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Officially Accepting the Liebster Award!

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I was nominated for the Liebster Award!  I was very surprised to have received an email stating that I was nominated by a fellow social worker blogger!

I have to give thanks to Jodi Nelan, who is a new and upcoming blogger and fellow social worker.  Jodi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has changed gears from being in mental health to breaking into international social work.  She is using her blog, The International Social Worker, to blend these two worlds in raising awareness about mental health trends and matters in other countries.  Being a Macro Social Worker myself, I love to find other macro-focused colleagues who are blending their passions and making a name for themselves within the field.  

I was very appreciative that Jodi believed that my blog was one of the eleven she chosen for this honor – I cannot thank her enough for her kindness and support!  


What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award is a distinction given to bloggers by bloggers to highlight new and upcoming blogs.  “Liebster” means “beloved” or “dearest” in German.  The award not only recognizes good work, but also gives the blogger encouragement to continue writing.

 

What Happens When You Accept the Liebster Award?

  • Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you (Jodi, you are too awesome for this!)
  • Create a post on your blog, displaying the Liebster Award logo
  • Answer the 11 questions assigned by the blogger who nominated you
  • Provide rules/instructions for accepting the award
  • Nominate 11 new favorite bloggers for the Liebster Award
  • Come up with a list of 11 new questions for your nominees
  • Notify the nominees
  • Post your Liebster Award blog post link in the comments column of the related post of the blogger who nominated you

 

My Answers to Jodi’s 11 Questions:

What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten about your blog?
The best compliments are the ones I receive from other disabled Black women advocates who are elated to find another disabled Sistergirl who shares a similar passion and vision for this work.  Disabled Black women are not as visible as they should be in the disability advocacy realm, so it is always exciting when I receive an email from one of us, and they share how much they enjoy my articles and my platform.  I also love it when they ask me to share something on their blogs/websites, and I extend opportunities for them to share their stories and advocacy work on mine.  I am adamant about disabled people of color, especially women of color, supporting our work and voices, and these connections allows me to do that.  

What did you learn yesterday?
To stick up for yourself when someone does or says something impolite to you.  I have gotten better at voicing my thoughts about the behaviors and actions of others that were not okay to experience.  It is not healthy to mull over those moments in your mind and not let someone know that they do not have the right or authority to treat you any kind of way.  Though I was nervous about saying something, I felt better after I did.  It was not about their response, it was about me speaking my truth and letting them know how to treat me and what I would and would not accept.  

Who are your teachers?
My teachers have been those who have influenced my life – my Grandmother “Big V” whom I have mentioned on the blog; and a few professors and advocates I have met along the way.  All have taught me, and continue to teach me, valuable lessons and shared words of wisdom that have played crucial roles in pushing me towards my goals and understanding that I have the right and power to create the life I know I deserve.  

What are you excited about right now?
Conducting my first presentation on disabled women of color at the SC chapter of NASW’s Spring Symposium in March.  This is what I have been eager to do since I started in 2013.  I am very glad that the opportunity has arrived.  I am in the beginning stages of researching and outlining my presentation.

How do you define “success” for your blog?
“Success” occurs when RYV! is considered an important resource and entity for disabled people, and allow our stories to be shared the way they should be.  

Any blogging advice?
Be true to your purpose.  I have had some opposition about my desire to focus on the lives of disabled people of color.  Though my advocacy work is inclusive for all groups, having a specific interest in the lives of disabled people of color is not trying to create division.  This interest is to assist to filling in the gap that exists regarding the visibility of the lives, experiences, and discrimination disabled people of color endure that white disabled people do not due to white privilege and racism.  Awareness, dialogue, and proaction are what I want to spark when I write stories about the disabled people of color experience, and I have received more support and praise than criticism because I stood by my purpose of my work.  

Not everyone is going to like what you do; you cannot please all people.  However, if you know that what you are striving to accomplish matters and you know you are the right person to do it, do not allow the critics or naysayers to silence or stymie your work.  

What book has been most impactful in your life?
Being a person of faith, devotional books are the ones that have impacted my life greatly.  As I have gotten older, I rely on my faith more and more, especially during times of hardships and uncertainties.  Devotional readings that discusses life challenges and how to view them, and how to strengthen my connection with God, are ones that I cherish dearly.  I am a spiritual person, and my spiritual relationship with God is very important to me.  

What keeps you up at night?
Wondering if I am not doing enough to accomplish my goals in the allotted time I have here on this earth.  

What do you wish you were better at?
I wish that I would make the time to learn how to play the piano and guitar, and express myself through creative mediums like painting and drawing.  That is something I need to work on in the new year.  Basically, being better at indulging in hobbies that would be good for self-care.

What do you hope people will do differently after reading your blog?
I hope people will realize that just because you share a similar life experience does not mean that everyone’s experience is the same.  When you belong to various identity groups that have a history of oppression, marginalization, and overcoming adversity, your life experience will be different from those who do not share those identities, and vice versa.  It is empowering to connect with those who share similar identities that are outside of being disabled – seek those connections and friendships because they are imperative to conquering the ableism and exclusion forced upon us.  I want those who read my blog to see themselves in such stories written, and know that they are not alone.  

What blog post are you most proud of?
I am always proud of the posts where I get to share the experiences of disabled women of color through interviews.  Those are the ones I want to do more of in 2016, and beyond.  I love reading the HERstories of powerful young women like myself; it is not only great content, but also motivates me to continue doing my work and learn how they persevere over obstacles.  


My Nominees:

Tonia Christle at Tonia Says, is a fellow disabled advocate and writer that I have befriended and considers one of my dearest friends.  

Stacy Stanford at The Paper Poppy Store, is fellow disabled advocate, college student, and political activist.  Check out her Etsy shop for awesome disability pride merchandise.

Heather Watkins at Divas with Disabilities, one of my disabled Sistergirl friends whose passion is similar to mine, regarding the voices of disabled women of color.  

Jay at Jay On Life, one of the first disabled Sistergirl friends I have met from the UK.  Jay is a traveler, and her blog showcases the adventures she has conquered.  I cannot wait to see where Jay’s passport takes her!

Marissa Bensman at A Crippled Compilation, is a fellow advocate, college student, and have been so supportive of my work – she is truly one of the sweetest people I have met.  

Emerald Barnes at Sweet Tart Beauty, is a fellow disabled Sistergirl whom I was connected with when seeking the voices of other disabled Black women.  

Abby Green at Wheelchair Warrior, has OI like I do, and she does great makeup reviews and tutorials.  

Sophia Christele at Sophia’s Little Blog, is one of my newest disabled Sistergirl friends who is an author!  Be on the lookout for an interview about her book and HERstory on the blog in 2016!

Beata Skonecki at Beata Caroline, is a fellow disabled social worker who is passionate about raising awareness and changes to employment discrimination against those with disabilities; and adoption, something that Beata has been very candid about since I have known her.  

Bethany Lamont at Doll Hospital Journal, is another disabled woman of color I have gotten to know who is so awesome and caring.  Beth afforded me the opportunity to contribute my story in Issue Two of Doll Hospital Journal, which I wrote about on the blog.  

Andrew Pulrang at Disability Thinking, writes about the disabled experience from different angles, from media representation to the importance of the disability agenda in politics.  


My Questions (in no particular order)

1)  What caused you to want to create a blog?

2)  When people think of your blog, what is the first word you hope comes to mind?  

3)  Share a memorable moment you had this year.  

4)  What is a secret talent or gift you have?  

5)  If you could say something to your 20 years old self, what would it be?  

6)  What is the best thing about being a disabled blogger?  

7)  Name one of your goals for 2016.

8)  What was your favorite toy or book as a child?  

9)  Name the book that you must read next year, and why?

10)  Why does your voice matter in the disability advocacy realm?  

11)  What does being connected with disabled advocates like myself mean to you?  

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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