Independence Day—the Freedom to Choose to be Independent

woman smiling and playing guitar

Over the years the VisionAware Peer Advisors have observed this holiday by writing about what independence means not only for our country but for people with vision loss. This year, we’re compiling some of their most insightful thoughts.  

Angela Whitfield, former VisionAware Peer Advisor, wrote July is a Powerful Month of Independence, observing that, “…We started the month with Independence Day- the day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th, which represented the end of the control, authority and jurisdiction of Britain over the colonies, and, this year, we end the month with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) on the 26th, which marks the legal prohibition of discrimination and exclusion of people with disabilities (dubbed the “civil rights act for people with disabilities”). My question for you, have you signed your own personal Declaration of Independence in your life? Have you prohibited yourself from discriminating against yourself and your goals?” 

What Does Independence Really Mean?

A post from 2017, stated, “it’s all about choice and options.”  Deanna Noriega ran with this theme in her post How Independent Do You Want to Be, where she wrote,  “…the choices of what you wish to learn and what you want to do are up to you. Some of these things will depend on what you enjoy doing, what your circumstances are, and whether you wish to take back control of your life.”  She went on to write, “The degree to which you want to take control of your life is a personal decision and there isn’t a right way to live as a visually impaired person.” 

Audrey Demmitt elaborated on this concept in her post, Independence vs Interdependence: “In the process of learning to be independent once again, I learned surprising lessons on interdependence.” She discussed the concept of economy of mutual benefit – “while learning to maintain a level of independence once again, I also learned how to ask for help and find ways to offer help to others in this dance we call life.” This is a critical concept to embrace personally and as a country.  

In 2020 during the throes of the pandemic, Lenore Dillon wrote, “Celebrate Independence Day by regaining yours if you’ve lost vision. You may think that’s not possible, especially now with COVID-19 concerns.” In her post, she went on to share about the different types of training available and encouraged readers to find out about vision rehabilitation services. Her post still resonates today, as we begin to come out of a pandemic-induced isolation into a hybrid world of virtual and in-person training, depending on where you live. As she so aptly stated in her post, “The good news is that there is life after vision loss and specialized training is available to make the seemingly impossible, possible. This new life can be positive and filled with hope.” 

Learn more about how you can get started with regaining independence when you are new to vision loss as well as other posts about Independence. Check our directory of services for help, or call the APH ConnectCenter at 800-232-5463.