“Some people may assume that you’re not there mentally, you know, you don’t have all your mental faculties. Like this weekend I was at a wedding, and this lady kinda baby-talked me, like, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you could make it.’ But I don’t fault them, because they don’t think of it. You really don’t think of it until you’re on the other side. Like, I would’ve done the same shit, you know? It’s just society’s perception of disabled people. But I take advantage of it, so I’m a piece of shit, too. I get into football games for free, got into Rock the Garden. I just go up to the ticker counter, like ‘Oh, my friends, they’re in 203, they said they’d meet (me).’ They’re like, ‘Allright, just bring your ticket down.’ Or I’ll just fly by going 6 miles an hour, and they’re just like, ‘Whatever, he’s in a chair.’ So there’s good and bad.”
Brian (audio: http://bit.ly/1jXRGPv)
“Any words of advice for people who are maybe a little depressed because of the weather today?”
“Don’t be. Don’t be depressed. What are you gonna do about it? Go out and enjoy it and freeze to death.”
Marion (audio here: http://ow.ly/E4Tp8)
Sidhra and Suheila
“I’m a gymnast…That’s the most funnest thing I ever did in my life, is learn how to back flip. My dad used to take me over to his sister’s house, and we used to do back flips with my cousin John-John…And we used to get mattresses from, like, alleys and line them up in a field and flip on them, so we’d have more balance, and more spring, and support so we could do all types of flips. Fast, slow. And we’d have so much fun…”
Deverick (audio here: http://ow.ly/DZ3G6)
Ace grew up in Kansas, and attended a high school for the blind. He says he was the school’s poster child, because he got good grades and was involved with sports. He says he and his dog can make $250 per day panhandling in Las Vegas.
“What’s your biggest strength as a person?”
“I think it’s positivity. I like to smile. I like to try to be positive and keep a really good outlook on things, and inspire others to be the same way.”
“Where do you think your positivity comes from?”
“Going through a lot of stuff. Not to sound ableist, because there are lots of people who cannot be positive no matter how hard they wanna be. But when you go through a lot of things, it really helps you have a perspective on what matters and what doesn’t.”
“Can you think of a time in your life when your positivity helped get you through?”
“Coming out to my parents, coming out to my family. Remaining positive with how some of them took that was really, really important for me…Lots of countries aren’t like the United States. Here, gay people can get married, and we have a Pride celebration every June. In other countries, that’s a crime that’s punishable oftentimes by death, or some other kind of imprisonment. So keeping that in the back of my mind knowing that that’s the culture, and that’s the country that my family comes from, in West Africa.”
Cynthia (audio: http://bit.ly/1Q46hHM)
At the Twin Cities Pride parade
David and Julio, married since February: "We met on a website…He’s also my caregiver…I’ve recently been diagnosed with ALS…."
(Seen at Twin Cities Pride, audio here)
Missy, at Lyn Lake Street Festival
Coci, Farhan, and Abdi, on Hennepin Avenue
“I like to travel, that’s one of my biggest hobbies…so I try to meet people everywhere I go.”
“Do you travel by yourself?”
“Most of the time, which I don’t like it because it’s hard when I go to other countries. I really would love to find a travel companion, but it’s kind of hard. People think that I could be a burden or something, which is not true. I can take care of most of the stuff on my own, but…of course there’s some tougher stuff that will be a little more work, like hiking on a really difficult trail, but other than that, I’m ok. I just have to be following the person…And it really depends on where I’m going…Hong Kong is really good for traveling on my own as a visually impaired person. I basically travel on my own the whole time. But for instance in China there is no where I can go on my own.”
“How is Hong Kong easier compared to China, what specifically?”
“They have sidewalks, traffic lights are very good, it’s laid out kind of like here. In China there’s no such thing as crosswalks. The lighting system is different, traffic lighting is different. And a lot of them there’s no streets, just dirt roads. So it just depends on what country, some countries are easier than others…I’ve been to Japan once, but I haven’t been to Tokyo. That’s where I wanna go, is Tokyo…”
Jessie (audio here: http://ow.ly/GJLIO)
"I don't smile."
Ikram, on Nicollet Mall
"Are you a couple?"
Rick, in front of the Downtown Central Library
"What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?"
“If you be around 9 broke people, you’ll be the 10th broke person…”
Anthony and Chula, at Lyn Lake Street Festival
Eneliz and Valeria at Twin Cities Pride
Sylvia, on Nicollet Mall
"Keep on doing what you’re doing."
The lady on the right loved having her photo taken. Lady on the left, not so much.
Yazon (audio here)
She and her mother spoke very little English, so all I can tell you is her name is Shaydin.
Jonica, Brian, and Pearl the Pug
A juggalo couple before the Twiztid concert at First Avenue nightclub
Lamont, on Hennepin Avenue
“She just turned one, December 4th.”
“What’s your favorite thing about Nico?”
“That I don’t have any kids and she’s my daughter…She’s cool, it’s a responsibility, you know. You want Dad to hold you for a while? It’s a nice responsibility, you know what I’m sayin’, raising a dog. They don’t talk back, no school clothes, or none of that stuff. Gimme a kiss, ok. Say ‘hi, lady,’ she’s a nice lady…”
Michael and Nico (audio here: http://ow.ly/GPHL9)
Alyssa, waiting for the bus
Jason, contemplating whether to take the bus or walk home, on Nicollet Mall
Yu and Yabin with their dogs in the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden