Disability is Diversity

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

#DiversabilityPDX at OHSU's Night for Networking

By Ian Leslie 

Diversability PDX lead Ian attended the Night for Networking at OHSU last week. Night for Networking is a focused yet comfortable evening of business networking that connects job-seekers with disabilities and local employers. Participants include job-seekers, recruiters, volunteers, job-coaches, interpreters and supporters. Check out his reflections below.

Photo courtesy of Ian Leslie

Photo courtesy of Ian Leslie

Met Patrick Elijah last night at Night For Networking hosted by OHSU.

Patrick and I started chatting and I learned about his story and how he lost his eyesight. He moved to the states from Nigeria in the 70's and began his work career. Later on, he was assaulted on the job when someone poured acid in his eyes, flown to the UK, and went through 3 surgeries. Unfortunately, the eyesight never came back. I asked him what the biggest difference, besides losing his eyesight, has been to his life and he said that tasks that used to take 30 seconds, now take over 2 minutes to complete. Imagine having to relearn life like that, it would be so frustrating it's hard to even empathize.

What blew me away was his: positivity, fortitude, and resiliency. He has been relearning skills and was at N.O.N. determined to find a job that can help him jumpstart his career again. His positive outlook on life, even with such a traumatic event that happened was amazing to experience and motivates me to #ShareTheLove.

This is what Diversability is all about. Promoting full inclusion and helping all people understand that having a disability is merely another form of diversity. All too often we shy away from individuals with disabilities, just remember that everyone is equal, no matter how you may perceive them.

As we started talking about Diversability and what we are hoping to accomplish in bringing it to PDX, he expressed interest in getting involved. We will be getting together for a coffee in the coming weeks and I invite anyone else who wants to learn more about Patrick's story or wants to help create this inclusive community in Portland to DM me or stay tuned for further details.