One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together this collection of contemporary essays by disabled people.
The collection’s four parts—Being, Becoming, Doing and Connecting—feature the diverse and poignant writing of disabled and chronically ill activists, artists and authors ... They relay a wide array of experiences, each an invaluable glimpse into what it might mean to live with a disability—sometimes multiple disabilities—in an ableist society. The struggles of inhabiting a marginalized body, of navigating the world through it, come alive in each of these accounts, urgent and pressing. The thirty-eight pieces Wong assembled depict not only these struggles, but also the many ways they can be and are overcome—the joy and inherent meaning of being alive ... The truth is, I was deeply moved by more pieces than I could name here.
Disability Visibility, edited by activist Alice Wong, shares perspectives that are too often missing from...decision-making about accessibility ... The first-person stories show many ways of belonging — and not belonging — in one’s surroundings. Each piece explores, on its own terms, definitions of 'normal' and of 'quality of life.'Thirty years after the ADA, these accounts emphasize that accessibility is a question of shared, equitable distribution of benefits and burdens.
Wong, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, makes it clear that she never intended the book to serve as a 'best of' work or a quasi-academic syllabus for 'Disability 101.' As she writes, 'I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in, rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment' ... Readers will recognize relatively common scenes, such as Haben Girma’s navigating with a guide dog ...while other contributions ably demonstrate that not all disabilities are apparent ... Wong's discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.