Illustration of a woman in a wheel chair watching a man pushing bricks out of the wall between them.

Several months ago, I introduced the concept of The Severity Gap which occurs when businesses make different impact and priority decisions for different segments of customers — like customers with disabilities. If not addressed, it can continue to perpetuate the inequality that exists in software development. In my last post, I started to dig into how we build our own internal prioritization frameworks and how expanding our own perspectives helps us begin to reduce the severity gap and make more inclusive decisions about how we build experiences. Expanding our perspectives starts with learning more about different segments of the population…

Me — sitting with my eyes closed, chin resting on my curled hand, looking off to the left against a taupe wall.

Part seven in “Finding my true voice

Alone with the echoes of unheard cries
Held by the weight of secrets and lies
Staring into emptiness nowhere to turn
Light disappears where fire once burned
Watching the struggle raging inside
Helplessly battling both fear and pride

Alone with the pressures of unseen pain
Bound by the power of love untamed
Spinning in circles losing solid ground
Lost in a world flipped upside down
Desperate to ease the internal strife
Knowing the choice remains death or life

Alone with the distance of perpetual trial
Crossing this bridge in inches and miles
Sitting in silence…

Authors note: This post is intended to focus on how we can adjust our own prioritization frameworks, and the inherent value we place on things, through the lens of disability. But I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the fact that these techniques can apply well beyond the specific focus of this post. Discrimination exists in many areas of our world today. …

Illustration of a man on one side of a cavern, and a woman in a wheel chair on another, with a rope stretched between them.

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This is a day where those of us who work in accessibility attempt to draw even more attention to the impact and value of removing barriers for people with disabilities. But, as Sheri Byrne-Haber (Head of Accessibility for VMware) said earlier this week “GAAD is not a marketing event. GAAD is a day where you should be asking yourself can I do something to make the content/product I am putting out there more accessible”. …

Me in my living room, looking slightly away from the camera smiling at something out of the frame

Part 6 in “Finding my own voice

Power is a seed sown your day of birth
A truth expressed in action and need
Power is the dialogue inside of your head
Cultivated by thoughts and words and deeds

Power is a feeling that ebbs and flows
A philosophy bound by choices you make
Power is a force neither good nor bad
Determined by whatever chances you take

Power is a spark which kindles a fire
A beacon of hope always guiding the way
Power is a response to an unspoken call
Clarified by purposefully meaningful days

Power is a thought…

Mountains pictured behind water flowing through landscape of the Oxbow Loop Trail in North Bend WA

Part 5 in “Finding my own voice

Peaceful as raindrops clinging to leaves
A testament to the power of simple beliefs
Beauty brings solace and opens your eyes
Breathe it all in, there’s no need to hide.

Peaceful as harmonies heard in the quiet
A comforting song dispels internal riots.
Seek out the stories written on your heart
Forging a map with a clear place to start.

Peaceful as water calling out to your soul
A return to where meaningful truths can unfold
Floating in stillness the noise drifts away
Amplifying the strengths often kept at bay

Peaceful as flowers…

Portrait of me with iPhone Stage lighting, looking off at something off camera

Part 4 in “Finding my own voice

An unpleasant sensation, a sudden jolt,
A constant companion, a lightening bolt.
Carrying the weight of action and stress
Every step agony, from one to the next.

Suffering in silence, or needing to cry out
You’re not alone amidst certainty or doubt
Bodies remember the hurts of the past
Hearts reach out for a peace that lasts.

With a deep breath, and a silent scream
Release the fear of what’s in between
Forged in fires that flicker and burn
Something hidden you’re meant to learn

Neither good nor evil, just part of the…

Me, a side profile with my eyes closed, snuggling with my dog Emmie in the winter.

Part three in “Finding my own voice

Blessed with the gift of a heart open wide,
Yet burdened by a tug of war deep inside.
Waves of emotion crash over the walls,
Can’t catch my breath, can’t handle it all.
My thoughts whirl in constant confusion,
Never certain what’s truth or illusion.
I give what I have with no thought at all,
Of what I can carry or how I might fall.
I can follow a path in shoes not my own,
Bridging the gaps between the unknown.
Stranger or friend, or soul passing by,
I’ll share my wings to help anyone fly.
Beyond the edges of hatred and grief,
To a peace…

“When stumbling blocks can become stepping stones, then these stones that the builders reject can equally become chief corner stones!” ― Israelmore Ayivor

Rubber stick figures crossing a bridge of puzzle pieces from a large set of joined pieces to a smaller set.

Champion. Advocate. Ally. These are words commonly used to refer to those who work alongside people in a marginalized group such as people with disabilities, people of color, or LGBTQ communities in an effort to remove barriers. There is considerable value in having individuals outside a marginalized community who support the cause. But the words used to describe them can also invoke an imbalanced sense of power. Champions are defined as “those who act to defend or…

Me, standing silhouetted on a beach at sunrise with soft waves rolling in as the sun peaks over the buildings.

Part two in “Finding my own voice

Life is a journey that rises and falls,
Spins you around, demands you answer its call.
Closed doors open windows, you need to look through.
Place no boundaries on what you can do.
One step moves you forward; two pull you back
Hit walls, turn corners, create your own track
Drained and exhausted, it’s ok to cry.
Release the emotions, they help you to fly.
Rise every morning your heart open wide.
Feel energy flow, and ebb with the tide.
Gentle but mighty, like waves on the seas.
Bending not breaking, like trees in the breeze.
Cracks, reinforced, rebuilt, and resealed.
Stable and solid, true strength…

JoAnna Hunt

Tech leader, inclusivity advocate, dog mom, designer, coach, amateur poet, and rockstar auntie.

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