When I got serious about virtual worlds in 2009 I found a lot of friends who suffered from disabilities. I have several friends who are deaf, and express themselves as artists. I have several friends with MS, who organize whole communities. I have friends who are homebound because they take care of disabled family members. They are able to make good use of virtual tools to network with people when they can’t leave the home.
Putting two and two together I thought it would be good if we all support some charity of your choice. In this case, it seems to make sense to support causes for Persons with Disabilities since it is tied closely to virtual worlds.
Gentle Heron in Second Life leads VirtualAbility.org, which has amazing lectures and events for people with disabilities. Besides lots of factual information, this includes ‘Cape Able’, where the deaf can meet, and show art by deaf artists. Actually, I feel funny even saying the word ‘disability’, because they sure work hard. I think their lives are more about what they can do than what they can’t.
Simon Stevens is a disabilities consultant and works to develop a club called ‘Wheelies’ where folks with mobility issues can network.
I asked Gentle (Alice is her actual name) how I could help. They don’t need money as much as work and awareness. So if you have text you need transcribed for the deaf, or accessibility testing. let me or Gentle know. Having said that, they do have significant expenses for maintaining the servers for their community. I’m sure they would appreciate it if you find their paypal button and feed it some gold.
So People with Disabilities is the minority group we can join. No one plans to be disabled, but like my grandmother, we may get glaucoma and go blind later in life. But I don’t support them out of sympathy as much as out of repaying the inspiration they provide me.