A Video You Absolutely Need to Watch

Hi all,

I am aware that everyone comes here for different reasons. Some of you come for “In the Dark”, some for my disability related posts, and some of you come for my political ones. I was thinking just today about a conversation I had over breakfast a few years back with a dear friends mom. When I was just starting out, she suggested that I don’t just talk all about blindness related things, but that I also give my opinion on politics. This is such an important piece of advice because people need to know that while more needs to be done to get more disabled people to vote, people with disabilities do in fact have political opinions. Big or small, I need to use the platform God gave me for good and to let people know that disabled people deserve a spot at the political table, even if we are on different sides of the aisle. Whether we agree or not on politics, I hope this post inspires someone with a disability (blindness or otherwise) to educate yourself and learn that your vote does matter.

Now for the video I believe everyone needs to see. This was live by the way, not edited footage. Take a look at this video from a former Trump campaign official, Jessica Denson.

We need to address a couple of things here. First things first. As believers, we should be thanking God for sister Jessica. She mentions how she was one of few women to speak out about how horrible she was disrespected as a woman and how brainwashed she was by conservative media. She acknowledges she received a direct message from God, asks for forgiveness and explains how she believed Donald Trump would actually help the American people, among other things such as the lies Trump is associated with. We should pray for the people who can’t speak out and that in Jesus name they find strength to do so. Let’s pray they are blessed tenfold.

Let’s move on to something we must talk about. Notice in this video how Trump is talking about getting women’s husbands back to work. Does he think he deserves a sticker, or a gold star or an extra slice of pie? Let’s be clear for both sides of the aisle. Yes, that means you too in the back not sure who the heck to vote for! As president of the United States, it is their responsibility, (right now Donald Trump,) to make sure the people of this country have their needs being met. So no, Donald Trump, you do not deserve a sticker, or a gold star, or an extra piece of pie for being so kind. Don’t get people’s rights mixed up with being a kind person and making everyone like you. I’ll say it one more time. The president of the United States should be making sure people’s rights are being met and not going around talking about how they’re getting women’s husbands back to work. One of my blunter posts perhaps, but honesty doesn’t always look pretty.

Exposing Donald Trump: Fake News Not Included!

Introduction

Hello, I hope this finds you healthy. This post is without a doubt one of the most important posts you will ever read from me. Disclaimer: The facts I have compiled here are meant as evidence of what’s been said but unfortunately and sadly covid cases change daily so the numbers will look different. Some people might find this post lengthy, but break it up if you have to. Let me start out this post by saying that this post isn’t meant to tell you who to vote for, but rather to inform you and reach those undecided voters who are scared and have no clue what to do in exactly one week from today. I know there are a lot of resources here, but this isn’t meant to overwhelm you. I want to provide you with a list of resources so you can be informed and form your own opinion. Whether you vote Democrat or Republican, you can be educated and aware when you cast your vote. Once you see and hear something, you can’t unsee or unhear it. Let me also say just because someone isn’t on the same side of the aisle doesn’t mean they are bad people. I can think of plenty of people I care about and we don’t agree on politics. As a country, we are so divided. We need to stop this idea of, “You’re not on the same side of the aisle as me, don’t talk to me!” I believe we can have relationships with people who have different political views, but I absolutely will never say or believe we should be horrible to each other. One of my best friends and I have a rule that says, “Our friendship wasn’t built on politics”. I hope you’ll use that with your friends, too.

