Every Hero Defines Who They Are

Community EngagementBlog

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

On Sunday, April 14, IRC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) was one of the many vendors that gladly attended the Autism Society Hero Walk at San Bernardino Valley College. Autism Society reports, on their Facebook page, that approximately 1600 guests were served that day spreading autism awareness. And I can be nothing but happy for them.

It always surprises me how unifying superheroes are! Many different characters are included under the term “superhero”, and they resist letting one label define them. As we waited for the track to open, the event hostess welcomed the guests and introduced the Grand Marshall for the event, an impressive voice actor named Isaac C. Singleton Jr. In the announcements, the hostess included a statement “My disability does not define me; I define my disability.” When I heard this, it lit a fire of inspiration in me to express my perspective. I can agree with the first half of that statement. I do not define my disability however, medical professionals do. I define myself! As does everyone, with or without a disability. This is a message that needs to be promoted. It better empowers the disabled community and more importantly, lessens the division between disabled and non-disabled, as there should be none!

Wearing clothes with recognizable logos helps people be more memorable. I’m a member of the Consumer Advisory Committee. We are a small dedicated team whose duty it is to represent and empower people with developmental disabilities: much like the X-Men. We wore our Team IRC shirts that day! I remember two groups of people who visited our booth; one group was wearing all Flash T-shirts, and one family of four dressed as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What I find great about superheroes as a theme is the option to show team spirit or express individual identity. Superhero is a popular theme because the logos and characters stand for virtues you can get behind. It expresses who someone is, rather than what they have.

Who our consumers are is what IRC wants to know more and more about. I have Cerebral Palsy, so I can understand the social and physical challenges others may face on a day-to-day basis. But that’s not who I am. I am someone who relates to people who can express creative and unique ideas. I want to write and tell their story.

As I took my laps around San Bernardino Valley College’s track, I was singing along to classic rock music and enjoying the beautiful, breezy weather. I got to walk around and enjoy the superhero-themed services of other booths and take pictures with Star Wars characters. Shout out to whoever was wearing black robes on that hot, hot day! You were a big part of making the day what it was, and I appreciate your service. And, I got to meet the event’s, Grand Marshall. Getting to meet a professional in the entertainment industry and hear that incredibly, impressively deep voice was a dream come true! Congratulations to the Autism Society for their substantial accomplishment; it was great fun!

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Community Engagement

Inland Regional Center's Community Engagement Unit can be reached at [email protected]

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