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Five Things: Disability Activist Amanda Stahl On Social Work And Tattoos

Lauren W Photography

My guest this week on Five Things is Amanda Stahl, who I met through one of her co-workers at Mattingly Edge, an organization that works with people with disabilities, with the goal of helping them live independently.

Amanda has a masters degree in social work, and works at Mattingly as a counselor, talking with clients about personal and emotional issues. She has a disability herself and uses a wheelchair, so she has a particular understanding of some of her clients' specific concerns.

I hope you'll listen as Amanda blows up some of the stereotypes that many of us have for people with disabilities. She's a badass.

On her family, who she loves and doesn't share political views with:
"We can't do anything by ourselves. I can't live here in Louisville without their love and support, and we might not always see things eye-to-eye, but they all want me to have love and support me. I couldn't do it without them, and without my chosen family either."

On asking for help with basic needs, which she has to do every day:
"It is hard for me, every time I have to do it. As much as I do it, you would think it'd be easier. It's easier for me to ask a stranger for help than it is for me to ask a really, really close friend. Because they don't have any emotional connection to me, so it won't hurt if they say no. But it's still a learning process for me to ask for help."

On how everything fits together:
"One of the things I learned with the Fairness Campaign, and that I hope to bring to the Independence Seekers Project [a new disability rights group she's leading], is the understanding of intersectionality. We have to support all of us together, because I'm not only a disabled woman -- I'm a queer woman, I'm a white woman. If I was an African-American woman, I would not be sitting in front of you right now. Because of my economic status and because I had that beautiful family, it's the reason I'm sitting here with you."

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