Advocate for Disabled Workers; CNN Hero of the Year

Discussion in 'General disability topics and advocacy' started by MErmaid, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. MErmaid

    MErmaid Guest

    Under the Sea

    • Amy Wright is 2017 CNN Hero of the Year
    • Wright advocates for people with disabilities
    • She employs dozens of people with physical and intellectual challenges at her coffee shop
    My children are not broken," Amy Wright insists.

    Most parents don't have to declare their children's fundamental value, but after two of 2017 CNN Hero of the Year Amy Wright's kids were born with Down syndrome, it was clear that she would have to back them up every step of the way.

    "When you become a parent of a child with special needs, you are instantly thrust into becoming an advocate," Wright explained. "Trying to make people see the beauty in their lives that we see."

    Wright's advocacy took the form of a coffee shop. She opened Bitty & Beau's Coffee in January 2016, named for her two children.

    On Sunday, it was clear that Wright, Bitty, Beau and the 40 disabled employees at the Wilmington, North Carolina, shop have an army of supporters.

    Wright was named the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for her efforts to advocate for disabled people. The award is determined by online voters who selected Wright from among the top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.

    Wright will receive $100,000 to grow her cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017 will receive a $10,000 cash award. Donations made to each of their designated nonprofit organizations are also being matched up to $50,000.

    "I am bringing this home to the 40 employees who work at Bitty & Beau's because they are my heroes. And most of all to my two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who are my inspirations," Wright said, hugging her CNN Hero of the Year award. She had a special message for her children.

    "I want you to know, because I know you are watching, that I would not change you for the world, but I would change the world for you."

    After all, people with physical and intellectual disabilities can be judged by their appearance alone. When Wright and her husband learned that 70% of the disabled are unemployed, they decided to become a part of the solution -- for their children and others.

    "It hit me like a lightning bolt: a coffee shop!" Wright said. "I realized it would be the perfect environment for bringing people together. Seeing the staff taking orders, serving coffee -- they'd realize how capable they are."

    Wright was presented with her top 10 CNN Hero award by actress Diane Lane, who said: "She opened a business where people like her son and daughter could work and shine."

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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    This is the crux.

    Unless it affects you personally, very few people care about these sorts of problems.

    I wonder if there is some sort of guilt-relief (maybe that could be worded better), eg we celebrate people like this so we don't have to care and do the hard work ourselves?
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  3. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    It's more than that - it's the whole politics about having child with down's syndrome
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  4. Samuel

    Samuel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    there is another side to this heartwarming story.

    i agree people have the right to not be seen as broken and to not be changed. but some extremely disabled people /do/ have broken bodies. and /do/ want to be changed. and they have that right, /too/.

    yes, social change is needed. but curing diseases is /also/ relevant. many pwme are not getting the nursing and cooking and cleaning and medical care / medicines and safe housing and social casework they need -- and NEED them. but that is not all that is needed. they need to halt the progression of the disease and get better. this is often not acknowledged in articles referencing the right to not be changed, even though the right to not be changed is often correctly acknowledged in articles about treatments. [example: naviaux faq.]
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  5. MErmaid

    MErmaid Guest

    Under the Sea
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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