Changing the Disability Narrative with Sara Minkara


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Sara Minkara shares her remarkable journey a champion for disability inclusion.
Imagine that the first time you meet someone, you’re in total darkness. Would you be more comfortable expressing yourself? Now turn the lights back on and think of a moment you’ve disempowered someone, intentionally or not. Learn why by asking yourself what identities you focus on when interacting and how you see your own self. These are the types of scenarios we discuss this week with Sara.

A troublemaker intentionally disrupting the status quo, Sara is an advocate, entrepreneur, and educator who went blind at age seven. She is also a Muslim woman, meaning the assumptions people make about her are triple-fold—that she’s oppressed, suffering, and uneducated, for instance, when in reality she is bold, proud, and resilient. Sara has reached the point where she is candidly bringing her main identities forward to start a dialogue and decrease misunderstandings. She notes the blessing in not seeing people judging her that’s made her completely comfortable in her own skin.

Thanks to her her faith, smarts, chutzpah, and the confidence instilled by her parents, Sara has founded two organizations. Her global nonprofit Empowerment Through Integration provides critical life-skills training to children with disabilities, who are often shunned and assumed to have no value. What started as an inclusive summer camp in Lebanon evolved into a mission to change the disability narrative on all fronts, taking the burden off parents and kids alone. The second, Sara Minkara, LLC, is a consultancy firm offering courses, workshops in the dark, and executive coaching to promote authentic leadership/culture by embracing disability and inclusion, the idea being that our true selves breed greater benefits for all.

Sara states the startling statistic that one in five Americans has a disability (visible and invisible). We talk Lebanon versus U.S. stigmas, and how it’s not just ignorance but a mindset; examples involve COVID and apps. Treating those with disabilities as an afterthought means businesses here often miss out on 20% more potential customers, while society loses 20% more valuable contributing members. We consider how inclusion should merely be the baseline, and how to define value.

Follow Sara and her companies on Twitter @sarasminkara and @ETIvision and Instagram @sarasminkara and Watch the documentary she recommends, Crip Camp, and read our associated blog post on Rifelion. We acknowledge that we found 14 accessibility errors on the American Muslim Project website since Sara’s interview and are in the process of fixing them. You can and should test your own site’s accessibility here:
American Muslim Project is a production of Rifelion, LLC.
Writer and Researcher: Lindsy Gamble
Show Edited by Mark Annotto and Asad Butt
Music by Simon Hutchinson
Hosted by Asad Butt

42 episodes