4 Years Going Strong:  RYV! Anniversary Reflection

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Image description: Top of a chocolate cake with candles lit. Candles are curved and multi-colored.

Image description: Top of a chocolate cake with candles lit. Candles are curved and multi-colored.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Ramp Your Voice!  The past year has been filled with so many opportunities, connections, partnerships, and articles that has resonated with individuals within and outside of the disabled community.  

As Ramp Your Voice! matures, I also mature, particularly for my vision and the impact I want to make with my work.  What I started out wanting to do 4 years ago has vastly changed, and I am working diligently to bring these new ideas to life.  

Some of the changes that has occurred in the last year has been the services I offer.  I am pushing forward the skills I realized I enjoy doing:  presenting, public speaking, consulting, and writing.  My focus has also become more centered on the experiences of Black disabled women and discussing intersectionality.  These two areas are ones that has been attached to my work and voice, and I enjoy finding new ways and audiences to bring these issues to the forefront.  

What is next for RYV! as it enters into its fourth year?  Here are a few things I’ll be working on:  

  • Creating a series that gives Black women the space to discuss their lives and the systemic barriers they endure.  As I connect with Black women, those who identify as disabled, those who are not disabled, or do not self-identify, I realize that we encounter barriers that impedes us and our ability to thrive and prosper.  The purpose of this series will allow Black women who identify as disabled and those who do not to discuss the unique challenges of being Black women across the diaspora.  I am currently working hard to schedule these interviews and I have a modestly growing list of women who has either agreed to be a part of this and/or I plan to approach over the next few months.  I am hoping to launch this series early Fall, so be on the watch for that.  
  • I am still working on the #DisabilityTooWhite project, and hope to launch that by the end of the year.  
  • I plan to create a Patreon page that will support the aforementioned series and project, as well as create original content for Patrons.  
  • Upcoming new website design.  I love the current layout, but with there being over 200 articles on the blog, it is time for an upgrade.  I want my writings to be easier to find and spotlight some of the most read resources and posts over the years.
  • I will be a co-host for a podcast that is currently in the works.  I cannot say much now, but this is a great way to get my voice to a new audience and a new opportunity for RYV! to be visible.  The launch is coming up soon, and I will write a post about the podcast to celebrate this new adventure for me.  
  • Budding partnerships with advocates and organizations.  Again, I am very fortunate to have upcoming projects and interactions that I will share about when they come to life.  Some of the people and entities I will be working with are those I greatly respect and am eager about the work we will be creating.  
  • More marketing of RYV! services. I really am looking to provide the services I have to interested individuals and organizations who can benefit the most.  
  • Lastly, I plan to move to Charlotte, NC in 2018.  This is a change from my original desire to move to Washington, D.C., but I feel that the budding advocacy scene in Charlotte will afford me the community outreach work I want to do with my brand and with my education.  

Sometimes I sit back and am amazed at the reach and reaction to RYV!, and all that I have done thus far.  I look forward to seeing how this platform grows, and the new experiences I have yet to embark on.  Every day, I am fortunate to do what I love, and to have found my passion as a young adult.  And most importantly, I appreciate the support bestowed upon me each and every day from those of you who have been there for me along the journey.  

I am truly excited for what is in store during the fourth year of RYV!’s existence.  I hope you are too.  

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of Pixabay.)

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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