Vilissa’s Corner

  1. #Forever44: Thank You, President Obama

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    Image of me with then Sen. Obama in 2008. In the photo is a young light-skinned Black woman in a wheelchair with a tall light-skinned Black man leaning next to her. Both people are smiling for the camera.

    Today is the last day we will have Barack Obama as our President.  It was not until yesterday that this reality hit me hard emotionally.

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  1. What I Am Thankful For: A Holiday Reflection

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    This month has been an emotional rollercoaster for many, especially with the results of the Presidential election that has caused a real sense of fear and uncertainty to surface, particularly for those who are marginalized in our community.  I know personally that I have been doing a lot of self-care these past couple of weeks, and have been very mindful of my emotional, mental, and physical health.  

    I decided to take a more light-hearted and reflective tone this week by listing what I am thankful for that has transpired this year.  This year has been strangely wonderful in the midst of juggling grief and major life transitions.  2016 will go down as probably the best “adulting” year of my life; a time where everything looked as if they would fall apart, yet somehow pieced together perfectly.  

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  1. Visiting The National Museum of African American History & Culture: My Disabled Blerd Thoughts

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    Me in front of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture sign, with the building in the background.

    It is no secret how big of a disabled blerd (black nerd) I am, and my love for anything related to Black culture and history.  During my hiatus from the blog, I took a much-needed trip to Maryland, and over that week and a half, visited the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened late September.  I went to the Museum with two of my awesome Black disabled advocates, and the three of us set out to explore the Museum that was for us, and has been the major talk within our community.

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  1. If I Die in Police Custody…

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    [Content warning:  death, police murder, swearing]

    If I die in police custody,
    I died a soldier, a warrior, a hell-raiser, an instigator, a maker of the good trouble.  

     

    If I die in police custody,
    Make them respect my disabilities in the news reports.  Don’t dare let them erase a damn thing.  I am unapologetically Black and disabled.

     

    If I die in police custody,
    Don’t weep for me.  You better NOT shed one fucking tear.
    My name means “to love and cherish life” in French.
    That’s what you are to do for me – share about the love I gave you and how much I cherished the little and big things.

    Don’t play that weak ass sad music at my funeral.  Play Beyonce’s “7/11,” Rihanna’s “S&M,” N SYNC, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, anything by Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz – that is how you are to celebrate my life at my funeral.  

     

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  1. Learning to Embrace My “Secondary” Disabilities

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    Secondary Disabilities

    This year has afforded me the chance to reflect on what being an advocate means to me, especially with the incredible connections and friendships I have been able to forge.

    Being an advocate has also allowed me to fully embrace the two “secondary” disability identities I possess:  being of shorter stature and learning about little people culture, and being hard of hearing (HoH) and learning about d/Deaf & HoH culture.  

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  1. There Is No Such Thing As Transcending Disability

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    Transcending Disability 1

    I was having a conversation with a fellow advocate/disabled Sistagirl about a response they received from a member of our community who did not understand why they would embrace their disabled identity.  This person shared that they had “moved beyond” their disability; that mentality struck a nerve with Sistagirl, and the wheels started turning in my head.

    I thought about what my response would be to that person or anyone who came to me with similar sentiments, and the following piece was birthed.  

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  1. Celebrating the 3rd Anniversary of Ramp Your Voice!

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    RYV Turns 3

    WINNSBORO, SC (July 19th, 2016) – Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the establishment of Ramp Your Voice!  I am tremendously proud of the progress and reach the platform has accomplished in the last year, especially within the past 6 months alone.  Some of the milestones reached I did not think could happen so soon, but I am very proud of what has transpired for the brand, and for myself.   (more…)

  1. Black America is Hurting & Tired. White America, Do You Even Care?

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    BlackLivesMatter

    I am tired.

    Black America is tired.  

    We are at our boiling point in this country.  The police violence that transpired within the last week set off a deep fire within all of us with the murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota.  To see two Black men murdered during encounters with the police in such savage regards was sickening to watch and comprehend.  

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