Using Editing To Make False Claims

As I said, this post is for the people who have no idea who to vote for. I’ve heard it said that people who believe Trump should be reelected tell those who don’t believe Trump is fit for office that certain news stations only put out what they want. This post will have a few sources, CNN included, but to the undecided voter, (Is that you?) I would say that through evidence, I’m going to show you that Democrats don’t always throw CNN in people’s faces. Every topic discussed here is important, but is in no particular order of importance. We have a lot to cover, so let’s begin by taking a look at a campaign add Donald Trump’s team put together where they have used editing to make Anthony Fauci say something he didn’t. We all know commercials, campaign ones or otherwise, are edited and put together, but not everybody knows how editing works, so let me tell you. I took two audio courses my senior year of college where we used a program called Pro Tools. We had to edit everything from field recordings we created of certain sounds, to speeches, to music mixes. One of our assignments was to take something someone said and rearrange what they said to have them say something they never said. Take a look at this article that shows you how you can use editing to rearrange audio. You don’t need to know how to use Pro Tools to understand this. What you need to take away from this is that this article guides you through how to rearrange audio to make it something it isn’t.

Here are some clips of what Fauci actually said and what Donald Trump’s add says he said.

Take a look at this.

I am showing a few sources so you see it from a few outlets. Despite what Trump says, Covid actually isn’t going away. Watch this.

As you’ll see, the virus isn’t actually going away. In fact, as you’ll see in this video with Bob Woodward, Trump knew about the virus and lied to the American public about it. Watch this.

This interview with Bob Woodward is also a must watch.

Watch that interview because Woodward clarifies why he waited to tell the public that Trump knew about the virus and chose to play it down.

 Finally, watch this.

Next, let’s talk about racism. I don’t want to take away from African Americans who are the real experts unfortunately, tragically living out this issue every day. If you don’t see that racism is a problem in 2020, you are blind. If you can’t see racism as its own crisis, something is wrong. Watch this video where Biden explains, “the talk”. In 2020 parents shouldn’t be having “the talk” but this is the sad reality people are living each day. Donald Trump doesn’t understand racism.

We need to talk about the fact (yes facts folks, not my opinion) that Donald Trump claimed at the last debate that he was the least racist person in the room, yet he won’t condemn white supremacy. How is that okay? Why am I telling you this? Because facts show that when Donald Trump talks about racism and the virus, he gives people lip service. If you really listen to what he is saying, he tells his supporters what they want to hear and doesn’t speak in the reality the rest of us are living in. Look here from a few months ago where Trump said the virus would go away. Here we are, in October, and cases are climbing again.

Not only does he think the virus is going away, he actually called CNN “Dumb bastards” for still reporting on the pandemic. Does that sound like a good leader to you? Again, if you do your homework, you’ll quickly learn that when Donald Trump doesn’t like something, he calls it fake news. Listen to exactly what he says about CNN actually keeping Americans informed about the harsh reality for so many people.

Getting back to racism, watch this video where Trump tells the Proud Boys to “Stand back and stand by”.

Do you want someone saying something like that running your country? Here’s more evidence of Trump’s lip service.

How can you say the above comments and then claim you aren’t racist? I’m not asking to argue. I’m here to pose questions to make people think. We should be able to raise questions to make people think without jumping on one another’s politics. Why is it okay for a president to make fun of wearing a mask when we know it saves lives? Take a look at the so-called leader of our country making fun of Joe Biden for wearing masks.

How does Trump’s behavior teach our children bullying isn’t okay? Why is it more important to confirm a judge to the supreme court than it is to work out another stimulus deal when so many Americans are struggling? If the White House had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t they say when Donald Trump’s last negative test was?

Trump’s Behavior and Leadership Don’t Align

Moving on to my final points, let’s talk about the fact that Donald Trump’s doctor lied to the American public about Trump’s health when he was hospitalized. One might argue HIPAA, but HIPAA aside, this is the president of the United States. The public has the right to know if the person running their country is fit for the job. Watch the president’s doctor admit that he lied about the president’s oxygen.

