27 October 2016
Dear Mr./Mrs. President,
I was born with my left hip dislocated. Even after surgery at two weeks old, I will continue to have lifelong problems. I recently had a second corrective surgery, which was like a slap in the face. I was already limited as to what I could do. I couldn’t be as active or play sports, or jump because I risked injuring my hip. So, in part, I became morbidly obese. The second surgery put me in a wheelchair for 3 months. I would like to address some of the issues and experienced I have come across during that time.
The world is not wheelchair accessible, nor handicap accessible. I couldn’t go to school and missed out on a great education because my wheelchair could not be maneuvered around the school. I couldn’t go to the store, because I couldn’t reach the check stands. When I went to get my handicap placard from the DMV, they didn’t even have a wheelchair ramp into the building.
When I graduated to using a cane, I could attend school again, but my cane became a tripping hazard. It’s not like they couldn’t see it. It was bright pink. People kept kicking it and running into it, and it was safer for me to not use my cane, even though I needed it for stability. I got looks for being 17 years old and using an “old person” thing.
What I’m really saying, is I’d like to bring more attention to people with disabilities. Not negative attention, but acknowledgement that people with debilitating conditions DO exist. I want these people to become more accepted across our wonderful country. We don’t want pity. We just want equality, acceptance, and freedom. Disabled students get bullied daily. It’s not to be mean. The bullies are scared and unsure. They see someone different and don’t know how to react. It’s human nature. Us, as humans, don’t like change or unfamiliar things. If we bring awareness to all disabled people alike and educate society about them, it will become less intimidating to those who are not. Make these conditions as well known as cancer and Muscular Dystrophy. Everyone has heard those names. Please, turn common disabilities into recognizable names and help these people to live in a world symbiotically with everyone else.