Over the past two weeks, the City of Charleston, the state of South Carolina, and the rest of the nation and world, has been working to mend the pain and heartache of the inconceivable act that has devastated all of us.
As a proud disabled Black South Carolinian and Christian, I had to share my thoughts on what happened at Mother Emanuel on June 17th, 2015. That was the day a 21-years old man, filled with hate, carried out a heinous hate crime and an act of terrorism at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, killing 9 church members, including the Pastor, who was a SC Senator.
On the afternoon of June 3rd, 2015, I got the call I had been hoping and fighting for over the past 8 months – my Social Security benefits will be reinstated and I would be reimbursed. It was a very long, stressful battle, one that could have been completely avoided if the local Social Security office had kept my case file up-to-date. Failure to keep my case file current caused them to unfairly penalize me, and those penalties negatively impacted my quality of life for close to a year.
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity of presenting a workshop on the sexuality and womanhood of disabled females at the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s 2015 Summer Institute. This was a first on many levels: my first time attending the Summer Institute, and my first time presenting on the topic about disabled teen girls and young women. I was undeniably nervous and eager to fulfill these new experiences, and I had hoped that both would be worthwhile.
Presentation summary for Summer Institute. (Click image to enlarge for better view.)
Antionette is a dear friend of mine from college; we met when I took Model UN my last semester in undergrad, and she was one of the “higher ups” within Winthrop’s Model UN. She and I were mutual friends with one of my Sorority sisters, and we forged a quick friendship of our own. Antionette affectionately refers to me as “Mama V” since I’m a couple of years older than her, and our friendship has grown beyond our Model UN years.
Antionette graduated from Winthrop with her B.A. in Political Science in 2010, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Business. She is 27 years old, lives in Charleston, SC, and works for the Department of State. Antionette is the typical Millennial, in that she has many hobbies and interests that keeps her busy – she is a Mary Kay consultant, a martial artist (she has a Black belt in Karate and plans to her further her martial arts training), and likes to listen to as well as create music with her brother. As you can see, she is definitely a go-getter, and is one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet on this side of the Mississippi River.
Earlier this year, I learned that Antionette has been quietly fighting a battle of her own, one she decided to share on the one year anniversary of her diagnosis. Antionette has MS, or Multiple Sclerosis; when I read the testimony about her journey, I was truly amazed. I had been in light contact with Antionette over the past year, and I did not have a clue that anything was amiss with her or her health. Antionette shared that she had remained quiet about her journey as she was trying to understand this new normal in her life. I asked Antionette if I could interview her for the blog, and she graciously gave me the honor to share her story with my readers and supporters.
School is ending, and parents have begun researching summer camps and activities their children, teens, and young adults can partake in over the next few months of summer vacation. For families of disabled youths and adults, it can be a unique challenge to find summer camps that specializes, accommodates, and are fully accessible for the disabled. The SC Assistive Technology Program has created a masterlist of summer camps in South Carolina that I thought would be timely to share for the “Tools You Can Use” series.
Important Disability-Related Videos You Should Watch
Here's the Out of Step's TOOST Radio interview I participated in as a panelist on Nov. 6th, 2013. During the interview, I discussed my personal & professional viewpoints about the choice of discussing disability status while seeking employment opportunities. The part that I'm featured begins 15:29 minutes into the interview.
In this video, Beyoncé helps Kid President with World Humanitarian Day 2013. The Kid President has OI like I do. I think that his messages are ones that all walks of life & ages can learn from. I'm so jealous that he met one of my idols & favorite music performers, Beyoncé! I wanted to share with you all the interview the Kid President did with Beyoncé for World Humanitarian Day, which was August 19th, 2013.