Firstly, despite public opinion, I don’t like talking about my daily life story on my podcast . In fact, I love hearing about what others have to say about the times and the world around us. Hence, when I look for that next big story to cover, I scroll. I scroll furiously in fact!
For those just meeting me and my podcast, I admit I could be more open about rollerblading around New York City on just one leg. That is something everyone seems to want to look at as I just wheel, zone it out, and turn up my headphones. Yet, talking about other big stories is what excites my podcasting palate.
If there was anything I want to be on record for, it’s sharing thoughts on the world around us, not ‘here is how I overcame today’. Quite frankly, very rarely do I feel like I overcome, I just feel like I’m living the best life I can! There are people out there who literally struggle to overcome, it’s those people I want to highlight and then it’s the ones that overcome the most that I want to highlight through interviews and features on ‘Adapting With Alex Garrett’.
So, if I ever am gapped in posting on my blog, it’s because I’m out finding the next adapter to highlight!
It was like I had an epiphany this weekend. A stream of consciousness similar to the streams of red, white and blue seen in Washington D.C. during their Independence Day Celebration. A stream of consciousness that was as colorful in my brain as the Macy’s fireworks launching from the Empire State Building Saturday night!
This stream of consciousness told me ‘I have the ability’ to do good and help bring positivity into this life even more! Furthermore, I realized God is moving my podcasting from ‘hard news’ coverage to better content that can move conversations forward. Truly, He is putting items on my agenda to discuss and I feel better listening to His lead!
It felt fitting to feel that empowerment on the weekend where we celebrated the Founding Fathers’ ability to make us an independent nation 244 years ago! They saw their ability to break free, they recognized it was a God-Given ability and they fought for our freedoms!
In 1775, ‘Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death’ orator Patrick Henry, of Virginia, recognized the ABILITY the ‘British America’ had to break free from Britain. He literally begged the Congress, saying, “Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years.” He also added, “the war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?” That, along with Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’, propelled us to July 4th, 1776!
Our first President, George Washington, knew his Continental Army had the ABILITY to cross the Delaware and defeat the British that cold Christmas night December 25th, 1776. He knew this nation had the ability to actually falter in chaos. If you could believe it, in his farewell address, he foretold the Party system could lead us into rioting and insurrection. Isn’t it crazy that was playing out on our TV screens just months before our Nation’s birthday?
So, I come here to say if we already have the ability to falter, why keep faltering as a country? Why not again recognize we have the ABILITY to rise above the ashes of burnt police departments? Why not recognize that law enforcement has the ABILITY to defend and protect when given the chance? Why not recognize we have the ABILITY to rise above the sickness plaguing this country and work to finally eradicate it?
We’ve seen protests. The greatness of America and Independence Day is abilities that freedom gave us to go ahead and protest. Amazingly, that right extends to burning the American Flag. Now, you might be mad that I included protesting and burning the American Flag in the same sentence. I recognize that not everyone is burning Old Glory, but to those that truly want change because you love America and Americans, recognize YOUR ABILITY to stop the flag-burning if you see it around you. I’d love to highlight an example! Chicago Cub Rick Monday (coincidentally this is published on a Monday), saw protesters at Dodger Stadium in 1976. They attempted to light an American Flag on fire in CENTERFIELD! Monday, with the quick hands scooped and saved the American Flag! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbr1hNp-nI4)
By the same token, if you stand for police, but also do protest in favor of fair policing, just know you have the ABILITY to tell anyone you see screaming in the faces of good cops protecting protesters that those cops are not the issue.
This Independence Day 2020, let us not forget the idea of self-governance is a reason why we became a free nation after all. Those who fought for America to be a stand-alone country believed in the ABILITY of us to self-govern.
July is going to also mark 30 years of the Americans With Disabilities Act! This act has also empowered self-governance and empowered the disabled community to be part of the United States of America. Each day, disabled Americans strive as part of this nation and I’m happy to report nearly 20% of the disabled community is working, and I implore more companies not be afraid and see that those with disabilities also have ABILITIES! (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/disabl.pdf)
From the disabled community to resilience of Americans driving down numbers through COVID, America has that resilience gene in it daily. To have the resilience and to push through the crises at hand and have a fireworks display across New York City this Independence Day (though unannounced most days) felt meaningful. It felt as meaningful as the Piazza 2001 comeback game against the Braves! Felt as meaningful as the 2001 World Series which brought NYC and America back to LIFE! It showed this country continues to have the guts and resilience! To keep this a great country, we must recognize our ABILITY to stand up for who and what is right and just!
Finally, let us recognize we have our OWN resilience and ABILITY to bounce back from everything we go through on a daily basis. We have the ABILITY to control our destiny, a destiny that was provided July 4th, 1776!
On July 26th, Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the annual Sapolin Awards at Gracie Mansion by stating strongly that “we want to be the fairest big city in America, and that means we have to be the most accessible big city in America!” That statement kicked off a night in which companies in and around NYC were honored for their support of the disabled community through employment opportunities; through accessibility to entertainment, including Broadway; and through technological accessibility.
The Mayor made it a point to honor the disabled community on the day the Americans With Disabilities Act turned 28 adding that the ADA is a “statement valuing each and every person”. The disabled community makes up 11.2% of the city’s population and companies like Uniqlo and Broadway chain Shubert Organization have not lost sight.
Among the award winners at Gracie Mansion was Hiroshi Taki, CEO of Uniqlo USA. He was awarded the Employment Award by the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Victor Calise. Calise awarded Uniqlo because they have hired 20 disabled college students and recent graduates from the NYC area as they continue to expand. In entertainment, Robert Wankel, CEO of the Shubert Organization was given the Public Accomodation award for spearheading the efforts to making EVERY Broadway theater accessible through closed captioning, hearing devices and spatially. Wankel noted that while the Shubert Organization got the award, “the Broadway team is a community and so everybody is on board”.
Queens College graduate and Flushing resident, Peter Trojic, who gets around the city in a wheelchair and is now part of the Heidi Latsky dance company talked to me after the event. Trojic, 30, said the ADA has shaped lives and for the City of New York to remember the passage is “greatly important because this is something that’s over. The disability rights movement is one of the last civil rights movements.”
While progress HAS been made in 28 years for Americans With Disabilities it’s important to note the cause never dies! For more information on how the city is working to aid the disabled community I’d urge you to visit the Office of People With Disabilities website to stay up-to-date and more importantly stay involved! (https://www1.nyc.gov/site/mopd/index.page)