Inspiring stories of finding beauty in the midst of adversity


  Inspiring stories of finding beauty in the midst of adversity

Did you know that there are people in the world who live with disabilities, but they never let that define them? These incredible people are actually living proof that our disabilities don't subtract from our worth. Marginalized groups and struggling with mental health issues, they have a strong sense of self-worth and beauty that shines through.

We have compiled stories of strength told by inspiring individuals who refuse to let their disability become the center of who they are. Drawing power from all different backgrounds, these people share how they found beauty despite adversity and what it means to be unapologetically themselves in a society full of judgement.

"We all need to remember at every moment how beautiful we are. There are things that we haven't done yet, that we have in us to do. Those things will be revealed to you."- Omar Pérez, disability advocate

1. Noelle Stevenson

Creator of the comic book Lumberjanes, Noelle Stevenson is a talented artist and illustrator with an eye for characters and scenery. She also has a form of muscular dystrophy called SMA, which has caused her to have limited use of her hands. However, she finds beauty in the fact that she still gets to draw daily and that she can ride horses and play video games. She says "being disabled can suck sometimes but I'm still here".

2. Rowan Blanchard

Actress. Singer. Feminist. Rowan Blanchard is a young leader and activist who says she refuses to be 'embarrassed' by her disability. In an interview with Rookie Mag, the teenage actress said that despite her struggles with anxiety and depression she is lucky for being born into a society that allows people like her to thrive past their disabilities: "You can't let your disability define you but it's also important to talk about the things you're struggling with."

3. Omar Pérez

Omar Pérez is a poet, disability advocate and founder of the Disabled Poets Society, which he created in order to promote art and poetry by disabled people. He says that although he doesn't consider himself disabled but 're-labeled as one', his disability challenges him to be more accepting and loving towards his fellow humans.

"I am not disabled, I just call myself disabled until I figure out what else works for me." – Omar Pérez

4. Abby Martin

Abby Martin is an American independent journalist who refers to herself as the "voice of 9/11 truth". She is also 'an angry young woman' with a sarcastic sense of humor. Her activism has led her to interview the likes of Naomi Wolf, Noam Chomsky and Julian Assange. Abby has also developed a condition called Hereditary Angioedema, causing her to suffer from severe autoimmune attacks.

5. Annie Glenn

Annie is a speaker and activist from Atlanta, GA who was born with cerebral palsy. She is the inspirational voice of #NotWithoutYou campaign, which aims to fight stigma against disabilities and mental illnesses by telling stories about amazing people in the community. Her disability hasn't stopped her from becoming an entrepreneur with a national clothing line for women with disabilities and an author.

6. Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is an award-winning children's author and poet who rose to fame after the success of his novel The Crossover. He is a black teen writer with a mild form of cerebral palsy. His book, audibly narrated by him, has been recognized for its message about disability from young readers all over the nation.

7. Robert Reich

A former United States Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich is an accomplished American professor at the University of California known for his political advocacy and views on social justice. He was born with muscular dystrophy which has caused him to use a wheelchair for mobility. However, Reich says that it is the philosophy of his disability that has enabled him to live a productive life.

"A disability is just an opportunity in disguise." – Robert Reich

8. Mina Long

Mina Long is an activist from Los Angeles who was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, causing her to have paralysis in the legs and hands. Despite her struggles, she has made a name for herself as one of the founders of Dignity Cinema which aims to make film accessible to the disabled community. She is also known for creating video projects such as Bombass Beep Beep and Dear Future Mom, which express the struggles but ultimate beauty of living with disabilities.

"I may not be in control of my body, but I am in control of my mind." – Mina Long

9. Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is a Canadian poet and illustrator from Punjab, India whose work has taken the world by storm. She is a strong voice for feminism, the LGBTQ community and other social issues that plague our generation. Although her ethnicity and background make her beliefs different from what mainstream society deems 'acceptable', she has garnered a strong following online for being unapologetically herself. She suffers from an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa, which has caused her to lose a significant amount of weight over the years she struggled with it.

10. Toni Morrison

This woman has influenced films, literature and culture as a whole. She is one of the most revered and respected authors in American history with a body of work to show for it. She was born in Lorain, Ohio to parents with African descent who loaned their name to Toni Morrison's first book Beloved, which they eventually found out about when they were researching her mother's family history. Her sense of self-worth has allowed her to fight for civil rights and write about the best parts of humanity even after all this time.

11. Ziv Zaifman

Ziv is a composer and singer from New York who was blessed to be born with a congenital neurofibromatosis, which causes him to have skin tumors all over his body, especially on his face. Despite these challenges, he has made it clear that he is "not afraid of being different" and he feels that "most people are trying really hard to fit in anyway they can." His music has made him known for his unique ability to tell stories without words. He is also the first official vocalist for The Pussycat Dolls since Jessica Sutta left the group in 2008.



Although not every disabled person will be as happy and successful as the ones I have listed, there are still many who are actively working to make a difference in the world. What separates those who are brave enough to challenge the norm from those who won't is their ability to accept themselves for who they are and what they can do. If these people can overcome depression, anxiety, stigmas and discrimination on a daily basis then there is no reason why we shouldn't be able to do so with similar ease when we face our own challenges.

We at Bongotimes want you all to know that you are not alone in your hardships.

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