To me, accessibility feels like an afterthought in Pittsburgh development

Having spinal muscular atrophy means that I’ve never been able to walk. I’ve used a wheelchair since I was about 3 years old. I rely on help from others for many parts of my day — bathing, getting dressed, making my meals and just generally getting around.
I still try to be independent however I can. Growing up, I went to public school and took classes with my peers. I lived in the dorms with the rest of the students in college. I work as a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh and am pursuing my master’s degree in public health.

A pedestrian crosses the street in Beechview. (Photo by Kat Procyk/PublicSource)

Some communities view streets as pedestrian spaces. Could Pittsburghers benefit from more room to play?

Given that our streets are one of our largest public assets, can we do more to use them? The city has already embraced some aspects of the open streets concept. There are models for increasing temporary recreational spaces on streets and open lots in cities like New York and Minneapolis. What would it take for residents to take greater advantage of streets on a regular basis, especially in areas with fewer play options, where streets could be connectors instead of barriers?

Ableism at the dinner table: How I learned to ignore glares and let my arms ‘dance’

My arms were constantly in motion, as if I were conducting a never-ending orchestra. Sometimes the movements were fluid, smooth even, but other times my right arm looked as though it were climbing an invisible jungle gym, my muscles contracting and tensing in uncomfortable positions. It was the tangible evidence of years of internalized ableism and shame.

Terri Clark now works in politics and has served on the 12th District 20th Ward Democratic Committee since May. (Photo by Kat Procyk/PublicSource)

I spent 17 days in solitary for having two onions in my cell. The isolation changed me.

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. I served roughly 16 years in the Muncy State Correctional Institution for possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine. All those years in prison pale in comparison to the 17 days I spent in solitary in 1992. Only two months into my time, I was sent to the segregated housing unit [the SHU]. My infraction: I had two onions in my room.