We need to address another issue in this as well. Remember those videos above with Bob Woodward where Trump said he knew about the virus and played it down? In this video where his doctor admits he lied about Trump’s oxygen, Donald Trump also left the hospital to visit his supporters. If Donald Trump were an every day American, more people would question his mental state. If you are that heavily medicated, on a medication known to alter your thinking, you shouldn’t be running a country. If he was treated like an every day American, he would have been kept in the hospital and watched because of his psychological behavior. If he wasn’t, someone wouldn’t be doing their job correctly. He knows how deadly this pandemic has been, and he gets in a car for a joy ride with Secret Service, who have to do what he says, putting them at risk which could then turn into risking their family. It doesn’t stop there. He still holds rallies. Take a look at this recent video of him meeting with supporters. Again, I might add, in the middle of a world crisis.

Lastly, we need to talk about Donald Trump’s gaslighting behavior. I’ve provided you with a few links to educate yourself. Read this.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gaslighting

This piece is a must watch.

See also

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-warning-signs-gaslighting

If you read this entire post and clicked on one thing or everything included here, no matter which way you vote, you know you can’t unsee or unhear the things mentioned here. Your vote matters this year more than ever. It’s up to you.

Read This Article Kaylan Wrote About Me

Hi Friends,

I hope this post finds you all healthy. I know it’s not throwback Thursday, but I wanted to share this article my dear friend, Kaylan, wrote about her experience working with me during my final semester of college.

I believe it’s so important to surround ourselves with strong friends who bring out the best of us, and I’m thankful that Kaylan is now in my closest circle. People didn’t like that I used readers in college, but you have to do what works for you. For me, that consisted of assistive technology with readers mixed in. I hope you learn something. I hope that you learn disability or not, we all deserve equal opportunities. If you’re friends with (or are becoming friends with) a person with a disability, I hope you’ll get to a place where you won’t feel ashamed or weird about it.

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/working-disability-changed-life

Thank you, Kaylan, for this kind piece. Oh, and for talking about faces I make I’m not always aware of. Ha-ha.

Wear your mask and stay well,

Miranda ❤

Important Resources

Hi friends!

Can you believe it’s October already?

Part of this post is more for those living in my state but the other link I’m going to share is important for everyone. Let’s start with the Rhode Island one first. If you are not familiar with In-Sight, they offer great services and workshops for blind and visually impaired people throughout Rhode Island. You can learn about In-Sight here. (This is not sponsored by the way, they really are wonderful).

Recently they held a workshop on voting information for those of us who are blind or visually impaired. It’s absolutely worth your time. Give it a listen here.

While all of this is important information, among the many great topics surrounding voting, they talk about how for those people who have difficulty signing their name, they would like you to put an x rather than use your signature stamp because the signature on your stamp may look different than the signature they have on file. All of the information in the above link is especially important to pass along to anyone you know who is blind or visually impaired because this election is more important than ever. No matter how you do it, vote, vote, vote!

Moving on…Recently one of my favorite women on YouTube, Lauren Lipman, (Her Taylor Swift videos are pretty great) posted about her experience with Corona Virus. She was very descriptive in the whole process and I felt it important to pass along in case God for bid you know anyone who might need it. No matter what, let it serve as a reminder how important it is to be safe, whatever that looks like for you.

Watch Lauren’s story here.

Stay safe, stay healthy, WEAR YOUR MASK (in caps for my blind friends) and MAKE SURE YOU VOTE!!! MAIL-IN BALLOTS REALLY DO COUNT. (Again, in caps).

My best to you,

Miranda ❤

Victory In My Case!

Hi friends!

I’m so delighted to share with you that we have a victory in my case! Removing the two-witness requirement will help so many Rhode Islanders who wish to send in their ballot by mail, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of such an important and necessary moment of history for our state.

Read about it here.

https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20200813/us-supreme-court-denies-gop-mail-ballot-appeal-in-rhode-island-case

Stay healthy and please wear a mask.

Miranda ❤

I Decided To Be a Plaintiff and Advocate for Voter Safety Across My State

Hi friends!

Hope you are all doing well and staying cool during this wicked heatwave we’ve been living through.

