MCIL Welcomes Timothy ReddBy Timothy Redd
I am a person with a disability. My whole life has been about defying the odds and not allowing a disability to define me. There are many barriers that exists for people with disabilities that can make it difficult to live independently. I am here to tell you indeed it is possible. I have osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease. My childhood was characterized with broken bones, surgeries, and intense physical therapy. I don’t know where I would be had I not had supportive parents who encouraged me that I could do anything I wanted to do.
I know all too well the realities that can impede a person with a disability progress towards true independence. I have been separated in a class solely because of my disability. I was stuck in the house not able to go to work due to the lack of reliable transportation. I faced the challenge of finding accessible affordable housing and took legal action against a local apartment community who refused to accommodate my accessibility needs. I navigated the tedious process of applying for disability, been victimized by discrimination, and through it all triumphed over blatant ignorance that comes along with encountering people who don’t understand people with disabilities. These are some of the chief barriers so many in my community rally against daily.
I have overcome all these challenges on my own and achieved my own independence. This has not been a small feat. However, it is the most fulfilling and liberating feeling ever. I would not trade any of what I have dealt with because it has been necessary to make me know my strength. What I have learned in my own journey is how to advocate for myself. I am thrilled to be a part of the Memphis Center for Independent Living and excited to work with others like myself as an independent living specialist. I am here to support people in their own advocacy and offer support through information referrals and by sharing my life experiences to inspire. Currently I am pursuing a BA in Sociology with Ashford University. In my spare time I love to travel, museums, discover new local eateries, shop, and listen to music.