Please join Onion River Press and Phoenix Books for an evening with Sefakor G.M.A. Komabu-Pomeyie, Ph.D to celebrate the release of her book, I'm Able.
From the author: This book is about my life - from under my mother's desk as a child in Ghana to the hills of Vermont as a PhD holder now. As a bubbly child in my eighth year, who had all her future ahead and the love of her mom and dad, I never dreamt of waking up one day and losing my legs to polio, but that was what happened. From that point, my beautiful life began falling apart; Dad ran out and left us, never to return. My society treated me as an outcast. Outsiders looked at my condition and called me a cursed child.
It took the resilience of my mom, and her "never give up" attitude, to see me through life. She was the only one who had a vision of who I could be and identified the springboard on which I could stand and reach the skies. It was my mom who told me, "It's only through education that you can become someone of worth," and from that day, we did all we could to ensure I got that education. Getting an education as a person with disability was not as smooth as I thought it could be. It was not so long until I realized that the school facilities and resources were built without me in mind. I had to compete with people who had advantages I did not have, and this eventually led me onto the fields of policy analysis and advocacy from which I have never looked back.
As a victim and a survivor of a system that was built to bring me and any child with disability down, I have had first-hand experience and now stand in a better place to paint a picture of the troubles people with disabilities go through to rise to the top. So, I am using this book, which is the story of my life, as a form of narrative discourse to begin the discussion of disability in our universities, colleges and even in our secondary schools. This book is a one stop shop for educators, therapists, counselors, parents, and students.
It is my aim to bring to the fore all the challenges students with disabilities move through, and how practically we can align policy with practices in our education system. I am not writing a book that seeks to throw a pity party for people with disabilities, but rather seeks to address the fact that disability is a limitation we place on ourselves and others. With the right kind of environment and support from the powers that be, people with all kinds of disabilities soar to greater heights and achieve whatever dreams they set their hearts on.
About the author: Sefakor's personal experience as a woman of color with a physical disability has shaped her journey as an international advocate for underrepresented especially, people with disabilities from around the globe. Her experiences include serving as an international disability rights advocate, educator, researcher, and policy analyst for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), and as the Resource Center Coordinator of the Ghana Education Service. She has been a staunch supporter of inclusive education for people with disabilities and lobbied successfully with other advocates in Ghana for the establishment of the Disability Law (Act 715) of Ghana as well as the ratification of the UNCRPD. She has won so many international awards including the International Service Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), Ford Foundation International Fellowship award and the International Alliance of Women (TIAW) award. Sefakor is the Founder of Enlightening and Empowering People with Disabilities in Africa (EEPD AFRICA). She presented on so many platforms including the American Educational Research Association AERA (SIG RWE), New England Educational Organization (NEERO), African Studies Association (ASA) and European Conference on African Studies -Switzerland (ECAS). Her work represented an attempt to transform her experiences into a coherent intellectual critique, and, in the process, to make sense of the shortcomings and idiosyncrasies that underlie contemporary responses to human rights abuses in schools. In 2016, Sefakor was named the 6th most influential disabled person in the world. Sefakor also teaches the Global Disability Studies course and Race and Racism Course as adjunct at the University of Vermont. At Saint Michael's College, she teaches Disability Justice and Ethical Leadership and Disability Policies. She won the prestigious Prelock 2022 award for her excellent asynchronous online course at the University of Vermont. Sefakor works with Vermont Center for Independent Living with all students across the State of Vermont between the ages of 14 to 26 to build their self-advocacy skills and strategies. She serves on so many boards including the World Learning Global Advisory Council, The High-Level Political Forum of UN (HLPF), African Association of Disability and Self-Advocacy (AADISAO), The Free Wheelchair Mission, The Presidents Commission on Inclusive Excellence (PCIE) of UVM, and the ADA Taskforce of UVM. Sefakor co-authored the books "Disability in the Global South: The Critical Handbook", "Next Generation Digital Tools and Application for Teaching and Learning Enhancement 1ST Edition" and the "Handbook of Research on Contemporary Issues in Multicultural and Global Education.
DATE: Thursday, September 7th, 7:00pm
LOCATION: Phoenix Books Burlington, 191 Bank Street, downtown Burlington
ADMISSION: This event is free and open to all.
BOOKS: Signed copies of I'm Able will be available at the event.