A disability is something to be celebrated as a natural part of life, not associated with a negative stigma. That's the message of Winona State University's Disability Culture Celebration Thursday. Kelly Herold, a professor at WSU teaches disability culture. He collaborated with students, Winona Area Public Schools, and disability groups to organize the event celebrating people with disabilities, through art and speakers.
Two speakers living with a disability spoke about overcoming challenges to prove they're just like anyone else.
"We've come a long way," said Herold. "In the 1970s people with disabilities up in parts of Minnesota were locked in institutions.""We just have to understand that disabilities is part of life. And we want to make people cool with it and comfortable with disability and our goal is to let people know that disability is natural."
Nearly one in five people have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
"You know, whether you can see they have a disability or not, doesn't make them any different than anyone else," said Grace Griffin, a student a WSU.
Tasha Schuh was a keynote speaker at the event. She tells KTTC that she got in an accident when she was 16-years-old and has not been able to walk since.
At that point, she thought her life was over.
"And yet, today, my life is amazing. And, I absolutely love my life, and I love sharing about that, I love sharing what I've learned on my journey," said Schuh.
Before becoming a C5 quadriplegic, she had many misconceptions about her condition. Now, she's sharing how she overcame the negative stereotypes.
"People with disabilities are depressed, people with disabilities can't accomplish, and I've done sitting in this wheelchair than I've ever done walking," she said.