I have some exciting news to share. Earlier in the month I decided to join a couple of plaintiff’s in a lawsuit against the state to remove the two-witness and notary requirement on mail ballots during the September and November elections. These requirements were removed for the June primary and I could not understand why they were not removed again during a pandemic. I thought about all the older people I care about, as well as how this would impact everyone across our tiny yet great state. I thought about the challenges this would bring for people with disabilities. I thought about how disabled people are all too often not given a proper seat at the table, especially at the political table. I have always believed that no matter what side of the aisle you are on, we all (including public officials) need to find a way to sit at the same table, understand that we have differences, but come to the agreement that human lives should be more important than political agendas.

 

Through all this, I basically got a mini course on election law which has been a great experience. I would like to publicly thank Kate Bowden from Disability Rights Rhode Island, Jonathan Diaz and Simone Leeper from the Campaign Legal Center, (CLC) as well as Steven Brown, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) for being so great about answering my questions along the way. I would also like to thank Corey Goldstone at the CLC communications team for being so open about accessibility. Before my piece came out, we talked about how just mentioning a persons age and town in a photo caption is not as descriptive as it could be. He asked if it was okay to mention the color of my shirt in the photo and I told him it was and thanked him for asking. I explained that it would help if they explained that the photo is a headshot, I have a red shirt on, and I am smiling, lets those with screen readers know more about the photo going along with the story. He said he would pass that information along to his team and would make more changes like this moving forward. I am happy and blessed to be a part of such an important conversation. Sometimes for me personally it helps having someone read something out loud along with reading it with my technology. Simone and Corey were great about reading everything. You can read about the case here.

https://campaignlegal.org/cases-actions/common-cause-rhode-island-v-gorbea

Find the press release here.

https://campaignlegal.org/press-releases/groups-challenge-rhode-island-vote-mail-requirements-put-voters-risk-during-covid-19

You can find their web update here.

https://campaignlegal.org/update/clc-challenges-requirement-puts-rhode-island-voters-risk-contracting-covid-19

Yesterday the federal judge in this case said that removing this two-witness notary requirement was reasonable but the Republican Party is appealing this case. Everyone has different outlets they like, so find what 10 put out below.

https://turnto10.com/news/local/rhode-island-eliminates-witness-notary-requirements-to-vote-by-mail-gop-to-appeal

Please think of each other. Please save a seat at your table for a disabled person. Not because you feel bad for us. Not because you are bored. Not because you’re trying to make yourself feel better or because your friends think you’re so nice for being friends with that one friend with a disability. Give us a spot at your table (personally and professionally) because like you, we deserve to be heard. We deserve your friendship. We deserve opportunity. And we most certainly deserve a seat at the table discussing the decisions that affect our country.

Miranda

Petitions That Need Your Signature! Please Share All the Links In This!

Hey friends,

As you can probably tell, with everything going on lately, I have put my “In the Dark” and Perkins posts on hold. It might be harder for me to write about the show now since the CW deletes episodes shortly after they were put up for streaming, but there are more important things I need to be writing about.

While I cannot go to rallies in person, I am with everyone protesting peacefully in spirit. I want to tell disabled people that even though we may not be able to go to rallies, we can still show that #BlackLivesMatter to us in other ways. Educate yourself. Talk to people. Read about what black people are facing and remember what you learned as a kid about how horribly they were treated? Think about that and make yourself part of the conversation that shows through your actions you are helping to end racism. I am posting a few more petitions below and please join me in signing and sharing them.

https://act.colorofchange.org/signup/signup?source=coc_website_popup

Also, see

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/demand-justice-ahmaud/?t=4&akid=42998%2E9052197%2EH6qZB0

Read about another here.

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforbre-breonna-taylor-officers-fired/?t=3&akid=42998%2E9052197%2EH6qZB0

Here’s a way you can donate (if you can, and if not, share, share, share!) and help Color Of Change help black people register to vote and get the information they need about voting where they live. Voting is important to all of us isn’t it? Voting is more important now than it has ever been.

