As I look toward the future, full of untold opportunities, it is appropriate to reflect on the impact that 2022 has had on this journey we call life. I am undoubtedly grateful for the past, but I look forward to the future for all it holds. We must acknowledge recent events since the past informs the future.

I consider an attitude of gratitude as opposed to one of regret as I dream of the future rather than wallowing in the memories of the past. It has been an intentional focus of mine since becoming blind to look for silver linings in all things with an attitude of gratitude. How many of us can consider saying, “Thank you, Covid,” and actually mean it?

Wait, “Thank you, Covid?!”


I write this even though our nation has moved past Covid being a pandemic, even though we have had significant loss of life, and even though many are now members of the disability community due to chronic conditions caused by the infection. I and countless others are forever grateful for what these past years brought in the way of awareness and authentic inclusion of people with disabilities in our workforce and our health systems. Many of the “temporarily able” have joined and will continue to join the ranks of the disability community prematurely because of the pandemic. The havoc wrought by long COVID is yet to be determined, and we must adapt to the repercussions to society, government, and the workforce.

However, the last two years have been relatively good for the disability community despite the lingering problems related to the pandemic. With a bona fide remote infrastructure in place, a promising result left in the pandemic’s wake would have to be record employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Because remote work and education quickly became but one solution to containment and hindrance of spreading the deadly virus, remote work-from-home opportunities became practical, doable, and favorable for society. This after decades of pleadings from the disability community for this reasonable accommodation that was always ignored, refused, and denied.

Without saying, “We Told You So,” the disability community was correct in asserting that remote work opportunities were reasonable, doable, and absolutely possible. Before the pandemic, only 3% of the workforce did so remotely. Today, we understand and appreciate that nearly 50% of all positions can be done remotely. This opened doors of opportunity and hope for the disability community like never before. For the first time in decades, the nearly 75% unemployment and underemployment statistics for people with disabilities dropped. Although only marginally, the fact that it is now possible and accepted to work remotely is promising for those forced onto social security and public assistance programs.

That “temporarily able” people consider working from home and pursuing education from home is proof positive that when we have the collective knowledge, will, determination, and necessity, traditional systems can be changed in a manner that allows us to predict the future by simply creating it. Now, society finally affords the disability community the opportunity of living the American dream and pursue employment and an education devoid of barriers and access denials.

In short, remote work and education opportunities proved to be a win/win for American society from Wall Street to Main Street and from the boardroom to the classroom. And, oh yeah, it just happened to be something that the disability community has been clamoring for FOREVER! Now, as organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions embrace this new way of “doing business,” we all must maintain this momentum. We must strictly adhere to properly coded platforms that interface with assistive devices used by those on the Ability spectrum or who are aging. We must bake it into the DNA of our corporate and social cultures.

Remote work-from-home opportunities allow millions with disabilities to stop being taxing dependents and, instead, allow us to become valued, independent taxpayers able to contribute to society, our communities, and the workforce.

With all the unfortunate goings on in our nation’s capital, it is important to show an attitude of gratitude, even though it is sometimes hard to do. The federal government has made great strides toward authentic inclusion of Ability alongside Race, Gender, Orientation, and Religion throughout our great nation. I feel, to a degree, that fear has been taken out of the equation so that now people with disabilities and those who are aging can create and shape their futures like never before.

Having a president with a disability and support from many in Congress has absolutely allowed the past to influence our present and undoubtedly color our future. Even as Congress battles amongst themselves about the basics of running our country, our elections, women’s healthcare, and who can marry who, I remain hopeful that this experiment in democracy will prevail. But like the trials and tribulations facing authentic inclusion for thousands of years, time seems to be on our side.

Thankfully, recent federal legislation, actions by administrative agencies, and executive orders by the president will help the disability community and give us momentum. We got:

  • Historic investments in infrastructure that promise to make public spaces and public transportation more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Investments in more robust and reliable high-speed internet, on which people with disabilities disproportionately rely, which will make life better.
  • A $15 billion investment in special education programs—more than $900 million more than last year.
  • Extension of the Money Follows the Person program, allowing people with disabilities to live in communities instead of institutions.
  • Increased eligibility for ABLE accounts will allow an estimated 6 million more people with disabilities to save money without putting their government benefits in danger.
  • Permission for sold-over-the-counter hearing aids, which makes them more accessible and affordable.

Then there are the top reasons we can be grateful right here in New York. So, as Frank Sinatra sang in his iconic song, “Start spreading the news…”.

Amongst other things, New Yorkers elected our first female governor, Kathy Hochul! Governor Hochul led the way in another first: the appointment of our state’s first Chief Disability Officer charged with ensuring access to employment, education, and housing for people who happen to have a disability.

By establishing the Office of the Chief Disability Officer in NYS, she has single-handedly promised a streamlined approach to how New York supports its residents who happen to be aging or have a disability. The governor selected one Kimberly T. Hill as our state’s first CDO, filling a void left by the dissolution of the Office of the Advocate for the Disabled over ten years ago.

While many may think this is a minimal accomplishment, it is the first time a state has appointed a Chief Disability Officer ever. The only other state that comes close to a position of this magnitude is Minnesota, with its Chief Information and Accessibility Officer (CIAO). To that end, as New Yorkers, we are trailblazers, and this appointment and focus on the disability community will only grow and blossom over the next four years of the governor’s term in office.

Trust me, having had many conversations with Ms. Hill. She is well aware there is much to do. However, as our first CDO and as a member of the disability community, she has committed to ensuring opportunities for New Yorkers who happen to have a disability. In doing so, she will allow other states to follow through and replicate her efforts.

Remember, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, just like Olde Blue Eyes said!

Technology, Not Space, is the Final Frontier

I am continually excited to learn about the promises of brain transplant technology and how it might address the challenges of people with disabilities. Depending on who you talk to, the tech is called BCI, Brain-Computer Interface, or BMI, Brain-Machine Interface. “Po-tay-to” or “Po-tah-to,” it’s very exciting!

While it’s only in its infancy, it is no longer science fiction; this technology can change the game for millions, including me.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink is probably the best-known company, but there is also Synchron, backed by other multi-zillionaires, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. In addition, many other labs are working in this field.

Imagine the freedom for a person with paralysis, being about to function merely by thinking–mentally controlling a pointer, computer mouse cursor, or a wheelchair. Better yet, think about that person using brain waves to control their limbs.

Who knows, maybe I will get to see you again! So, get dressed, take care, and brush your hair because one day, I may just get a good look at what you look like. Science Corp, as well as others, are working on ways for people who happen to be blind to regain our sight. There is A prosthetic eye that bypasses the optic nerve and feeds information directly into the visual cortex of the brain, allowing those of us who are totally blind to regain the sight we lost. Get me my Geordi La Forge visor now!

Given the exponential progress that scientists and researchers regularly make these days, who wouldn’t want to dream about all things possible and believe what Victor Hugo once said, “There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

If you dream of a future full of opportunity and true inclusion, as I do, and would like to collaborate on creating the future instead of just waiting for it, let me know! Contact me at