I have Cerebral Palsy, a disability that I’ve lived with for 22 years. I am tired of having to fight for things that I need. I shouldn’t have to fight for a college education. Getting accommodations shouldn’t take multiple emails, forms, and phone calls. I have been trying to get into two additional classes for the past eight days, but professors either aren’t willing to overload me into their classes, or they don’t respond to my e-mails. I am trying to fix a problem that I didn’t create.
Disabled people have to fight for things that improve their daily lives. Insurance companies often don’t want to pay for anything other than the bare minimum. I received a new power wheelchair last year. I had to appeal my insurance company’s decision twice. Insurance companies shouldn’t deny disabled and chronically ill people crucial equipment. People shouldn’t have to fundraise for insulin, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and other necessary equipment and medicines. I felt terrible when I had to fundraise for iLevel on my wheelchair.
I shouldn’t fear applying for employment because of my CP, but I do. According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, in 2020, 17.9 percent of disabled people were employed, down from 19.3 percent in 2019. I want people to know that I want to work and am capable of doing so. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 28.5 percent of college graduates with a disability were employed in 2018, compared to 75.5 percent of non-disabled graduates. I didn’t pursue a college degree to end up unemployed. I’m 22-years old and have never held a paying job. I have been rejected by Stop & Shop, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s, among many other employers. Merely the mention of my disability makes employers uninterested in hiring me.
I can’t help that I was born with a disability. I want to live in a world where disabled people are treated equally. Disabled people want to be active members of their communities. People need to know that disabled people are the world’s largest minority, and we deserve the same opportunities as everybody else.
Allarakhia, Hawa. “Employability and College Graduates with Disabilities.” Diverse Education, Diverse Education, 5 Aug. 2019, diverseeducation.com/article/151429/.
Caprino, Kathy. “The World’s Largest Minority Might Surprise You, And How We Can Better Serve Them.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2016/04/14/the-worlds-largest-minority-might-surprise-you-and-how-we-can-better-serve-them/?sh=737aa3ca496f.
“Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 Feb. 2021, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm.