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Building an Inclusive and Equitable Disability-Forward Community: A Journey of Advocacy and Service

Updated: May 9, 2023

Introduction:

In a world where the voices of disabled individuals are often silenced or overlooked, there are those who dedicate themselves to fighting for equal rights, opportunities, and recognition. Nico Meyering, a second-generation disability advocate, is one such remarkable individual. With a deep-rooted passion for advancing disability causes, Nico has made significant contributions to the disability community through philanthropy, civic engagement, and community projects. In this blog post, we delve into Nico's inspiring journey, his advocacy work, and his commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.


A Life of Perseverance:

Nico Meyering's personal journey has been shaped by his experience with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS), an extremely rare disorder affecting less than 2000 individuals globally. This condition impairs the body's automatic impulse to breathe, often accompanied by dysautonomia issues. Despite these challenges, Nico's determination has been unwavering, and he refuses to let his disability define him.


From Oneonta to Philadelphia:

Originally hailing from Oneonta, New York, Nico's journey took him through various states such as New York, Texas, and California before settling in Philadelphia. It was in Philadelphia that Nico truly found his calling and dedicated himself to fighting for the rights and inclusion of disabled individuals.


Passion for Advocacy:

Nico advocates for Disability inclusion in the workplace. Nico's dedication to advocating for disabled individuals extends into his professional life. 'Although my role at FreedomPay may not directly relate to disability or being disabled, I take great pride in being a disabled tech worker.' " His primary goal is to ensure that disabled individuals have access to the same employment rates, community resources, and quality of life as their non-disabled counterparts. Nico recognizes the discriminatory challenges faced by his disabled colleagues and friends, particularly those who are chronically ill or experience chronic fatigue.


A Battle Against Ableism:

Ableism, a form of bigotry, permeates our society's policies and behaviors. To combat this hateful mindset, Nico emphasizes the need for an inclusive and equitable disability-forward community. He firmly believes that disability and capability can coexist and that every issue, regardless of its nature, is ultimately a disability issue.


A Legacy of Service and Achievements:

Nico Meyering's commitment to service and advocacy is reflected in his extensive list of accomplishments:


- In 2017, Nico delivered a thought-provoking TedX talk, shedding light on the experiences and challenges faced by disabled individuals.


- In 2018, he organized and spoke at an international medical conference, amplifying the voices of disabled individuals on a global platform.


- Nico joined the Philadelphia AmeriCorps Alumni Chapter in 2020, contributing to community-building and service initiatives.


- Recognizing his exemplary dedication, Nico was inducted into the National Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame in 2021. This prestigious honor acknowledges his role in mentoring other disabled individuals and groups.


- In the same year, he joined the Diversability Leadership Collective, further cementing his commitment to championing disability rights and inclusion.


- Nico's leadership abilities were recognized in 2021 when he was elected chairperson of the Philadelphia AmeriCorps Alumni Chapter.


- In 2022, Nico was appointed to the Mayor's Commission for People with Disabilities in Philadelphia. Through this role, he advocates for accessible government services and locations, ensuring disabled inclusion in the city.


- Additionally, Nico serves as a trustee of Awesome Disability, an organization that awards $1000 to one disability impact project each month, contributing to the advancement of disability causes.


Conclusion:

Nico Meyering's journey as a second-generation disability advocate serves as an inspiration to us all. His tireless efforts to eradicate ableism and build an inclusive and equitable disability-forward community are truly commendable. Through philanthropy, civic engagement, and community projects, Nico has made significant contributions to the disability community. His goal of ensuring that disabled individuals have equal access to employment, community resources, and quality of life reflects his deep commitment to creating a more inclusive society.


Nico's personal experience with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS) has fueled his passion for advocacy. Despite facing numerous challenges, he has persevered and refused to let his disability define him. Nico's journey has taken him from his hometown of Oneonta, New York, to various states before settling in Philadelphia, where he has found his true calling.


Ableism, a form of bigotry, is a major obstacle in achieving true equality for disabled individuals. Nico firmly believes that disability and capability can coexist and that every issue, regardless of its nature, is ultimately a disability issue. By raising awareness and challenging societal norms, he aims to eradicate ableism and build a more inclusive society where disabled talent can shine.


Nico's commitment to advocacy and service is evident through his impressive list of accomplishments. From delivering a TedX talk and speaking at international conferences to joining organizations like the Philadelphia AmeriCorps Alumni Chapter and the Diversability Leadership Collective, he has consistently worked to amplify the voices of disabled individuals and advocate for their rights.


His induction into the National Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame is a testament to his dedication to mentoring and supporting other disabled individuals. As a member of the Philadelphia Mayor's Commission for People with Disabilities, he actively works towards making government services and locations accessible and promoting disabled inclusion in the city.


Nico's involvement as a trustee of Awesome Disability highlights his commitment to philanthropy. By awarding grants to disability impact projects, he contributes to the advancement of disability causes and supports initiatives that empower disabled individuals.


In conclusion, Nico Meyering's journey as a disability advocate is characterized by resilience, passion, and a commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable society. Through his advocacy work, philanthropy, and civic engagement, he continues to make a significant impact on the lives of disabled individuals. Nico's unwavering determination serves as an inspiration to all those who strive for a world where disability is celebrated, and every individual has equal opportunities to thrive.

Nico is standing on a sidewalk, next to a pole, he is posing for the camera in a purple button up shirt.

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