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Ramp Your Voice!’s Official Call for Submissions for the Disability Anthology #IAmAble!

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Anthology Image

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  The anthology has been expanded to receive submissions for the 2016 year.  The new submission deadline is December 31, 2016.  

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WINNSBORO, SC (Feb. 24, 2015) – Today marks the official call for submissions for the new disability anthology, #IAmAble!  This is a project that I have been working on for several months, and with the talents of the graphic design intern that has joined the RYV! camp, an eye-catching visual for the anthology has been developed.

How the Idea for the #IAmAble! Anthology Came to Light

Being someone who desires to author many books about the disabled experience, I figured that there needed to be an encompassing piece of literature that allowed disabled people to express who they are without limits.  I have seen great anthology works produced over the last year by advocates seeking to close the enormous literature gap that existed, but I never saw an anthology like the one I was used to reading.  My alma mater produced an anthology each year that captured the creativity of its students, from essays, poems, drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc.  I got to thinking:  “why not allow disabled people to express their thoughts and creativity beyond words; through mediums that they were comfortable with?”  Though writing is my gift, I know that others are gifted artistically, and their works should be displayed in books, just as essays are.  If I witnessed a gap in such ways of expression, why not do something about it?  The questions I pondered led to the birth of the #IAmAble! Anthology.

The Significance of the Name, #IAmAble!

Disabled people are constantly and fervently proclaiming how our disabilities do not mean that we are unable to live a life that is right for us.  People erroneously equate being disabled with the incapacity to do what others consider to be “normal” – we have abilities and capabilities in areas that able-bodied individuals do not.  We do not view our disabilities as tragedies; they are a part of our personhood, and our life’s story.  We are more than our disabilities, yes, but we cannot ignore the fact that being disabled has shaped our views of the world around us, especially how the world is not opened or accessible to us as it should be.

The phrase #IAmAble! is an affirmation that has different meanings to each of us:

  • I am able to demand that society includes me fully and respects my disability.
  • I am able to express my thoughts, feelings, ideas, and creativeness in ways that are unique to me.
  • I am able to break barriers for those who look like me, and support others who are struggling with their disabled identity.
  • I am able to proclaim that I am more than the wheels, canes, crutches, braces, and other mobility aids and assistive technology I utilize in my day-to-day living.
  • I am able to fight against the discriminatory, structural obstacles society has placed before me to stymie my progress as a person.
  • I am able to advocate for myself so that future generations will not have to endure the battles that are present today.
  • I am able in ways that ableists cannot imagine because they only see what makes me different versus what makes me “me.“
  • I am able, and nobody has the right to tell me different.

Though these statements are common sense, in a world where we are told that we are problems, inconveniences, sub-human – they are easily forgotten.  I know that I have had to remind myself of these truths when I encountered societal blocks and ableist views that sought to hold me back, and not uplift.

I want this anthology to be that visual reminder to us all – we are more than our disabilities, and we are able.  Yes, we all are able.

Seeking Your Assistance in Contributing & Spreading the Word About the #IAmAble Anthology!

This anthology will not be successful without the support of each of you – my readers, disabled advocates, allies, bibliophiles, and stakeholders who have a vested interest in closing the literature gap about the disabled experience.

Do your part in turning this idea into reality – we need this!  

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RYV Flyer-Final

[The above image is the official #IAmAble! Anthology flyer.  You may click on the flyer to enlarge for better view.]

On the Ramp Your Voice! webpage, there is an official tab for the anthology:  #IAmAble! Anthology.  You may share either that page, or this press release about the anthology, on your social networks and with your personal and professional contacts.

You may also download and print the PDF version of the flyer by clicking the link:

#IAmAble! Anthology Flyer

Below is the text from the flyer.  The text is provided to make it accessible for screen readers and/or those who may have difficulty reading the information on the flyer:

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Call for Submissions for a New Anthology for People with Disabilities!!

Exploring the disability experience in literature has been neglected.  This underrepresentation has prevented the largest minority group in America and globally from redefining what disability is, and sharing their stories.  This oversight is also the cause for the misrepresentation of the disability experience in literature.  The stereotypical, flat character portrayals of the disabled is worse than not being represented at all.

Extinguishing the Literary Gap:  the #IAmAble! Anthology, Vol. 1

Vilissa Thompson, LMSW, the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, and proud disabled womanist, seeks to change this predicament by developing the #IAmAble! Anthology, Vol. 1:  Focus on My disABILITY & Personhood.

The anthology aims to eliminate the invisibility of the disability experience in literature by affording disability advocates and allies the opportunity to share compelling, empowering personal narratives, reflections, dialogue, and creative pieces regarding who they are, and how they desire to be defined.

Themes for the #IAmAble! Anthology, Vol. 1

Here is a list of suggestions — though you are not limited to these:

  • Personal accounts of living with a visible or invisible disability
  • Respect my truth:  See the person beyond the disability
  • What I want to be called:  The issue with person-first language
  • Raising a child with a disability:  Parents’ corner
  • What I’ve learned from serving those with disabilities:  Helping professionals speak out
  • To parent or not parent:  Family planning with a disability
  • Let’s talk about sex & disability
  • Ableism:  Fighting against ignorance
  • The effects of discrimination & pursuing one’s goals/dreams
  • Segregation within the disability community based on level of functioning
  • Where are the minorities with disabilities?:  Racism & invisibility is real
  • Juggling multiple identities:  being of color, LGBTQ, female, and/or disabled

Be Creative!

You may also express yourself through creative mediums such as essays, written songs, poetry, short stories, and artwork (paintings and sketches).

Submissions & Contributing Details:

Send your submissions by 12/31/2015 to:
AnthSubmit@rampyourvoice.com
or
Ramp Your Voice!, P.O. Box 1286,
Winnsboro, SC 29180

Please include a little about yourself you so that your submission can be contextualized, as well as how you would like to be credited.  Each submission published will feature the name of the contributor or be listed as anonymous.

Submissions will be edited for format, but not content.

  • For written responses:
    Submissions must be short, about 2-5 pages, though more or less is acceptable.
  • For paintings:
    Art canvases must not exceed 8 x 10 inches in size so that they can be photographed and/or scanned.
  • For sketches:
    Must be on drawing/sketching paper so that they can be scanned.

Sadly, not all submissions will make it to the final iteration of the anthology.  All contributors published will receive a free copy of the book.  Everyone is also encouraged to help promote the book.

Vilissa plans to establish a crowdfunding campaign to rally supporters (like you!) to assist in covering the costs involved in editing, publishing, and promotion.  The goal is for the anthology to be published in printed form as a hardcover book, and be made available for purchase online where books are sold (Amazon, etc.).  All profits will be used to expand this project into a second volume, and support the disability advocacy work of Ramp Your Voice!

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Please note that all submissions received will become the property of Ramp Your Voice!  Ramp Your Voice! reserves the right to use your submissions in the promotion, marketing, and sales of the anthology, as well as in future blog articles and interviews advertising the anthology.  Contributors whose submissions are printed/showcased in the anthology must give Ramp Your Voice! credit in any reprintings, showings, photographs, etc., on other websites, books, and outlets/media.

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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