WXXI AM News

Disability rights

Local disability rights activist Stephanie Woodward recently wrote an opinion piece for the Spina Bifida Association about why she loves her disability. Woodward was born with spina bifida and has been an outspoken advocate for disability rights and disability pride.

In her piece, she writes, "Because I love my disability identity, I have never seen my disability as a problem. And because I have never seen my disability as a problem, I have never supported curing spina bifida or even preventing it. In fact, when I hear someone say 'I think the world would be a better place if we could prevent babies from having your disability in the future,' what I hear is 'I think the world would be a better place without people like you.'"

Many people praised Woodward's comments, while others pushed back. Woodward joins us for the hour to discuss her perspective and disability pride. In studio:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

A local sixth grader is going viral in our community. At the age of 14 months, Oscar Merulla-Bonn was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. He's been driving a power wheelchair for years. Oscar recently gave a presentation to his school faculty about disability rights. He joins us this hour to share his research and experience, and to discuss how to create more inclusive spaces.

In studio:

  • Oscar Merulla-Bonn, sixth grader at Twelve Corners Middle School
  • Sally Bittner Bonn, Oscar's mother
  • David Merulla, Oscar's father
  • Catherine Liebel, school counselor at Twelve Corners Middle School

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

Spectrum News

Abigail Hernandez’s legal team filed an appeal Tuesday. That’s after losing a bond hearing earlier this month. Her immigration attorney compares the case to something out of a Lewis Carroll novel.

Hernandez is a 22-year-old woman with an intellectual disability. She made an online threat against East High School in Rochester back in 2018. Though protected under DACA at the time, she is now an immigrant without legal status.

Spectrum News

Abigail Hernandez was denied bond again last week by an immigration judge. Hernandez is a former Rochester City School District student and a young woman with an intellectual disability who has been detained in Batavia and faces possible deportation. 

Hernandez’s attorney, Michael Marszalkowski says there hasn’t been much precedent for someone in the young woman's position.

Noelle Evans

  

The American Council of the Blind, an advocacy group for the rights of visually impaired and blind people, elected new leadership at the organization’s 58th Annual Conference and Convention in Rochester.

Around 1,200 people attended, along with roughly 300 guide dogs at the Riverside Convention Center for the week-long event, which wrapped up Friday.