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Author Donna Jodhan, Canadian Council of the Blindís 2017 Person of the Year, In-Studio Interview (Video)

Original Release: 2/14/2017
Video screen shot of Donna Jodhan, in-studio at AMI, standing to the the left of a tall glass table being interviewed by Anthony McLachlan who is standing to the right of her at the same table.

This video interview brought to you by AMI, Accessible Media, Inc. Season 5. Episode 22. February 6, 2017.

Watch and/or listen to the full video at:

Full interview transcript:

Now as part of the annual festivities put on by the CCB to celebrate White Cane Week, the organization honors an individual from the community with their Person of the Year Award.

This year they chose a very deserving Donna Jodhan, who we are lucky to have in studio right now.

AMI: Thank you for joining me Donna.

DJ: Thank you for having me.

AMI: Now lets start with the most obvious question. What was your reaction when you found out that you were being honored with this award?

DJ: I was very humbled. I was shocked. I didn't know what to say to Louise Gilles when she phone and told me, but, after getting over my surprise I, you know, I am very honored. Because I think that there are others who are just as deserving as I am, but I do thank the CCB for having honored me with this great award.

AMI: Well that's a tremendous honor, and congratulations. You have been an advocate for the blind and low-vision community for many years, and you've won some important victories for the community. Can you share with us a few of your achievements, and maybe ones that you're most proud of?

DJ: I think the one that comes to mind, is the one when we took the Canadian government to court, over their inaccessible websites. And we won a landmark victory in 2010, and then the government again took us to court. They took us to the Federal Court of Appeal, and they again lost. So, it was a tremendous victory, not just for me personally, but for our community as a whole.

AMI: And this whole process took over, about six years.

DJ: It did, it was six years of being beaten up by the government, being beaten up by a lot of other people who didn't understand. But, the support coming from everybody within the community and organizations, that was really what made me keep on going.

AMI: And there's still a lot more work to be done. What do you think are some of the next hurdles for the community to overcome?

DJ: I think what we need to do, is to ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau lives up to his promise to us. And that Carla Qualtrough, who's the minister, is able to live up to her mandate to ensure that a Canadians With Disabilities legislation is passed and passed soon.

AMI: Also it gets a little bit complicated, because there's a lot of other organizations working towards similar goals. How important is it for everybody to be on the same page?

DJ: It's very, very important, because a unified voice is what we need. If we can't have a unified voice, that means that, you know we're going to be all over the place. But I think people are doing their best. They're unifying, they're understanding, they're spreading the word and awareness, so we're very, very hopeful.

AMI: So I guess the emphasis is on a unified message. What do you think is most important about White Cane Week, and why is it important to you?

DJ: What's important about White Cane Week, is the ability for our community to make Canadians more aware of what goes on within our community, and how it affects other people. You know like, what we can do to ensure that Canadians understand, and that they carry on with us as well. What it means to me personally, is to ensure that our kids of the future have a better future than we have had, because we owe it to them, just as others have given it to us.

AMI: Well thank you for sharing your thoughts on this event, and on behalf of myself and the rest of the AMI family, I want to thank you again for all of your contributions to the blind and low-vision community. We know you're gonna keep up the fight, and thank you again for joining me today.

DJ: Thank you for having had me.

Author Donna Jodhan Initials. DJ.

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