This is my third post about my interview with . The transcript follows and you can read it on their Instagram, too. Just click . Be sure to read their other posts, too, especially with
The photo is of me giving the keynote presentation at a People First convention. As always, I emphasized the positive.
I was discriminated against by California State Rehab, and they labeled me mentally retarded on three separate occasions, because I did not do well on tasks. This actually started when I was 18 years old. I took my test and went in originally to ask for help to get me a job, because I knew I needed help. Instead, they gave me a battery of tests and conveniently labeled me mentally retarded and put me into a nearby workshop, like GoodWill Industries. It was devastating. I turned every situation into a healthy atmosphere. I smiled and went to work in this workshop with a smile on my face, doing whatever they told me to do, and I wore bandaids on every single one of the fingers on my right hand because I was doing it all with my right hand. And I stuck it out. And I made it. And then I got a full time job on my own, and I worked as a salesgirl and it was fine for a while. But then, I was criticized and bullied, because I could do the job with one hand better than other people could with two hands. It was hard, but I took the challenge on and I was not going to give up. I did not give up on hope inside of my mind. I just walked on and walked on. And then, when I was 25 years old, I had a one-time opportunity to work in the field of dance. It turned my life around. I was an Assistant Recreation Director and then became a Director. I did all the care plans, and I taught dance. I used my talents from what I learned as a little girl and turned it into a healing process for other people. And I just followed my heart. I didn’t do things fast to compete with other people, but I did it at my pace when it felt comfortable. I did so many things for myself. I won the first civil rights case because of the discrimination and I opened the doors for all people to have education. I was on the board of Disability Rights California. I just follow my heart. I wouldn’t let anybody do that to me. It took three years to find out that I won my civil rights case. In the interim, I worked and taught people, I did whatever I could.