Members of the George Washington University Disability Support Services (GW DSS) Speakers Bureau refuse to let anything hold them back.
GW DSS presented in the exhibit section of TEDx Foggy Bottom at the Marvin Center on Friday with the motto “It was ability that mattered, not disability, which is a word I’m not crazy about using,” a quote by Academy Award-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin.
Kayla Mallery, the experience leader for TEDx Foggy Bottom, said the exhibit epitomized the TED talks slogan, “ideas worth spreading,” by “starting conversation” about living with disabilities.
The DSS exhibit allowed visitors from GW and the Washington, D.C. area to learn about “a different walk of life than their own,” she added.
Jaggar DeMarco, a sophomore participant of the GW DSS Speakers Bureau, believes the event was also a good opportunity to meet other students with disabilities. “The physical embodiment of a disability speaks to the circumstance we go through everyday, all the time,” he said.
Students “need to know what having a disability means and the misconceptions,” DeMarco added.
GW alumnus and GW DSS mentor Reid Davenport said he hopes “the Bureau makes the GW community aware that students with disabilities are prevalent and an integral part of the Foggy Bottom family.”
“I think anytime a student in the Bureau educates others – fellow students, faculty or staff – about what it’s like to live with a disability, a goal has been accomplished. The challenge that these students have taken on is building on those goals and amplifying that awareness,” Davenport, producer of the documentary Wheelchair Diaries added.
The Speakers Bureau was organized by Christy Willis, director of GW DSS.