I have asked myself questions like this many times since I really got into disability blogging and social media, a little over three years ago.
I hear or read about an interesting, accomplished disabled person others seem to know all about and love, but they're completely new to me. Sometimes that's because they are, compared to me, actually new. They are young in age and have only been doing noticeable things for a few months or a couple of years.
Sometimes, though, it's someone I really should know about, because they have been active and known in the disability community for a long time. Some of these "new" heroes and roles models were doing their thing and becoming known exactly during the time when I was most active in disability activism and organizations.
That was the case yesterday and this morning when I started reading about a Democratic National Convention speaker lots of people were excited about: Anastasia Somoza. In addition to browsing her website, I suggest watching these two videos. Together, they seem to provide a pretty good explanation for why Ms. Somoza will be speaking at the convention, and why there's a good chance speech will make us unambiguously proud.
What do I mean by "unambiguously proud?" What would "ambiguously" proud mean? I think we are ambiguously proud when we're kind of glad to see a disabled person brought to public attention in an appealing way, but we're not sure the messages they are sending are entirely the kind we want sent. It's the difference between being glad for them, and also glad for us.
Since Ms. Somoza is, unfortunately, new to me, I can't say for sure how I will feel after her speech. I am optimistic though, and not just because she's a Democrat. She really seems like the kind of person we as a community really want to be famous, a disabled person who moves beyond their personal story and example to a larger message about disabled people and disability issues.