vilissa

10

To know my journey as a Black disabled woman, you have to know my past.  

I was born with OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta), better known as brittle bones disease.  My beloved Grandmother raised me in a loving home, & showed me what unconditional love was about.  I have part of her name, & have always been proud of that name - Vilissa.  Unbeknownst to me until I reached adulthood, Vilissa is French, & means, “to love & cherish life.”  How fitting of a name for a young disabled Black girl who was smart, caring, loving, fun, kind-hearted, sassy, loved to learn, & knew how special she was by the praise she received at home, at school, and from those she met.  

The young Vilissa would experience many successes as she went through school, which empowered her because she knew she was just as good, if not better, as anyone else.  Her excelling in every subject motivated her to do well in the subjects she loved - reading & writing.  She had no idea how powerful words would be to her as an adult, but at this time, she loved reading her Baby-Sitters Club books, & writing in countless journals, sometimes creating worlds & characters that didn’t exist, but her imagination & ability to tell a story grew profoundly.  

As I grew into my teen & adult years, I changed in ways that I didn’t imagine, but the loving, supportive foundation I had in my younger years caused me to be steadfast as I grew & navigated an able-bodied society.

This is Part 1, showing my years from 1st birthday to 12 years old.  

ATTENTION:  Disabled Black Women, & Other Disabled Women of Color

I’ll be conducting a presentation near the end of March about disabled women of color, & I’d love to have my amazing followers share something for it.  

Your submissions doesn’t have to be long - a few lines will suffice, but no more than 2-4 paragraphs total.  (If you go over, don’t stress!)   

Here’s what I’m seeking to gather from you all in your responses:

What are some of the challenges with having a triple minority status (being disabled, Black / of color, & female), & what can be done to empower disabled women of color?  

Deadline:  Tuesday, March 15th, 2016.

How to Submit:  You can send your responses to me via email at Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com, or by hitting up the RYV! Tumblr inbox.  

If you decide to send an email, you can place your responses in the body of the email, or in a Word document.  The choice is up to you as to what’s easiest.  

Important note:  No real names will be used for this (I’ll be creating pseudonyms for the narratives I use), so be as candid as you’d like.

@dollhospitaljournal, would you mind signal boosting this, & participating?  :)  

SIGNAL BOOST this please!!!

~ Vy