Photo: Great Lakes Ledge
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein has shown that justice can be blind.
Today he proved that even a blind man can drive a race car.
Bernstein, who has been blind since birth, said in an interview with Fox News Digital this week that Sheriff Chris Swanson, who was in the passenger seat, helped him with directions on August 23 – the day Bernstein drove a dirt track at Michigan’s Genesee County Fair. That was his first time driving a vehicle.
“People with a disability know what we can accomplish, but the real thing is for those who are not disabled to give us an opportunity,” the 47-year-old justice stated.
His memorable stories offer a glimpse into what people like him do every day.
“People who are blind power everything we do,” the vice president of marketing and public relations at the Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Shawn Dobbs, said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
According to Dobbs, it includes individuals who are “working in manufacturing,” creating products “for the federal government and the aerospace industry, working at one of our base supply centers or in contract management services, providing Braille literacy and technology training to program clients along with working in management and leadership positions throughout our organization.”
He added: “The Lighthouse was founded in 1918 and is the largest employer of people who are blind west of the Mississippi and the largest employer of people who are deaf/blind in the country.”
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, approximately 6 million Americans lost their sight and 1 million became blind in 2017.
But most people who are blind or visually impaired aren’t working or looking for work, as are a quarter of people without disabilities, according to the American Community Survey.
“People who are blind have the ability to do anything their sighted peers can do; they just do it differently,” stated Jeff Mittman, president and CEO of Bosma Enterprises, headquartered in Indiana.
Mittman is a veteran who was disabled due to service. He lost his vision in 2005 from an IED attack in Iraq.
His company offers jobs and training for individuals who are blind – as well as critical training that teaches skills to live independently.
Additionally, Mittman is the president of the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind, where he takes on the job on a national level to battle the 70% unemployment rate for this group.
“I want to make sure that every person has the tools and skills to do whatever they choose,” he said.
The veteran has hiked for more than 20 miles on the Appalachian Trail alongside one of his military comrades, who served as his sighted guide.
“It is my obligation to strengthen and maximize every opportunity for people with vision loss,” he continued. “Our community is made better when everyone is able to contribute and take part in society.”
Opinions expressed by Artist Weekly contributors are their own.