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Advocate Profile: Megan McLaws

Selfie of Megan and her family all out on hike, smiling wide and in matching shirts

What is your favorite way to pass the time? Playing my harp and hiking

What is something people generally don’t know about you? I love betta fish, I have three currently. I've also had about 36 surgeries

Who is Megan? I am a person who is passionate about serving vulnerable populations and finding the best and most innovative solutions to societal issues. I am a musician, advocate, life long student, wife, friend, and daughter.

What gets your fired up about the disability movement? Among marginalized groups, disabled people are too often overlooked. I myself am disabled, I have a hearing loss and vision impairment as well as other invisible disabilities and have suffered the societal consequences of a lack of inclusion as a very privileged person living in the United States. For those who are less privileged and disabled, it is significantly harder to navigate life in an abled-centric society.

What is your advocacy platform? I am a part of the Equal Access Commission which focuses on disability rights in higher education. I am also working on a project to support a disability center in Uganda.

What barriers or challenges do you face in this movement? It is difficult for disability rights to be taken seriously, and it is hard to garner committed support for disability rights. My own health issues and disabilities sometimes prevent me from engaging in advocacy as much as I would like to.

What do you want those who do not identify with disability to know? Disabled people can, have, and continue to provide major contributions to society, we're not a burden, we just need a society that empowers us to make those contributions. We need you! Disabled people fight for our own rights as well as for the rights of everyone, our work benefits abled people too. Anyone can become disabled at any point, advocacy for disability rights can become advocacy for your own rights.

What areas are you still growing/hope to grow? Personally? Professionally? I am working on becoming better at listening to other people. I tend to look inward, but when I focus on others I find my life is much more fulfilling and my personal growth skyrockets.

When people look at you/up to you, what do you hope they see? I hope to be an example of someone who can be a loud voice for good, and who is also someone who will listen to people, learn from their experiences, and create positive relationships with those I interact with

What are your next steps? The commission is focusing on helping disabled university students be able to organize and become advocates for themselves, I am also developing projects to aid a disability center in Uganda, I'm very excited about the potential these projects have. Personally, I just completed my bachelors degree, I am looking into potential graduate school programs, and career options. I am also taking some time to have some surgeries done related to my cleft lip and palate that will improve my breathing and daily functioning.

How do we follow you?!

Personal: Instagram @megmclawsome

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