Sarah: a sweet, charming, magical girl. A girl who is filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations of one day becoming a devoted mother and teacher. A girl who is strong yet sanguine, vulnerable yet fierce. A girl who, just like each and every one of us, is trying to navigate the rocky waters of this world. A girl who has felt more pain in her seven years of life than perhaps an adult has at fifty years old.
She is my light, my rock, my best friend. A while ago, Sarah was involved in a serious, life-changing car accident that altered her course forever. She was left unconscious, scorched with third-degree burns scattered all over her frail, small body. The fire engulfed her, robbing her of her vision.
The next few months were extremely hard. Countless surgeries followed. Childhood life was on pause.
Sarah found solace through reading. Through fundraising and my personal work with Sarah, I adhered to Sarah’s learning style and used my Perkins brailler to produce basic reading material. The visualizations and imaginations that resulted from touching the pages were beautiful and brought Sarah into a comfortable headspace in the midst of the frenzy that had taken over her life.
This past week, Sarah was bullied and hurt by a group of children. She was hit repeatedly by older children with her own wheelchair. She was left with even more scars. The worst, though, was not the physical wounds: rather, it was the psychological detriment that she was left with.
When I heard this news in the middle of class, I lost my breath. I felt a pang in my stomach, and my eyes filled with tears. These young children thought that it was okay to pick on someone who was different, someone who was perceived as weaker. Blindness, in their eyes, was interpreted as a vulnerability, a weakness, a laughing matter. At such a young age, how could children do this? How could they think this?
This is a battle. This is a stigma. This is an issue that needs to be more widely addressed.
Although it is painful to imagine, Sarah’s story is important to know and understand because her story is forever intertwined with our own. Her story demonstrates that the fight is far from over.
We are more than just a nonprofit with an aim of defeating braille illiteracy. We are a team that’s working on defeating the stigma that’s held against the blind community; we are a team that’s working on lifting people like Sarah up and giving them the opportunities that they deserve in order to reach their full potential. Blindness is not a vulnerability or weakness. Everyone deserves an equal chance to succeed; that equity, above all, is what we strive and stand for. We love you, Sarah.
— Amy Liu, Get in Touch! Inc. Founder