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/blackvoterregistration?akid=42979.9052197.h8B2le&rd=1&refcode=dm_fullbase_link1_nondonors&refcode2=42979_9052197_h8B2le&t=1

Please share this post with everyone you know in life and on social media!

Miranda

Sign This Petition and Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor

Hi friends,

I am sharing this petition in hopes you will join me in demanding the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor be fired. Today would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday.

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforbre-breonna-taylor-officers-fired/?t=3&akid=42998%2E9052197%2EH6qZB0

Thank you for signing and sharing. Let’s keep doing what we can to let people know that #BlackLivesMatter

#JusticeForBre

#BreonnaTaylor

Miranda

Miranda Oakley An Interview With Susan Brand

Hi!

I recently did a Q and A interview with the editor and creator of my textbook, Susan Brand. You can read about that here

https://mirandaleeoakley.com/2019/07/12/my-textbook-is-out-now/

Since classes have been online because of the pandemic, Susan posted my interview on her course website this week. I thought I would share it with you here. Thanks for allowing me to share my story and asking such great questions, Susan.

We talk about everything from my early years as a blind girl, to time in college and about my writing these days. I hope when you read about my friend, Chelsea, you will learn to include blind (or insert disability) people into your circle in your college squad. I hope when you read about my lifelong friend, Helene, and her parents, I hope you learn friends come with all abilities. Helene’s parents never worried about me. I hope your parents don’t worry about their friend who has a disability, either. Lastly, let me just add, I share my story not because I’m a victim, but because I want to show people you can be a person who is an outcast and who most people brush aside, and then people can learn about what you stand for, your work, and that we really all do deserve everything sighted people do. As a writer, (and even doing PR for my high school,) you learn to humble yourself enough to know not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. Some people like my style and my message, others prefer bigger names like Molly Burk, and some like both of us. One of Susan’s students, Celeste, took the time to leave me a comment under the comments section here after reading about me, and it was really nice, so thank you and I’d love to connect. If you learn something, tell someone about it. Let’s change the way people perceive blindness. One person at a time. ❤

 

 

Miranda Oakley: An Interview with Susan Brand

  1. Please tell us about yourself!  We’re interested in learning about your home, your family, your personality, and your hobbies and interests.

 

I’m the first person in my family to have graduated college. My sister graduated CCRI with an Associates degree in Arts and went on to pursue Dental Assisting. My mom was the vice president of a construction company and eventually worked as an assistant manager of a group home for mentally challenged adults. Now she works as a caregiver for the elderly. I’ve lived in Rhode Island my whole life. My sister and I were fortunate to grow up with a pool, and I live close to the beach, so that always works in my favor during the summer. =) Once you get to know me, you’ll learn that I’m an outgoing person. I love going to concerts, being outside in nature, and I am a huge fan of the TV show “In the Dark.” If you haven’t seen it, you must watch it!  After you read this, of course. 😉 I’ve also been collecting foreign coins since I was a kid.

  1. Please share with us information about your school experiences in elementary education. In high school. What were some challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Elementary School: First of all, when I was in elementary school, apps did not exist. I had a TVI, (Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired) that would act as a go-between, who worked with myself and my classroom teacher. My TVI taught me how to use an abacus made for the blind to teach me about number place value. Nowadays, like with everything, there’s an app for that! I would Braille notes in class, but I also recorded classes on cassette tapes. Does anybody taking this class even know what those are?

I met one of my best friends, Helene, in elementary school. I always appreciated how her parents didn’t worry about me. When kids see we are not worried about something or someone, they don’t worry. Her parents weren’t scared of me. Helene learned not to be scared of me, too. People, even later in my adult life, have been afraid to include me in social activities sometimes out of fear that something might happen to me. Helene’s parents have never been held back by my blindness. They let Helene grow up with diversity, and since they accepted me, they taught her that it’s okay to be friends with people of all walks of life. If I needed to do something differently, they always came up with on the spot ways to make it so I could participate. They still do that to this day. My aid in school had to Braille materials by hand on the manual Perkins Braille machine. She became like another mother to me. She worked with me from kindergarten through eighth grade.

