Friday, August 7, 2015

Challenge accepted

Yesterday, the NuMotion wheelchair ended up at the Gainesville's Equal Opportunity interim Director's Office. She used it until this morning and even attended the City Commission meeting in it. We had our doubts about how she would manage, but I have to say she was a trooper. Unsure and a bit slow in her movements at first, she figured it out in a few hours. As we interviewed her on camera this morning, she had a few very poignant observations. She talked about how she felt others perceived her, the personal space as people leaned against her. How much she hated the inclines, what she assumed being a flat surface before- proved to be a challenge. She described the difficult balance between needing help in some situations and people assumed she needed it when in fact she was getting by on her own. I have to say Gwen Saffo was really excited to take the challenge and broaden her understanding. She came out on top, called the experience  eye opening and I think in ways she did not anticipate. What's exciting for me, aside from all of the exciting footage we'll be be putting on the website soon- is that she genuinely wants to partner with our Foundation, FDAAF on future projects and campaigns. Her office oversees the inclusion of ten types of minority groups, although for many years it was primarily seen as a race relations forum. I must say that I'm really excited where this may go next- as she challenged some high ranked city officials to take her place. Also last night, we staged a bit of a performance as I went on live TV. She decided not to tell anyone why she was in the chair unless people asked. And we felt that this being America, in the age of political correctness people wouldn't. Even those who knew her. Instead I was asked to attend the City Commission meeting and explain her situation as it was televised. Hours before I got a haircut and styled and it was too late to put the issue on the agenda, but we've done it during the public comment part. With this - we challenged the City Commissioners and the Mayor and invited them to participate. Another TV day, another dress shirt. No word from the City Hall as to who is willing to contact us to set a date yet. But we do have high hopes. And speaking of high hopes and politics, City of Alachua Vice Mayor Ben Boukari will be rolling around on August 17th and he will attend his Commission meeting in our chair as well. Hopefully we are making waves with this project, slowly but surely- and we decided that with people both coming in and dropping out for all kids of reasons to take a more relaxed approach. New opportunities and ideas seem to open every day, so we decided to just go with the flow and see where it take us. Adapt and change what this project needs to be as we go along. And it's been interesting and stressful so far.  

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