In the summer of 2014, I went to France and England with my mother and my aunt.
You probably don’t know this because I don’t hint at it much. But here’s the thing: I have Cerebral Palsy. What that means for me – because believe me, I could have it worse – is I can’t walk by myself. Consequently, I use an electric wheelchair to get myself around my college campus. Lately, however, my chair has not been holding a charge, and I’m not sure why. So after class, instead of going to the library and getting work done, I usually have to go back to my room and charge the chair.
That’s not the only thing that frustrates me, though. Over the summer, for my 20 birthday, my mother took me to Europe. My aunt came with us to help my mom. We spent three days in Paris and about a week or two in England. Paris was nice, but England blew my mind. I realized that the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed during the first Bush Administration, didn’t do as much as I thought. Seriously, the people in England were so nice. They would stop and help us without asking if we need it. England may be really old, but when they can make something accessible, they go all out. Probably my favorite part was the accessible bathroom keys. Every public bathroom typically has a handicapped stall for people like me. Sometimes, people who have no need for it use it anyway. This really sucks, especially when I really have to go. England solved this problem with special keys for handicapped people so that not just anybody could use the special stall. It’s such a simple thing that would make a HUGE difference. But does America care? Absolutely not. My country has been so desensitized to people like me that they don’t even care. My minority is stigmatized and avoided; we are invisible.
It really needs to change.