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International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2014

MICHIGAN’S FIRST BLIND SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

The United Nations has set aside December 3rd as

International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

“Throughout human history technology has shaped the way people live. Today information and communications technologies in particular have impacted a lot of people’s daily lives. However, not all people have access to technology and the higher standards of living it allows.”

I know I am lucky. I have things some people, in other parts of the world, do not.

I thought I would take this occasion to explain how technology has helped me.

I am writing this blog using the Mac laptop I own. On it I serf the net and write my blog posts.

I use the Mac’s built-in voice software, VoiceOver it is called.

If you have a Mac, go ahead and press Command F5 on it right now and see if you hear anything.

🙂

Technology is continually being developed, with people like me in mind and that is a wonderful thing.

Why did I start off this post with the story about that blind Michigan supreme court justice?

I showed it to a friend the other day, a friend who is successful in his career and intelligent, philosophical, and writes poetry of incredible depth. He also just so happens to be going blind.

We talk about the difficulties he faces as a professional who just wants to do his job, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t made challenging.

We both agreed that it’s nice to see stories like the one from above, but that it’s a shame we are still at a place of being so amazed, as a society, that someone who just so happens to be blind could make it all the way to becoming a supreme court justice.

Headlines such as the one at the top of this post are eye-catching and awe-inspiring. This is not a bad thing, but it does single us out at the same time, keeping us separate, like we are some strange other species that most people wouldn’t have believed could have done the things men such as this clearly are doing.

The theme this year is

Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology

“With an estimated one billion people living worldwide living with a disability, and 80% of them living in developing countries, access to technology is key to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities. Under the theme of “sustainable Development: The promise of technology”, this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities will look at this issue in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.”

The Michigan supreme court justice couldn’t likely have come as far as he has without technology. I know I would be worse off, more isolated, and less informed.

🙂

This doesn’t mean I have to stop longing for a time where a day set aside, once a year for people with disabilities, is not needed, a day when the things most people do aren’t seen as some extra unbelievable feat for others.

A girl can dream.

For now I will simply take some deep breaths and remember that most people have nothing but the best intentions. That days set aside by the UN bring much needed attention to making things better for the future.

I need to remind myself to be patient and that the rest of the world will eventually see it, eventually catch up.

Alexi Murdoch, Breathe, YouTube

What do you say when you read articles such as the one I started this post off with? Is it still amazing to you when you read things like this?

What do you think the significance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is? do you think it necessary at this point?

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