Site Leaders: Atithi Patel & Zehra Rahman
Atithi: Second Year Cognitive Science and Biology Major
Zehra: Fourth Year Cellular Biology Major with a Spanish Minor and Certificate in Disability Studies
How did I get involved with IMPACT?
Atithi: One of my best friends is 3 years older than me, so while she was at UGA, she always recounted her amazing experiences with IMPACT, both as a participant and as a Site Leader. Years before I had even applied to UGA, I knew I wanted to go on an IMPACT trip. I had high expectations, and they were just blown effortlessly out of the water on my freshman year trip to Orlando, FL. IMPACT puts together groups of people who have one thing in common, a desire to improve the world through social justice. This common thread inspired me throughout my trip and I knew I wanted to continue to learn and serve throughout my time at UGA.
Zehra: I got involved with IMPACT when a site leader reached out to my first-year Odyssey class to inform us that she would be leading an IMPACT trip focused on a social justice issue that related to our class. After doing additional research on the cost, time commitment, and other factors, I ended up applying and going on her trip for Disability/Ability Awareness to Philadelphia, PA. After one of the most influential and eye-opening weeks of my life, I became so passionate about what this organization represents that I applied to be a site leader. I love IMPACT because it uniquely combines social justice education and awareness with service. It enables individuals to not just be interested or passionate about a social justice issue, but enables them to serve and be a part of the solution to a greater issues.
Why am I interested in my trip focus?
Atithi: Awareness of the fact that the disabled can provide to the community just as much as the abled can, even if it may be in different ways, is the most important step towards diminishing the stigma against disabilities, whether mental or physical. The only thing holding the disabled back is the misconstrued perception that everything must be done in one way, the way an abled person does it. As the largest minority in the world, the disability community deserves more from us as a society, in terms of representation and inclusion.
Zehra: My brother, 10 years older than me, has autism spectrum disorder. Growing up, I watched him transition into adulthood with a mental disability. Witnessing his struggles as an adult with a disability while living in a society that has many misconceptions about disability and ability, he shaped the way I perceive people and interactions as a whole. After going on my first IMPACT trip my freshmen year, which was the Disability/ Ability Awareness Trip to Philadelphia, PA, my understanding of the disability community grew as I was able to experience and learn about many issues faced by people with disabilities. After site leading for the Native American Cultural Awareness and Advocacy trip and the Shelter and Resource Access trip, I have seen the ever-present intersectionality of all social justice issues, and would love to share what I have learned from my experiences with my participants, as well as learn and grow from my participants and this trip, full-circling into my last year here at UGA :).
Atithi: I love listening to music of all different languages, French, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic.
Zehra: I bought wood from Home Depot and built two benches by hand for my dining table!
Learn more about our trip focus!
- Disability: impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime
- Accessibility: strongly related to universal design which is the process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not)
- Person-centered/ people-first language: seeks to put the person first and the disability second. People with disabilities are people, first and foremost. A person is not handicapped, a person is not disabled…a person has a disability. Focus on the person first, the disability last.
- Social justice: justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
- Ableism: a form of discrimination in favor of able-bodied people
- Inclusivity: the opportunity to partake in all activities available to the general public
- The disability community is one of the largest minority groups in the country.
- According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the African American community has the highest rate of disability in the United States at 20.8 percent, slightly higher than the overall disability rate of 19.4%
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (known as ADA) was passed in 1990. This bill prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
- More than 1 billion people around the world (15% of the population) have some kind of disability.
- People with disabilities have a higher rate of unemployment than able-bodied people.
- Programs like Medicare exist to help people with disabilities pay for their healthcare
- In 1967 the University of Georgia in Athens opened the Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD), which works "with individuals with disabilities, their family members, federal and state agencies, service providers, and others" to create opportunities for people with disabilities. As part of its program, IHDD offers a disability studies certificate to supplement degrees in a variety of academic disciplines at the university.
- Destination Dawgs: a non-degree Certificate program will support students with intellectual disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood an opportunity to prepare for a career and independent living over the course of 5 spring/fall semesters. Students will audit UGA courses, gain valuable job skills, and build a social network based on individualized plans supported by peer mentors.
- At UGA, there are many organizations that advocate for students with disabilities. The most easily-accessible is the Disability Resource Center (drc.uga.edu) which provides accommodations for UGA students.
- Around 13% of the city’s population lives with a disability.
- Disability Rights Mississippi is the only disability advocacy agency in MS that provides resources to pursue legal remedies.
- The rates of Social Security Disability approval in MS are less than half of the national average rates.
- Misunderstood Minds: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds/intro.html
- This Module encourages students to explore their own attitudes and beliefs about people with disabilities. It highlights the abilities of students with disabilities. We highly recommend checking it out: https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/da/#content
- We Are the Original Lifehackers: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jtpYCeq6FhhLizZwBkynGoYlN69b06Xc/view?usp=sharing
- This Ted Talk is worth the watch! Stella Young discusses the concept of “inspirational porn” and how it affects people who are living their day-to-day lives with a disability: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K9Gg164Bsw
- This is a great TedTalk to understand how disability rights intersect with access to education: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABFpTRlJUuc
- This article explores the intersection of various identities with disability through the perspective of police brutality: http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/opinion/perry-garner-disability-race-intersection/index.html