Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Michigan Disability Rights Coalition Board meeting

The next meeting of the MDRC governing board is July 24, 2008 from 4 pm to 6 pm.  The meeting will be held at the MDRC office at 3498 East Lake Lansing Rd., Suite 100, East Lansing, Michigan 48823.  Interested parties may attend.  Please let us know you are coming by calling 1-800-760-4600.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Featured Story!

Becoming Proud and Powerful

Interview with Alicia Rouse, Storyteller

Why did you decide to tell this story?

I decided to tell this story because I finally felt comfortable stating out loud that I have a disability and I am proud. I felt comfortable enough because of the welcoming that I have received from the disability community.

What do you want people to learn or question after seeing your story?

I want people to stop perceiving PWD’s as broken, weird, scary, etc., I felt ashamed for a long time that I had a disability and I never should have felt bad about myself. But it is b/c society views having a disability as being a bad thing. Why would that be? Is it bad to have red hair? No it is just different than the norm. People with disabilities are not special, or god’s children, we are just human beings. Don’t pity people with disabilities!!

How will or have you used this story for advocacy?

I am not sure how I am going to use this story, I know Glenn talked about having the DD Council see it, maybe if I get up enough courage I will share it with staff [at her workplace]. I need to brainstorm how and in what environment it would be appropriate.

Tell us a little about the experience of creating a digital story. (Would you do it again? Was it worth it?)

I really enjoyed the experience of creating my story. I wish there had been more one on one time, or half day workshops because it was left up to us to do things on our own time and that was difficult to manage with schedules already being full. I would love to do another story about transportation or current discrimination against PWD’s or something along civil rights, and show it to legislators and representatives at the capitol. I think that would make a huge impact on them if they could actually see what PWD’s have to face in a supposed inclusive society. It was totally worth it!!! it gave me the courage to own up to having a disability and be proud about who I am.

Stories available!

We finished the class and have moved on to new groups! Finished videos can be viewed at the Many Faces, One Voice web site Some people are still struggling with uploading their captions. This should be resolved within the next weeks. We'll be featuring a story on this blog periodically, more often as we have more stories to share of course!

During the Summer of 2008, we'll build on UCP of Michigan's "Life in Focus" project in working with The Shiawassee Transportation Advocacy Coalition in Owosso, MI. We will also hold a class for staff members at the Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL), a Center for Independent Living in Marquette, MI.

Some things I've learned after the first session in Marquette is to remember to bring tissue, as we look at stories to learn about the 7 elements of a digital story. Also, I am so strongly reminded of why the hard work in doing this is worth it. The stories I heard are so incredibly powerful. Once again, I can hardly wait to show them to you!

We need to find additional funding to continue our efforts. We are working with SAIL in Marquette on a mini grant application and hope to offer a class there over the next year. The Disability Network/Michigan is interested in working with us to find funding to develop a "train the trainer" for Center for Independent Living staff. Let us know if you have ideas for us!