Last week, Storycorps Facilitators, Mike Rauch and Naomi Greene, attended The Center for Self-Determination International Conference in Detroit, Michigan. Over 900 people attended the conference from various cities and backgrounds, but they shared a common belief, despite their mental and/or physical disabilities, they can be in control of their own lives and live they way they choose.
For some, being self-determined must be learned, but for Maria Marquez-McCrory, standing up for herself comes naturally. Vickie Vining (R), a consultant in the mental health field, interviewed Maria (L) about how she became the fighter that she is.
As early as kindergarten, Maria wanted to be treated like all the other schoolchildren, but because of her physical disability, she was separated from the rest of the school. Once when a fellow schoolmate tried to tease her, Maria flipped him the bird. When she was sent to the principal’s office, she argued that if the other children made fun of her, she had the right to defend herself. Today, Maria’s tactics have changed, but her message has not. As a self-advocate for people with disabilities, she continues to spread the message of equality and self-determination to as many as she can.