Access Interview – Jessica

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December, 2018
AUTHOR: Sean Gonzalez Category: Interviews
Sean Gonzalez, one of our board members, virtually met Jessica through a music group on Facebook, sharing a common interest in bands and genres. After reading a few posts from Jessica, we reached out to discuss her disability, Cerebral Palsy, to spread some awareness.
In photo above: Jessica

Where are you based out of?

Originally from Bolivar, Tennessee.

How has your disability been viewed by others?

I suppose it depends on the person. I’ve been viewed as helpless, as incredibly strong. I have been made fun of, and celebrated. I tend not to pay much mind to it.

Do you feel included at venues for shows?

Most of the time, especially if the venue is smaller.

In terms of venue accessibility, what was the best treatment you have received?

There was a standing room only venue I saw a band at. As soon as I got tired, I went to the merch tables, explained, and they found me a seat.

What was the worst treatment in regards to your disability?

I was young, and I moved out of my seat just to be able to walk around to stop my legs aching. [The venue] immediately made me go back to my seat, without letting me give an explanation.

How would you have wanted that situation to be handled so in the future venues know how to be better?

I wish venues understood that music is universal, but wellness is not. Be more inclusive in seating, in some folks needing to get up and move around. Just in general making a more comfortable experience.

Any advice to abled people on how to be more aware of accessibility?

I just want people to know that even though I don’t “look disabled” I am. My entire thing is trying to tell people to be more cognizant of their own strengths, but to not assume everyone has the same abilities that they do. To just be aware that everyone has something they struggle with. If I need to sit down, don’t assume it’s because I’m bored or lazy. To just realize that nothing is easy for everyone. As cliche as it sounds, it’s the honest truth.

What is your favorite style of music?

I listen to everything from rap to some alt country. It depends on the mood and the day.
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