Luna and I just returned from a fantastic event, the awarding of the first Disability Issues in Journalism awards at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Check their website for links to the winning pieces of journalism at www.ncdj.org or https://cronkite.asu.edu/node/3001
The Cronkite School and its administrators, faculty and staff I met impressed me with their energy and dedication (even though it’s near the end of the semester when tails can be dragging). The students in the classes I lectured were eager and full of good questions. How to write fair and accurate stories about people with disabilities (not inspirational, pitying or superhero stories) was of great interest to them. The talk Ryan gave about all the research that led to his stories and the changes in California law and institutional policies that his stories caused clearly energized the students to go out and do meaningful journalism.
My hosts took me to a Mexican restaurant so I could get the green corn tamale I’d been hungering for since my last visit to Arizona. I also sampled the local beer, Four Peaks and found it as good as some Wisconsin beers, amazing!
Of course there were the usual hassles of traveling as a blind person with a guide dog. Both Luna and I were hand searched, wand searched, enhanced searched (crotch and butt crack) and hands or harness wiped with a rag to test for explosives. We passed, you’ll be glad to know. But a new wrinkle was added by Sun Country, an airline I hadn’t flown before. They wanted to know what breed and how much my dog weighed and attached a “live animal” form to my ticket with this information on it. I was relieved they didn’t need my weight in their calculations for jet fuel! But on the flight home they also wanted to attach a “live animal” form to Luna. I demurred and gave the form to the husband of the dean who had generously accompanied me to the gate as a souvenir of how the other half lives.
On second thought, maybe I should have kept the “live animal” form to remind myself that yes, both of us are still live animals and thankfully so. We can celebrate that fact and the many fine people who made this day at the Walter Cronkite School possible.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the live animals out there reading this!