As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we also celebrate and support the independence and talents of people with disabilities. Carlos Hranicka and Maria H. Franco are two artists with disabilities that participated in Lighthouses on The Mag Mile with the group The Blind Weavers of Friedman Place. Both of them shared with us their thoughts on what independence means to them.
We urge you to reflect on their comments and ask yourself the question: What can I do to help promote access and inclusion for people with disabilities?
Carlos Hranicka – Artist is Visually Impaired
Independence means that I am able to do things perhaps a little bit slow but to the best of my ability and to be sure that they are done correctly. It also means that I am able to go out to certain neighborhoods or places without worrying about getting hurt while traveling with a white cane. It also means that I am able to do the things that I know how to do besides cooking on my own, like doing laundry, cleaning my own apartment, and to help others be as independent as they can and help with things that I can do that they need help with.
Independence means freedom of certain things – not everything, because certain things I need help with – such as doing what I know how to do properly and promptly, to the best of my ability. Being able to do the things that I want to do whenever I want to do them. To me the definition of independence means what I stated above. Other people may have different definitions, but this is mine.
Maria H. Franco – Person who is Visually Impaired and Partially Deaf
Independence means cleaning, cooking, meeting challenges that are beyond you. It means making things that help others. It means strengthening others. It means creativity. It means teaching others. Giving to others, besides yourself. Cane travel. Or Dog travel. Going beyond what it means to be blind – being an eye for others. Seeing what others don’t see. Being a good writer. Being a winner and not a quitter.
One that never gives up. Never doubts. Independence is discipline. Independence is being a driver of your destiny and a strength for others destiny, and to be there for others who cannot be there for themselves.