Anjali Forber-Pratt, one of the most interesting women in the world
Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt is an elite wheelchair racer and Paralympic ambassador.
She’s the 2011 World Champion in the 200m, holds two bronze medals from the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China; and now currently Assistant Research Professor at the Beach Center on Disability.
You can see an inspiring short film about this incredible woman here.
From her blog describing accepting a Champion of Change award at the White House:
I truthfully never thought of myself as a champion of change because I simply do what I love: Make a difference in the lives of others and improve the landscape of disability nationwide and worldwide.
Being different, heads always turned when out in public. This wheelchair is what I know; I was sick as an infant with transverse myelitis that left me paralyzed. Before I first saw wheelchair racers competing at the Boston Marathon, I believed that I was going to simply outgrow my disability – that it was a phase.
I thought to become an adult, I had to first get rid of my disability. Whether it was my skin color or my physical disability, it is not uncommon for me to stroll through an airport and have eyes starring or hear children whispering, “Mommy, what’s that?” as they point to my wheelchair.
For me, it has been about embracing these moments as teachable moments and using them as a foundation for my platform of change…
This eventually grew to a much larger scale of taking on my school district in federal court regarding equal access to education, and representing my country on the world stage at the Paralympic Games…
I am actively involved in my communities to show what people with disabilities are capable of. I help teach sport clinics and speak to corporations and non-for-profits about living life with a disability…
In addition to my athlete hat, I am also a scholar and these same issues shape my research agenda.
My research interests center around individuals who are not given a chance, or who are left on the sidelines. My research interests focus on individuals who struggle to succeed due, in part, to some difference that has labeled them outside the mainstream…
I am passionate about helping others to transform perceptions of what it means to be different, helping others accept their own differences, and motivating others to take action in their own lives and communities.
As a member of more than one minority group, I have had personal experiences of being left on the sidelines, and I have faced resistance trying to emerge as a leader. It is my belief that oftentimes it is precisely these sidelined individuals who are able to help inspire others based on their own experiences.