The Power of Disability
10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World
by Al Etmanski
“This book reminds us of what we have in common: the power to create a good life for ourselves and for others, no matter what the world has in store for us.” —Michael J. Fox
This book reveals that people with disabilities are the invisible force that has shaped history. They have been instrumental in the growth of freedom and birth of democracy. They have produced heavenly music and exquisite works of art. They have unveiled the scientific secrets of the universe. They are among our most popular comedians, poets, and storytellers. And at 1.2 billion, they are also the largest minority group in the world.
Al Etmanski offers ten lessons we can all learn from people with disabilities, illustrated with short, funny, inspiring, and thought-provoking stories of one hundred individuals from twenty countries. Some are familiar, like Michael J. Fox, Greta Thunberg, Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, and Temple Grandin. Others deserve to be, like Evelyn Glennie, a virtuoso percussionist who is deaf—her mission is to teach the world to listen to improve communication and social cohesion. Or Aaron Philip, who has revolutionized the runway as the first disabled, trans woman of color to become a professional model. The time has come to recognize people with disabilities for who they really are: authoritative sources on creativity, love, sexuality, resistance, dealing with adversity, and living a good life.
Paperback | 216 pages | Berrett-Koehler Publishers | 2020
Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and author. He became a parent activist in the disability movement thanks to his daughter Liz, an artist, actress, and spoken-word poet who thinks her Down syndrome is “rad.” He is a member of the prestigious Ashoka global fellowship of social entrepreneurs and co-founded Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, which helps parents provide a secure future for their sons and daughters with disabilities. He has received the Order of Canada and Order of British Columbia for his activism.