions.

 

K: Do you think any minority has the obligation to become an inspiration or do you even think its an appropriate title? Why or why not?

A: I don’t think the title “Inspiration” is the right title. I think we all        have an obligation to set an example for others to follow. It

should not be limited to minorities. I believe everyone should be a living example. However, I do believe that since opportunities for minorities are limited, I think that when we do get opportunities, it is our responsibility to make the most of that opportunity so that other minorities can also have that same chance. What I heard most often and still hear today is “The last time I hired a minority, it didn’t work out so I don’t want to take a chance again.” That’s judging the entire race instead of the individual. You don’t hear that same claim when white employees don’t do well.

K: “Each one, teach one.”
This is a line from the book. What did that concept mean to you throughout your journey?

A: This phrase was and is vital to our success. When I say our, I mean anyone in a struggle to succeed. It is not limited to minorities but it came from the days of slaves when they were teaching each other to survive and to read. I believe as they believed that it is our responsibility to teach others what we learn and pass that on to those that come after us. We must reach out or reach back and touch someone in need of guidance, knowledge, encouragement, etc. We must pass on our experiences through deeds, actions, writing, etc. We must not get to the top without reaching back or reaching out and teaching someone else.

K: What do you hope people will take away from reading “Worth the Climb”?

A: The purpose of my book is to help that person who has been blocked from reaching the next step to their success. My book talks about some strategies that I used when blocked from reaching the next level on my ladder of success. It details the obstacles that blocked me and why I chose to go after the success I deserved. I want others to know that you can achieve your goals if you develop a strategy. I hope that some of my strategies can serve as an example for a resolution to a problem others might encounter. I want others to not let anger deter them. I want others to continue to persevere and stay determined and encouraged that they can achieve if they believe they can.

***

To purchase a copy of the book, go here:

Worth the Climb by Audrey Snyder on Amazon

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For more information on Audrey, her books, her career, or to contact her you can check her out

Here,

on her website and on Twitter,

@AudreySnyderaj

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BIO

Audrey Jane Snyder is retired after working in the corporate environment for 40+ years in the fields of human resource management and customer service.
She has also been an independent consultant specializing in on-line web based training of interpersonal skills for first line managers.
Audrey holds a BA in Business Communications and a Masters in Training and Development. Audrey is a member of Western Pennsylvania Initiative, Greater Pittsburgh Area Communications and National Black Public Relations Society, Inc. and PennWriters Inc., The Pittsburgh East Writer’s Group.
Audrey has also served on the board of Family Resources, Inc. Audrey has spoken as an expert at Budget Financial Seminars and recently was Keynote Speaker on Courageous Leadership- Owning your Own Success at the National Black MBA Gala. Audrey is currently an Adjunct Professor at DeVry University.
Audrey was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, PA area lives with her husband of 44 years. She has two adult children and two grandchildren.
This is her first book which one finalist position at the Pittsburgh Author Zone Awards.

Thanks for this interview, Audrey, and good luck with the book and the rest of the tour.

Blog tour arranged by:

http://www.starryknightwordslayers.com

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