For CUNY Disability Awareness Month the Student Organization for Every Disability United For Progress (SOFEDUP Club) had three workshops.
At the Senses Workshop on April 16th one of the speakers was Marybeth Melendez who went to the College of Staten Island. She talked about the faces behind the statistics. The percentages should be against disabled woman of color and they have surprising amounts in college and higher.
Melendez went to John Jay College for law for three years and her vision was going and she had to withdraw. She wanted to be with her kids and took up Judo with them. In Tae Qwon Do she got a first degree black belt. Judo releases pent up aggression. With kids she went on a national tour for competitions. In 17 states she medaled in 10.
In Martial Arts you learn to be aware of your other senses. She was already aware, they were everyday survival skills. She went to the 1999 Spain Para Olympics World Championship as the number one American for the blind. She won the bronze and was third in the world. She blew out her knee and has a metal rod in it. She then taught martial arts. At the workshop she showed her jaws collapsible tv like device. It speaks what you type and magnifies print. Braille is almost obsolete and is expensive and the society is going paperless. The new computer device is expensive. The zoom text has shortcuts like for YouTube. In a year she will have her master’s degree. Her goal is to make humanity better.
BC Children Studies Professor Carla Lewis-Irizarry has no retina and told of the experiences. She told of the conditions of glaucoma and medications. Both speakers had limited vision and were impressive speakers.
Photo of speaker Marybeth Melendez and Professor Carla Lewis-Irizarry with special computer.
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