[nfbwatlk] Ever Lee Hairston in the News

Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Mon Nov 16 09:59:22 CST 2009


The link to this was sent to scholarship committee members by Loraine
Rovig at the National Center.  Just got it over the weekend.  Thought it
of interest to the listers here.  Enjoy:

 


Teen inspired by contacts with blind role models


The Times-Standard

Posted: 11/08/2009 01:27:21 AM PST





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FREMONT -- Hannah Chadwick-Dias, a sophomore at Arcata High School, gave
a presentation at the recent annual conference of the National
Federation of the Blind of California. 

She talked about her experience attending a NASA-sponsored science camp
for blind youth last summer. She also witnessed an independence march
through Capitol Hill during her stay in Washington, D.C. 

"It was pouring rain and all of us stood on the Lincoln Memorial for
some speeches before the march," Chadwick-Dias recalled. "The speeches
were very moving and I especially enjoyed the one given by Ever Lee
Hairston because her life experiences were fascinating. Listening to her
speak in the rain that afternoon made me realize and appreciate more the
importance of independence and education. She ended her speech with a
powerful song, 'We Shall Overcome,' and we began our march." 

Coincidently, right before Chadwick-Dias gave her talk at the National
Federation of the Blind conference, Hairston repeated the speech she had
given last summer during the march. Hairston, who picked cotton as a
child and attended segregated schools, was an activist during the Civil
Rights movement in the 1960s. 

In her speech, Hairston spoke for the civil rights of blind people as
well, stressing the importance of learning Braille and mobility skills
and advocating for themselves. 

According to Chadwick-Dias' mother, Patricia Chadwick, fewer than 10
percent of the 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States
read Braille, but 90 percent of employed blind people read and write
Braille, making it a critical skill for employment. More than 75 percent
of blind people are unemployed. 

Chadwick-Dias said she enjoyed her first National Federation of the
Blind conference, because she got to meet so many blind role models and
learned about new technology for blind people. 

"It was so much fun and I got to meet a lot of awesome people," said
Chadwick-Dias, who plans to attend the national National Federation of
the Blind conference next summer in Dallas. 

Listen to Hairston's speech at www.disabilityhistory.org.



 

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