A while ago, I was honored to be chosen as one of the “Faces of Gallaudet” for the Undergraduate Admissions office at my university and I was interviewed in a Vlog about my education and experiences. The first point I made in my interview was the emphasis on making a difference. The reason why I was attracted to politics, why it drew me into its folds and embraced me, and why I ultimately decided to fully embrace political ambitions as my career choice is simply because I wanted to make the biggest difference I can for this world.
At the beginning of this internship, I was so eager about meeting other interns because I was really curious to learn about different disabilities and their experiences. I also wanted to give them a greater understanding of the deaf perspective and I eventually realized that a presentation/workshop would probably hit all the nails at the same time. So I worked on it, pulling together Dr. Dirksen Bauman, Ryan Commerson, and Robert Sirvage to give a presentation about their respective studies on Deaf Culture. On Tuesday, I was truly emboldened and inspired to see that my original venture had such a great turnout with plenty of interns attending and quite a number of people from the general community attending. The audience was so diverse, varying from students from other universities to interns with high variety of disabilities to professionals. I was really grateful and deeply pleased that there was such an interest in the subject to ensure a positive turnout.
I also really felt that the impact from the topics presented and discussed was very strongly apparent afterwards and that really delighted me. I had already been familiar with the ideas the speakers presented but I always learn new things, new perspectives, from discussion – and to hear about the Autistic’s perspective, the Blind’s perspective, and so many other perspectives was really constructive. I saw that the particular subject of “Disability” definition and “Re-framing” negative perspectives had intense response. As members of the general community who are accustomed to being unique due to our disabilities, I think we’ve all had our fair share of stereotypes and negative perspectives in our life experiences – we’re tired of it and we want things to CHANGE! That workshop really hammered it home that being different is not just “okay” – it is valued! And we can re-frame our issues to show that our values fit in with the mainstream.
Last night, it was a sort of bittersweet moment at the final AAPD pizza party because it suddenly hit me that this program is going to be over soon. It has been one of the best summers I ever had. I had such an intense human education that no words can ever do justice, not to mention my professional experience got a major boost thanks to AAPD’s opportunities and networking. Last night, there was a panel composed of people working in a variety of fields (Federal departments, private sector, and nonprofit advocacy) giving their nuggets of wisdom to us. My question: “In which area – the private sector, the government, or nonprofit advocacy – can an individual with disabilities make the biggest difference?”
The summary of the answers I got: Find what you love to do, be the best at it, and reach for the skies wherever you go.
Thus, I’d like to end this entry with a word taken from ASL that has no exact English translation: True Biz. It's ASL slang loosely meaning, "Real Business" “I really mean it!” “Seriously!” “For real!” “No kidding!”
I want to make a difference in my lifetime. Together, WE are going to do it. TRUE BIZ!!!!