By Melody E. Holloway
I have met many awesome, beautiful, intelligent, valuable, important, integral key players in my personal game of life who have ridden this educational, affirming, yet often trying, unforgiving, unpredictable rollercoaster alongside me. They have in turn bestowed the honor upon me to ride the rollercoaster alongside them; holding tightly to the hands of one another through each unexpected loop, twist, turn, and detour.
My first dearest lifelong friend is a congenial, polite, kind, selfless, generous, fair man who’s heart beats with an endless capacity to love. His familiar calming presence and extensive experience with and knowledge of assistive technology of which I have been a lifelong student are now familiar to the American Council of the Blind (ACB). If not for him, the first virtual convention in 2020, and the rogue virus which altered life as we know it, I would not have finally made the vital decision to join this community of equally strong, amazing, giving, compassionate, patient individuals bound by the common bond of riding the rollercoaster of life while living with vision loss. Society’s response to the pandemic left people with permanent disabilities in predicaments not previously considered. I personally believe these predicaments teach each one of us valuable lessons about camaraderie, teamwork, patience, understanding multiple points of view, and sharing common experiences relating to how we made it through each predicament with additional insight, wisdom, and advice. Covid-19 brought isolation, loneliness, and solitude which felt endless, impenetrable, and singular until a tiny seed of an idea was planted to hold global community events over Zoom from wherever we happen to live. This seed blossomed in to a flourishing, thriving community in which each individual is welcomed with open arms and hearts.
I open my inbox every day and look forward to the daily schedule providing information for each opportunity to ease the burden of isolation and strengthen the rope of togetherness. In discovering my place in multiple marginalized communities, I have also discovered acceptance within ACB. How could I have predicted that a community of people living with my original disability of which most are aware would supply me with the comfort and realization that my additional conditions, adoration for women in every form, and traumatic life situations are not only out of my control, but can be used to contribute, give back, and benefit the common good. I now have an entire expanding community of dear, steadfast, lifelong coaches, comrades, and friends to ride the rollercoaster alongside. We will always be in motion as long as we can keep on keeping on. At least we will not have to ride alone anymore. There is no I in TEAM! Thank you ACB for opening yet another door to our collective forward movement of my plight. Thank you for allowing me to join you in opening this door!
Celebrate the ACB Community
On December 31, starting at 3pm ET, bring in 2022 with your ACB Family at the second annual Community-Athon on ACB Media 5 and Zoom! Join us as we celebrate all we’ve accomplished in 2021 and look ahead to a new year of endless possibilities. This twelve hour celebration will include a focus on different events each hour, entertainment, opportunity to give back to ACB, prizes, and lots of fun! For every $25 donated at https://tinyurl.com/2021-community-athon, your name will be placed in a prize drawing which will take place toward the end of each hour throughout this Community-Athon, and you don’t have to be in attendance to win! To receive the Zoom information for this event and other community events, please subscribe to our ACB Community Events email list by sending an email to: ACB-Community-Eventsfirstname.lastname@example.org.