By Ola Ojewumi via https://www.self.com
In fifth grade, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that makes it difficult for my heart to pump blood through my body the way it should. This changed my life forever. By the time I was 11, I had received a heart and kidney transplant, turning me into a person living with limited mobility and chronic illness—a person living with disability.
For years, I despised being disabled. I’d hide my heart transplant scar by rarely wearing any clothes that showed my chest. I lived in fear of people discovering my transplants because I saw the pity in their eyes once they learned the truth. But eventually, I got tired of concealing my existence as a black woman with a disability. The world was already doing that for me.
Being a disabled black woman essentially makes me invisible to much of society.
Every year during BET’s Black Girls Rock! Awards, my eyes are glued to the television. I’m always stunned by the great leaders who take the stage and remind us that black excellence often starts with the contributions of black women. From former first lady Michelle Obama to the founders of Black Lives Matter and musical visionaries like Janelle Monae and Missy Elliot, these women have all inspired…