Re-inventing Disability: A Standup Comic

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On stage and off, Henry Holden aims to dispel stereotypes of people with disabilities. He says “humor can relieve people’s awkwardness about seeming disabilities or disadvantages.”

Henry’s career has been an uphill climb on crutches. He has learned to throw off the hindering, self-defeating images so often portrayed in the media. He has walked through closed doors to become a first grade teacher, an insurance salesman, a motivational speaker, and an actor.  Acting is his true vocation, the one he pursues. Being a standup comic has trained him to act truly ‘present’ in his body. Humor makes this happen. 

On stage, or even just out around town, he wears a tuxedo with a ruffled shirt, accessorizing with variously styled crutches. He opened his comedy club act by standing stage center, leaning on his crutches, and saying, “You’re looking at the pope’s most amazing miracle: I went to him with a speech impediment and he cured it.”

Harry’s wit and wisdom carries the day.  He was interviewed for the longer article cited below.  As a serious actor, he awaits the role that will earn him an Oscar for best supporting actor.  When receiving his prize, he plans to walk up onto the stage without anyone’s support.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/jobs/an-actor-and-comedian-aiming-to-dispel-stereotypes.html?_r=0

Redefining Disability: On Track to Succeed

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Loretta Claiborne was born partially blind and could not walk or talk until she was four. Officials recommended that she be put into an institution—a common treatment for America’s “defectives” in the 1950s. Her mother refused.

Today Ms. Claiborne has 26 marathons and a black belt in karate to her name.  She travels the world to speak for people like herself. Her purpose is to exemplify and to usher in a fresh understanding of ‘disability’.  Definitions change over time: the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities calls disability an “evolving concept”.

 

Excerpts from:

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21591615-defining-disability-trickyand-measuring-it-even-harder-who-counts

Photo Source:

http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0LEVx_0sodTrwYAv1tXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0MWoxNW52BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1NNRTM5OV8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=mcafee&va=loretta+claiborne+image+running