“Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear…
It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
–X Ambassadors, Renegades
Earlier this month, I was at the X Ambassadors concert here in Minneapolis. I have been a fan since I first heard them. I went with my family, friends and a few people from the Louie’s Vision Board of Directors. The show was above and beyond what I could have expected. We all had a great time.
The X Ambassadors are the real thing. They sing about and share a message of inclusion – inclusion of all types and for everyone. They specifically call out marginalized groups – and people dealing with blindness always top their list. That’s because Casey Harris, the band’s keyboardist, has been blind since birth. And for this tour, they’re working with a non-profit called REVERB that works with artists, fans, and other nonprofits to create positive change for people and the planet. Cool connections.
A few months back, Perkins School for the Blind in Boston reached out to me to write a post for the BlindNewWorld blog. Perkins holds a special place for all of us dealing with blindness, as it is the place where Helen Keller became a pioneer, breaking rules and changing her life – and the lives of so many of us. I’m 17 years old, blind and I recently founded Louie’s Vision – a non-profit focused on helping kids with blindness live a more adventurous life. I jumped right in and wrote something up – and they published it. It was cool, but I couldn’t see where that step might take me next.
Last month, I was selected by the No Barriers foundation to join them in a leadership and adventure program for high school kids with blindness. We’ll be heading to the Grand Canyon in July for a couple of weeks of hiking, rafting and research. I loved this because I have been a fan of the founder, Erik Weihenmayer, for a couple of years. Erik is an awesome adventurer who has been to the top of Mt. Everest and the highest peaks on every other continent on earth – and he is blind. Erik and his No Barriers organization do great things. The No Barriers programs are funded in part through a partnership with the X Ambassadors.
There is a pattern building here… and three weeks ago, all of these things came together.
REVERB (the non-profit connecter working with the X Ambassadors) and BlindNewWorld have partnered to support the X Ambassadors tour – and REVERB was seeking blindness-related organizations to highlight at stops along the way. BlindNewWorld recommended us, saying, “You should connect with Louie’s Vision, a non-profit that helps kids with blindness break past boundaries.”
And it happened – REVERB immediately reached out and asked if we’d be interested in being the featured non-profit for the X Ambassadors show in Minneapolis. The answer? Yes, of course!
In addition to seeing a great show of a band I love, it was awesome for Louie’s Vision. There were 12 of us at the show sharing our story and answering questions. I estimate we spoke to about 500 people about Louie’s Vision, blindness, and possibilities.
“Go forth and have no fear… It’s our time to make a move.”