These words by Harriet McBryde Johnson, a tremendous storyteller and disability rights activist, guide Emily Wolinsky's imagination as she writes about the complexities of the disability experience and for her peers, who fight every day of their lives to live in an accessible world with equal opportunities and rights. Her stories intend to show the harsh realities behind thinking that objectifies, stigmatizes, and reduces a person with a disability into only a medical problem that needs to be "fixed" or "cured". Wolinsky believes in the social model of disability theory and rejects the medical model.
Emily is 38 years old and lives in Austin, Texas with her two dogs, boyfriend, and her roommate. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a progressive neuromuscular disability, at 18 months of age, she has limited use of her muscles and requires personal attendant care services for activities of daily living. Emily works full-time as a Student Accessibility Services Specialist at Austin Community College. She also serves as president of NMD United, a non-profit, peer-led and run, association of adults with neuromuscular disabilities. Finally, Emily was recently recognized internationally for her work with the Dear Julianna letter writing campaign, a project that focused on showing that people with neuromuscular disabilities can have a high quality of life with access to medical treatments and assistive technologies.
A lover of literature, writing, and storytelling, Emily intends to publish an essay, short story, or chapter in a series on a weekly basis. She hopes her stories inspire other people with disabilities to tell their stories until perceptions and portrayals of the disabled change for the better.