High School: High school was amazing. After eighth grade, I left public school and began attending a School for the Blind in Massachusetts. I met the same requirements as my public school, and I also had special classes where I could improve my blindness skills. Special classes included Braille, mobility, which is where an instructor teaches you how to safely get to places as a blind person, and life skills like cutting my food. While some students take academics, they also teach students who have various disabilities. This school grades assignments but doesn’t assign grades as you progress each year. One of the greatest things about this blind school was the fact that during the six years I was there, I was known for anything but my white cane. I worked on my own TV show and I participated in theater. At one point I was the captain of my track team and cheerleading squad. Our track had guide wires we could hold onto as a guide. As you ran, they would loosen up and tighten up when you got to the end. The indoor ones had tape so we could follow so we knew how many laps we were doing. We would travel and compete with other schools for the blind, and that was always fun. People decided whether they liked me or not based on my personality rather than my disability. Like with anything, this school isn’t perfect.

While I was away from home on weekends and vacations, some challenges included being away from my friends at home. Oh, and my dogs at the time, too. Because you know, animals are friends, too. This school has smaller classes, so my class had sixteen students. I was the only one in my senior class going to college. Because of this, sometimes I felt like I was doing everything that comes along with applying for college alone. In the beginning it was hard knowing I had to share my teaching assistant because she was like another mother to me. I understood that other students needed her help, too, but for a little while it was hard to hear about. As I grew into my own more at the school, I learned to be happy for all the students my assistant was now working with in public school. Shakespeare’s Hamlet was also really hard for me!

Cottage Life: Students at this school stay in cottages, so in a way I learned how to live in a dorm. Most people were friendly when I was there, but I did not like one cottage, in particular. I really didn’t like how most staff treated their students in this one cottage. Sometimes I found it hard to express how I felt to people there because I didn’t want it to seem as if I was not adjusting well. Students stay in different cottages depending on their age. It was hard finding a balance between what I felt like I could share with them and being in this cottage, it began to teach me what I value and what I don’t in the people around me. I’m thankful for those staff, though. Other than the one cottage experience, this school was great for me since I wasn’t receiving proper services in public school anymore.

  1. Please share your college experiences with us. What was your major? What was it like living in a dorm?  How well did the academic and physical accommodations meet your needs?  What was done well?  What could have been done better?

Majors, Dorms, and Roommates: When I began URI, I originally entered the University as a journalism major and eventually changed to English a few years later. I lived on campus for three years and commuted my final three. I was given the accessible room, so I had the room to myself. My room was like a mini apartment. For many, college is their first taste of freedom. I had to think about everything when considering a roommate. If my roommate needed privacy, where was I going to go to give them space? I only really had my friend, Chelsea, and it was much easier for said roommate to go somewhere else than it was for me. Living in a dorm was both a blessing and a terrible experience. Not many students talked to me, and the ones who did kept conversations brief. Blind people across universities share the same experience in that it’s as if people don’t know how to hang out with a blind person. Taylor Swift’s music was great company because I was alone. A lot.

Student Assistants: I worked with students on campus that were paid to help me and the University put extra guest passes on my card so they could help me through the dining hall so I could get food, although later on I eventually ended up bringing my own food and eating alone in my room. It was extra responsibility added to their work, but the University used it as an incentive for them to help me. If you help Miranda get food, you don’t have to use your meal plan because you’ll be covered.

The students were also paid to help read what wasn’t accessible to me in an audio or online format. While I have become friends with a small few of them after graduation, at the time they weren’t paid to be my friend. They were told to keep it professional and just read, scribe for me if need be and leave. Obviously, people need to do their job. I’m a person, though, and most of them were friendly. One told me after we graduated the struggle of finding a balance between doing their job and being a friend. It’s hard. Do you do your job, or do you connect with that person with a disability and hope you’re not getting in trouble for being too personal? I always appreciated the SMALL handful of students who put me, Miranda, the sophisticated woman, first. If you’re mature enough, you will learn there’s a way to do your job and see people for who they are. At the same time.

Friendships: I didn’t get out much, so sometimes I had students working with me bring me to the library to work or take me on a walk because I was so isolated. The dorm was also a blessing because I met one of my good friends, Chelsea, my Freshman year. I always say she was the first one at URI to take a free chance on me. She was an RA and decided to get to know me. Miranda. She never took a penny for anything. Absolutely anything. Chelsea wasn’t ever ashamed to openly be friends with me and include me. I grew to trust and learn she is for real and doesn’t have pity on me. She included me in games, brought me to some of her meetings just so I could get out, and wasn’t afraid to advocate for me. Students always found it hard to advocate for me. They might think, “When do I advocate for somebody being mistreated on campus? She’s a nice person, but I need money this week, so what do I do?” Chelsea didn’t care about any of that stuff. She was brave enough to go to a few disability services meetings with me and advocate for me, physically and emotionally. Everybody needs a Chelsea.

Disability Provisions: While I fought a lot with disability services to accommodate my needs, something they did do well was working with housing so I could have the same dorm room each year. This made it easier on me mobility wise because the state only had one teacher who taught younger kids through the college level. Each semester I only had to learn how to get to different classes, and it helped not having to constantly learn a new dorm room. As far as academic accommodations, I found working with professors, even the difficult ones, better than working with disability services. I had to fight disability services to get my math book in Braille because they said another girl who is blind at a different University didn’t need one. I also had to fight for my student assistants each semester and constantly explain that I really did need them because not everything was accessible. I would start every semester, (except my last one!) behind because my students hadn’t been hired yet or my books were not scanned in the correct format, so I didn’t have any books. I found professors either wrote me off as too complicated or they accepted me in the classroom. Professors were good about the fact that I needed to sit up front in class and emailing me certain assignments. The Sakai site (now BrightSpace) was often difficult with my screen reading program so they were great about understanding that students sometimes needed to help me submit assignments. Sometimes they let me email them, instead. One challenge working with students assistants was that none of them were English majors, and this made it hard for them to explain certain English language conventions. In literature, that can be really important.

4. What are your career aspirations?

I’m working on finishing my memoir. My goal is to change perceptions of people with disabilities. I hope people who read it will make a positive change and be motivated to make disability a positive conversation instead of a scary, negative, awkward one. I’m also working on expanding my speaking opportunities as a motivational speaker for children and adults.

5. Tell us about your life’s accomplishments.

One accomplishment I am particularly proud of is that I got to be included in Susan’s textbook! It was such a full circle moment for me to be in the same book as one of my great professors. Also, I worked on my lifelong friend, Helene’s campaign last year when she ran for office in Massachusetts. Phone banking was great, but door-knocking was my favorite! It was great going around and meeting people and talking with them face-to-face about Helene’s campaign and issues that were important to them. It was also great to show others that people with disabilities have opinions, too. We’re not just something pretty to look at. We’re not just your daily inspiration. Some of us get political and some of us don’t.

6.  What recommendations or advice do you have for sighted people in dealing with people who are blind?  What stereotypes should be overcome?

