Kenneth Mitchell, Springfield, OH

Kenneth Mitchell, Springfield, OH

My mother is actually from Sparta, Georgia. Like her mother and grandmother before her. Yeah, you know, In The Heat of the Night. So, I guess, what I would want people to know [about humanity] is what I do. I would talk about what I do. It’s an important part of my life; It’s called Independent Living. Basically it means that people with disabilities, and I use that because it’s a characteristic of me. I’m a man who happens to be blind. Because there is so much about me other than being blind, which I won’t get into because all of them are boring. But basically Independent Living is about having a choice. They are people who are responsible for them, but it’s important for them to know that they are the experts of living their lives. There are other experts such as your Mom, Dad, Cousins, etc, but you are the expert of your life. 

I’m the only one who knows best to be a Black man who is blind in Atlanta. Because that’s me. You have academic experts sure, but a blind person is the blind person expert, and I believe in supporting their decision. It tends to, well, we tend to do what we’re told. I’ll use me for example. ‘Ken, it’s probably not a good time to go downtown tonight. Or don’t cross Peachtree, because the cars are going really fast.’ It’s my choice, but I’m responsible. 

I’m saying I don’t like how we police people’s choices. Instead of stopping them, do we ask how we can help them in their decisions? Yes it could be more difficult, but it’s what they want to do. What I work on specifically is peer support. Providing contemporaries for people so that they are able to find the support they need to get what they want out of life. If something doesn’t work, we can help explain why. 

If you can, can you share a link about Lois Curtis?

In closing, I want people to know that we are all people. If we remember that these are the ways we can help each other.”