Our Blog

Women and Disability: An Empowered Lady’s Perspective

Women and Disability: An Empowered Lady’s Perspective By: Lacey Lyons, Intro by April Meredith   March is Women’s History Month. In honor of this celebration and International Women’s Day (March 8), we reached out to one of the participants of our Empowered Ladies* peer support group to share her thoughts on womanhood and disabilities. We thank Lacey Lyons, a freelance writer, and editor who teaches at Belmont University, for providing her research and insight into these intersecting identities. As Lacey points out, societal, structural, and attitudinal barriers are still quite prevalent today. She reminds us of how important the work of Centers for...

Living Their Best Life: An Account of Disability in the Black Community

Living Their Best Life: An Account of Disability in the Black Community By: Ebony Cole Edits By: April Meredith   Black (African-American) History Month is observed annually every February in the United States. This is a humbling yet exciting time to remember the adversities overcome and accomplishments made by people of the African diaspora. We would especially like to recognize the challenges and celebrate the victories of some notable figures with disabilities in the Black community. Their lives tell of flourishment and bloom - uplifting stories that prove no matter the hand you were dealt you can do wonders.   In 1860 a young man...

Reflections, Aspirations and Appreciations

Reflections, Aspirations, and Appreciations Brandon Brown, Executive Director I sit here in my office, looking at the white board across from my desk and pondering all that I’ve written under the headings of “plans,” “dreams,” and “needs.” I can’t help but think to myself, “How did we get here?” And I’m quickly reminded that of my last three years of service as the leader of Empower Tennessee, 2018 was our finest year; and our actions have placed us in the position we find ourselves in today … the position of empowered, engaged, and impactful community leadership. 2018 began with our newly hired Programs...

Intersectionality: More Than Our Disabilities

Intersectionality: More Than Our Disabilities -April Meredith   What is intersectionality? Merriam-Webster.com defines it as: “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect”. Although this term has been around since the 1980s, it is still unfamiliar or unclear to many people. That does not make this emerging truth any less important. Society oftentimes views marginalized populations through narrow lenses, placing people with common traits into proverbial boxes of seemingly similar folk, neglecting to acknowledge the other aspects of each person’s distinct identity. Members of the disability community are not immune to being thought of...

Building a Community of Empowered Voters

Building a Community of Empowered Voters with Disabilities By: April Meredith   Tennessee having one of the lowest rates in the country for registered eligible voters and in election turnout is unfortunate and unacceptable. Motivation may be an issue in certain cases; but for some individuals with disabilities, lack of knowledge and accessibility are oftentimes the reasons. That is why Empower Tennessee is taking proactive measures aimed at minimizing barriers potential Mid TN voters may be experiencing. For example, Tennessee requires a federal or state-issued photo ID in order to vote. However, we learned many of the Community Based...

An unexpected discovery: A participant’s perspective on the 2018 Youth Leadership Academy

2018 Youth Leadership Academy from a Participant’s Perspective By: Josh Riley Introduction Empower Tennessee hosted the 2018 Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) on June 27 and 28 in collaboration with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. This year’s YLA theme was, “I AM Who I AM (and that’s pretty cool)”. Peer Facilitators lead workshops and activities, which provided a unique and exciting opportunity for youth with disabilities to further develop the skills needed to make the most out of the wide range of services and resources available to support their transition to adulthood. The goal for the two-day event was to teach self-advocacy to...