  • These are such great questions! First of all, blind people use words like see, look, and watch. You won’t offend me using everyday language.
  • Sometimes we might need help and sometimes we don’t. If we refuse, we’re not being rude, and we appreciate you. Sometimes, even though you have good intentions, we learn specific landmarks to help us with travel. I learned, for example, once my cane came in contact with a lamp post outside Swan Hall, that told me how many turns I needed to take in order to make my way to the door.
  • Sometimes helping us can throw us off if you leave us in a different place. If you leave us in a new place, be sure we are clear about this location and know how to get to the next location.
  • If you’re not sure of something, ask, and don’t avoid it. We can’t read your mind, and we don’t expect you to read ours.
  • Some of the best advice I can share is to please remember that not every blind person is the same. Is anybody the same? Lots of people approach blindness with a “one size fits all” attitude, and that’s simply just not true. Just because I like or dislike something doesn’t mean every blind person you meet is going to like and dislike the same things. Some people have low vision, meaning they can see to a certain degree. Others, like myself, don’t have any vision. My vision isn’t really lost though. J
  • If you see a blind person at a table alone at an event, don’t think they are being antisocial. It’s hard for blind people to mingle without a guide, and people often misinterpret that as we don’t want to meet people. Come and say hi, and if you’re walking around enjoying whatever it is, offer to guide them. Ask what works for them, and you might make a friend.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your eyes and see for somebody. Some of us don’t care and some, like myself, love a good description.
  • People often think people who are blind are not as intellectually capable as people with sight and that’s not true at all. If a sighted person gets help on a paper that’s fine. If a blind person does the same thing, that’s not okay. That’s always been so crazy to me!
  • Just because we do things differently than you doesn’t mean we should be left out. Blindness (or any disability for that matter) isn’t always scary or sad, so don’t make it that way. Introduce yourself, and we will eventually learn who you are. Please don’t think we remember every single voice we hear.
  • Don’t be afraid, and don’t be ashamed. It’s okay to be friends or have relationships with a person with a disability.
  • Lastly, please, please, tell somebody when you are leaving a room. Sometimes it’s funny, but sometimes having one-sided conversations can be awkward!
  • What might we not realize about people who are blind? Even though society tells you so, my cane doesn’t define me. People with disabilities deserve everything you do.
  1. 7.  In what ways might we become allies for people who are blind?

Get to know the person and decide if you like them based on if you vibe well or not. When you’re not afraid, eventually your friends, your colleagues, and your family are not afraid, either. If you become close to a blind person, if you work with a blind person, if you have a blind neighbor, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to let them into your circle when you’re not being paid for it.

8.  Please share anything else with us as you like.

I know that was a lot. If you actually read this entire thing, thank you so much. I would love to meet you! If you’re interested or learned something today, tell people about it. I’d love to connect with you. Check out my website, mirandaleeoakley.com and leave me a comment! My website has all the ways you can find me. Thanks for your time, stay healthy, and I hope this changed how you view equality.

Brailer

Have You Signed These Petitions and Sent An Email Yet?

Hi Friends,

Have you signed these petitions telling people that you are adding your voice in demanding #JusticeForAhmaudArbery and #GeorgeFloyd yet? If you haven’t sent an email to the Minneapolis police department yet adding your voice to the conversation, you can find a link with how you can do that below. While it is great all four former officers are being charged in George Floyd’s murder, it was shared in today’s press conference that evidence is still being collected in Floyd’s case. I think it is important that people sign these petitions and email the police department demanding justice even with today’s news because we need to tell them that these former officers should be prosecuted at the highest level possible.

You can find links to the petitions below.

 

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/demand-justice-ahmaud/?sp_ref=643901975.176.206592.f.652898.2&referring_akid=.9052197.UraEj8&source=fb_sp

https://www.change.org/p/national-action-against-police-brutality-and-murder?recruiter=109511365&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial&recruited_by_id=969ccd73-2bf8-45ee-a5be-a385fc836e36&utm_content=fht-319519-en-us%3Av2

As I said above, you can send an email to the Minneapolis police department demanding that justice be served here.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AKY8K2Mcsw32JIq41oVjXTU6u-nPIdvRoxEZEjzQWXk/mobilebasic

 

Let’s all do our part in using our voice and platforms to speak up about the things that matter. Racism needs to change and let’s do our part to show people we will not tolerate it.

Miranda ❤