As I sit down to write this month’s column, I’m aware of experiencing conflicted feelings.
I began writing this column for Access Press five years ago this coming April. Charlie Smith, founding Editor and Publisher of the paper, and I thought it was a good idea at the time; little did I know then how much it would come to mean to me personally, and to the community.
What I’m leading up to here is that I will be taking a year’s hiatus from writing this column so that I can offer my skills to Access Press in another way: as a board member. During the time I’m gone, there will be a few people filling in for me and I know you’ll find their contributions just as challenging and enriching.
I believe Access Press is a jewel in the disability community and I want to do my part to make sure it shines as brightly as ever.
Over the years I have gotten some wonderful responses from people I didn’t even know were reading this column. I’ve learned that for several readers it has become a highlight of the paper and for that I’m truly grateful. I’ve also gotten some flack for some of the things I’ve written, but that’s both the challenge and the privilege of having such an opportunity. It’s a challenge when the negative feedback comes, on one hand, because you don’t want to make waves; and yet it’s a privilege for the same reason sometimes you just have to stir the pot.
I’ve also realized how much the opportunity to write this column once a month, and have it read by over 11,000 readers, has meant to me personally. Sometimes it has been challenging to come up with topics month after month, but mostly it’s been a delight. It has given me a forum to express how important I believe the concepts of disability community culture and pride are to the disability community. This column has been a place to highlight many facets of these concepts.
In coming months it will continue to support these concepts through the words and ideas of other local community members, as well as some international guests.
I will continue to write occasional articles for the paper during the next year.
Thank you to everyone who has read this column through the years. I look forward to my service on the Board, and to returning renewed and refreshed to write this column next year.
Lolly Lijewski is the Advocacy Manager at The Metropolitan Center For Independent Living. She can be reached at: (651) 603-2022 Voice, or (651) 603-2001 TTY.