Monday, June 11, 2012

Some Many Books, So Little Time
Angela Denise Davis

I am an avid reader. When I became legally blind eight years ago, one of the first concerns I had was whether I would be able to enjoy books again. It took me a while before I came into contact with people who used book readers like the Bookport and digital libraries like, but once I found these resources I felt reconnected to a world of words.
            This week my internship has reminded me of how connected I am to libraries and books. I had the pleasure of spending some time with Jim Dickson, Vice President of Organizing and Civic Engagement at AAPD. His recommendation of some books to read prompted me to create a bibliography of texts to read over the next few months. I was especially stimulated by his analysis on the connection between various civil rights movements, and his own story of working as a community organizer.
One book that I am currently reading is Amazing Gifts: Stories of Faith, Disability and Inclusion by Mark Pinsky. The foreword of the book was written by my supervisor, Ginny Thornburgh, who directs AAPD’s Interfaith Initiative. The book tells the story of how congregations have and can include people with disabilities within their communities of faith.
            Last week, I sat in on a meeting to discuss ways to promote the book so that others may read these wonderful stories. The meeting was also preparation for an upcoming gathering of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC). IDAC’s mission is to “mobilize the religious community to speak out and take action on disability policy issues with Congress, the President and Administration, and society at large.” I serve as an intern to the members of IDAC, and have been given the assignment of helping to create strategies that would increase the number of sign ons to IDAC’s Statement of Solidarity by the Religious Community Around Employment of People with Disabilities.
            I am very excited about my internship because I think it is helping me think about how I might create vocational opportunities from my passions of spirituality, social justice, and embodiment.         

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