Hello friends, wow I cannot believe that the beginning of this month marked my “Crowniversary”; it’s even more surreal to realize that in that year so much has changed. We went from a stay at home order, mask mandates and unprecedented tragedy left in the wake of the pandemic, to a more hopeful future with more and more people finally getting vaccinated. I myself received my first dose on February 28th and am already prepping for the emotions I will undoubtedly have when I’m fully vaccinated on the 21st.
This month has been monumental in many ways. As you may know March is International Women’s Month; the number of strong female influences I have in my world is phenomenal. Krystina and I have been showcasing disabled women who are making huge strides in the disability community, including my personal hero Jen Kumiyama, (i.e. Ms. Wheelchair California 2010, first woman in a wheelchair on a Disney stage and Ms. Wheelchair America 1st runner up). I’ve also had the distinct honor of repping my platform while supporting all the powerhouse disabled women out there by joining forces with mobileWOMEN.org, an online magazine that elevates and celebrates all of the accomplishments of disabled women across the country. We are also in the process of orchestrating a webinar allowing for a multifaceted conversation around disability on their platform. Be sure to check out their video celebrating International Women’s Day; you may see a familiar face!
In the world of theatre, March has also provided many opportunities to delve back on stage. Rehearsals for The Peter Pan Foundation’s fundraising performances of Wish Upon A Star (in which I’m changing it up and debuting as Snow White) for the Children’s Hospital of Oakland have begun.
Our amazing creative team came up with a way we could all rehearse safely outside which is so exciting. It wasn’t everyone but being able to make magic with even a small group of people was indescribable. This past month I was also connected with a local actor and teacher who is putting on a version of “Starlight Express” where, instead of roller skates, he wants actors who use wheels of all kinds to participate. I’m assisting in getting the word out and consulting as a liaison and advocate, helping discern whatever the future performers may need. Lastly, my good friend and fellow performer Gary Stanford, brought me onto his podcast “Planet Bay Area” to talk about my platform, performing experiences and the future of disability advocacy.
This month I’ve also been hard at work setting up educational opportunities, including a presentation to the kids at my old elementary school, John Baldwin Elementary, as well as reading a few children’s books on disability to some Transitional Kindergarten, Kindergarten and first graders in special education at Mountain View Elementary School in Concord, California. I’ve also participated in two documentaries, one by Quanster Entertainment entitled “No Barriers” and another for a high school senior class project discussing the merits of the ADA in which I proliferated on its positive impact on my life. These opportunities are timely since this month also recognizes International Wheelchair Day which allows wheelchair users to celebrate the freedom, independence and opportunity our wheelchairs bring us.
Finally, I was able to take my first solo “road trip” in almost a year out to Redwood City to visit the Magical Bridge all abilities playground with Krystina Jackson and Angela Piazza. I may be 32 but playing in an environment that I didn’t have growing up was enough to bring out my inner child. The Magical Bridge team sure is proving that inclusion is indeed magical.