Monday, June 18, 2012

Journey and Discovery

Angela Denise Davis

“What you seek is seeking you.” -- Rumi

Week three…The past few days have been filled with so much excitement that I can hardly figure out what to say in less than 300 words. I know such a task is not even possible so I will only give a taste of what my third week as an AAPD intern was like.

            The week started off with an IDAC meeting. It was the first time I met some of the coalition members. My task for the summer is to work on the Statement of Solidarity, and I presented several possible strategies for increasing the number of sign ons.

            Once the meeting ended, I raced to the Grand Hyatt for the National Council on Independent Living’s annual conference. I attended the conference from Monday until Thursday afternoon. It was an amazing opportunity to meet disability rights advocates, and to catch up with friends from DisabilityLink located in Atlanta. On Tuesday morning, the conference attendants marched from the hotel to Capitol Hill. We also gathered in front of the Hotel and Lodging Association for a press conference to make our voices heard on the issue of accessible pools.

            I know that advocacy and activism requires rest for the soul. I got some of that soul rest when I attended a community sing facilitated by Dr. Ysaye Barnwell. It was held at the Levine School of Music. After leaving the gathering my spirit was even more filled with joy and a sense of community. I miss being able to sing in church because I can not see the hymnbook, and this event reminded me of the power of voices in song.

            On Friday, I met with a fellow intern, Jim Crane, for lunch. He is deaf and I am legally blind. He read my lips and I read his notes! We had a great lunch, which was followed by an awesome meeting with my mentor, Patrick Cokley from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

            I think what was so exciting about this week was the sense of beginnings and “yet to be.” I look forward to how the rest of the summer will unfold as I seek opportunities and find myself being sought by the same.

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