There is no way I can describe the drug-like dopamine affect the National Conference on Independent Living conference has on my soul.
I’ve always been in the disabled community, or the DisCo - I was born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and some of my earliest memories are at camp or MDA events. I grew up knowing that I had this community, but thinking little of the glue that held it together. I thought it was purely by circumstance that I was engaging with these people. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know what I had in common with them, other than being disabled.
There came a moment sometime in my late teens/early twenties where I realized I was in love with the rush that came with going to a conference. Kinda lame, I know; but if you think about it, why wouldn’t I love conferences? They are full of people who are there for the same reason, because they are interested in learning similar things as you - it is a mecca for exploring common interests, networking; you know it’s a good conference when you come out tired but more fulfilled than when you went in.
The NCIL conference is roughly 2500 people, coming together to convene on how we can push education, healthcare, disability rights and so much more onto a world that doesn’t seem ready for us. The rush that comes with knowing this community, these people, and that they have your back - you can be whoever you need to be in the DisCo, and we will adapt. #NCIL19 #NCILIgnite
Until recently, I’ve never been to a conference that mirrored that same feeling of joy and acceptance and understanding...until I went to a cannabis conference. The #WomenGrow conference held so many of the opportunities I appreciate about the NCIL conference; open, genuinely curious networking. People collaborating and connecting purely to open doors and meet cool people. While everyone wants something, you all recognize you can best achieve that together, because the goals are co-dependent on other goals. Not every conference fosters the inclusion of community; no one smoked the social punch but everyone wanted to engage with others.
Obviously this happens at other conferences, but rarely do you get the blanketed acceptance that comes in knowing you are a part of a community that feels to you like home, but may not be in the spectrum of everyone else’s lives. This has only made me want to connect with the Cannabis Community more, because the feelings of inclusion and accessibility can be grown to include anyone, regardless of how or why you are in the Cannabis Community. While I was disappointed not to see #WomenGrow talk about disabled women or have speakers with visible disabilities, they do have potential, and most importantly they hold the door open to anyone who may benefit from going green. I applaud that, and hope to widen the door for more disabled advocates, patients, growers and sellers who want to *dab*ble.
In the meantime though, I get ready for my favorite event of the year. The NCIL conference brings thousands of disabled advocates from across the world, all hoping to make the world a little more accessible, and knowing they have to keep learning and adjusting to accommodations both for themselves and others. I eventually hope to bring these communities together, because personally, I never think you should underestimate the value of teamwork, holistic medicine, and motivated activists.
What We're Stoked About: Mimosa & Royal Medic CBD
Those citrus vibes hold me down, and the Royal Medic allows me to numb my pain, anxiety, and most blissfully, sleep.
Stay tuned for the webinar Access Cannabis coming up on August 8th!
How does the Cannabis Community interact and engage with your community? We'd love to hear from you!