Everyone of us who is blind has a story to tell about adapting to our vision loss. We use those stories when helping a friend going through difficult adjustments themselves. Maybe, those stories help a coworker or friend better understand how we adapt to living alone or travel around town. Maybe, we use those stories to advocate for others’ dignity when they feel discriminated in a public place.
It’s this last use that the Leadership Academy hosted by the League For the Blind’s Inclusion Institute wants to encourage. Over the next few months, we who join monthly in-person classes and do online modules will learn how to advocate for our needs in the local area of Fort Wayne, IN and beyond. Maybe, transportation is an area someone wants to improve. The directors of the institute may match them with opportunities to advise Citylink’s public transit officials. Someone else may have experience with handling housing concerns. Through the institute, they may learn ways of addressing needs for affordable or cost-effective renting while promoting homes with disability accommodations.
As I sat in an interview today with the Leadership Academy’s directors, I was privileged to discuss the concerns that affect us who are blind as well as people who have other physical and cognitive disabilities. In fact, the three people who interviewed me were all quadriplegic due to a number of conditions. As we talked, we shared our mutual longing to make various aspects of life here in Fort Wayne more accommodating so that people who have various disabilities can experience all that life has to offer with an equal opportunity as anyone else.
We’ll be focusing on four major areas: transportation, housing accessibility, education, and web access for local businesses and schools. Of course, these major areas involve many smaller topics and I am eager to share how the journey progresses. So stay tuned to see my updates on the class and the opportunities it affords me. Perhaps, a similar opportunity awaits you at the center for independent living in your town or city.
Remember, we may not all be involved with professional settings. But we are all advocates navigating life’s contours boldly blind.
For more about the Inclusion Institute at The League For The Blind in Fort Wayne, Indiana, go here.