September 15, 2020
Author: Mary Frances Layden
My older sister and I started love♡bili♡nyc back in 2016. As two young women with physical disabilities, we wanted to find a way to show others the strength and pride of the disability community. We started by creating designs that represent the breadth and diversity of disabilities, while also highlighting their beauty. Oftentimes images of disability are viewed through a medical lens and we wanted to change that. Like with our Brain and Rib Cage designs, we are expressing that all bodies and brains, all disabilities, visible and invisible, are beautiful and loved.
We have a history with ALTSO, given my previous working for the organization, as well being continued supporters and honorary members of the ALTSO family. We deeply believe in its mission to help children with disabilities gain access to self-esteem, education, and work through free orthopedic care. Providing orthopedic devices allows CoolKids to live independently, something that is often not associated with disability. With prosthetics like the Joshi, children are able to attend school, socialize with their friends, take part in their community, and ultimately take pride in their disabilities. As disabled women, we know how critical inclusion, independence, and pride is, which is why we are passionate about ALTSO’s work.
We decided to donate the proceeds of our Wheelchair and Sticks shirts to ALTSO’s Covid-19 Reopening Fund, given the importance of access to Personal Protective Equipment and health care, especially for disabled individuals, who have been disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic. Even during these uncertain and scary times, we remain dedicated to amplifying disabled voices and ensuring we receive quality care and access.