Hannah Zack ’18 recently had her work published in the well-known online news aggregator, The Huffington Post. Her article, “Why We Need to Reshape What It Means To Be A Person With a Disability,” describes her own struggle living with partial paralysis and how her disability has affected others’ views of her. However, this is far from the first time she has been a voice for those who face disabilities in their everyday lives.
Zack first noticed an advertisement calling for young Huffington Post writers in her junior year of high school after getting an assignment from her English teacher to write something “to the world.” However, after applying and getting into the program, she did not submit anything to the news organization for a while.
“I didn’t write anything for them for a year because I didn’t feel like I had anything to write about,” said Zack. Her first piece was a blog post about skydiving and learning to ride a bicycle as a person with a disability, which was written during her senior year of high school.
Zack’s most recent piece was published in The Huffington Post’s college page on Sept. 4 of this year. “It’s exciting. But it leaves you vulnerable as well,” she said in regard to the publication of her blog post. “It was about situations of discrimination that I face and that’s not something that’s necessarily easy to talk about.”
In particular, Zack’s article was inspired by an incident she experienced a few years ago involving a police officer who accused her of committing parking fraud after she used a handicapped placard.
She said that while writing about a topic that affects her so closely is difficult, it is also completely necessary. “The reason why I feel the need to write these articles is because there are so few people who do,” said Zack.
Zack has been featured on Wheaton’s Facebook page and Twitter account since her post was published, but she says the best responses to her post by far have been from strangers who relate to her piece. A man reached out to Zack, telling her about his partner who suffers from a similar disability. Hearing how her story resonates with others inspires Zack to continue writing.
While Zack does not plan to make her writing into a career, she still hopes that through outlets like The Huffington Post, she can continue to provide a voice for others with disabilities. “I’m not ever going to change the world for people with disabilities, but just knowing that I can be a voice for others is super powerful,” said Zack.