Selfie of Daniel Anderson smiling and surrounded by smiling students after a presentation at their school.
What is your favorite way to pass time? I'd like to say that it was something profound like reading classic books or painting, but if I'm being honest it is Netflix, fantasy fiction audio books, and playing board/card games
What is something people generally don’t know about you? I tell people that I want to be a Senator or President and then tell them I'm joking, but I'm mostly not joking. Lol
Who is Daniel? While I may not be the loudest, most experienced, or most knowledgeable person, I have a passion for people. I like to spend my time helping everyone understand each other a bit more so that this world that we live in can be a bit brighter. I am also one of the biggest nerds you will ever meet. Star Wars, Superman, and magical worlds are topics I can discuss for hours. I am also a political science nerd, a business nerd, and a travel nerd. I am a junior in college studying Journalism because I believe that open, honest, vulnerable conversation about the world around us will help us to start building a better world.
What gets your fired up about the disability movement? This has been a topic very close to my heart because I have experienced how difficult life with a disability can be. I want to make life easier for those who follow behind me. I want to see a world where having a disability is not something that excludes people from society, but instead makes society stronger, with a more diverse perspective.
What is your advocacy platform? So many!!! I have participated in several platforms, but most of my advocacy is just through my blog and public speaking network.
What barriers or challenges do you face in this movement? The biggest barrier I have encountered in this movement is the fact that those in power don't take our needs seriously. They blame the disability community for having too many diverse backgrounds with diverse needs. They say that we need to get on the same page on what we need. The biggest barrier I see is that the world has yet to see how united we all are in the mission of inclusion, acceptance, and fair assistance to have equal access to the world. In terms of barriers in life, the biggest barrier I see is a social barrier. One that promotes avoidance of people with disabilities and invites misunderstanding them as incapable or saintly. I have devoted most of my life to showing people that people with disabilities are people, not automatic role models and not people to pity. Everybody has challenges, ours are just different from yours.
What do you want those who do not identify with disability to know? We are all people here. We feel the same feelings. We dream the same dreams. We have just as much potential as the next person. If you make that the foundation of your philosophy on people with disabilities, you will avoid making many common mistakes. Also, most of us are totally open to honest, appropriate questions. Instead of coming to conclusions about us, get to know us and just ask.
What areas are you still growing/hope to grow? Personally? Professionally? I am still working to grow my blog and start speaking in more professional areas. Personally, however, I have realized that I have unwittingly become a bit cynical towards the world. When you are a person with a disability in the world today, there are many moments that erode hope and optimism. Sometimes it is easier to become cynical than to maintain resolve and optimism for a better world. So, I am working on creating a mentality of honest, yet optimistic, expectations about the world.
Who was the person/role model who inspired you to look into disability advocacy? Why/how did they inspire you? Honestly, I stumbled into advocacy by accident. I started advocating for myself in high school without any professional mentor. Then, I attended a few training programs that gave me incredible tools. However, if I was being on honest, I would say that my parents were my inspiration. They were always the fiercest advocates for me and they showed me that there are things in the world that you shouldn't just accept without a fight.
When people look at you/up to you, what do you hope they see? Someone who brings people together. Someone who makes others happy. Someone who has stood in the face of failure and resistance with persistence and turned it into success.
What are your next steps? My blog!!! Also, I am really trying to get more professional speaking experience, so I would like to promote my public speaking for any who are interested in hearing more of my story.
How do we follow you?! My blog link is fromwhereimsitting.blog
My professional Facebook page is Daniel-Andersen
My twitter handle is DantasticKc
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