Scrolling Headlines:

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January 19, 2018

Matt Murray hands Northeastern its first shutout of the season -

January 19, 2018

Minutewomen stunned by last-second free throw -

January 19, 2018

UMass hockey returns home to battle juggernaut Northeastern squad -

January 18, 2018

Slow start sinks Minutemen against URI -

January 17, 2018

UMass three-game win streak snapped in Rhode Island humbling -

January 17, 2018

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey -

January 16, 2018

Small-ball lineup sparks UMass men’s basketball comeback over Saint Joseph’s -

January 14, 2018

UMass men’s basketball tops St. Joe’s in wild comeback -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s track and field have record day at Beantown Challenge -

January 14, 2018

UMass women’s basketball blows halftime lead to Saint Joseph’s, fall to the Hawks 84-79. -

January 14, 2018

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win -

January 13, 2018

Makar, Leonard score but UMass can only muster 2-2 tie with Vermont -

January 13, 2018

Pipkins breaks UMass single game scoring record in comeback win over La Salle -

January 10, 2018

Conservative student activism group sues UMass over free speech policy -

January 10, 2018

Report: Makar declines invite from Team Canada Olympic team -

January 10, 2018

Prince Hall flood over winter break -

January 10, 2018

Minutemen look to avoid three straight losses with pair against Vermont -

January 10, 2018

Men’s and women’s track and field open seasons at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2018

Turnovers and poor shooting hurt UMass women’s basketball in another conference loss at St. Bonaventure -

January 8, 2018

Norman Kunc to give speech at Mount Holyoke College

holyokeIn a speech to be held this week titled “A Life Beyond Compare: Disability, Normalcy and Transformation,” Norman Kunc will discuss the habitual ways that society perceives peoples with disabilities. Kunc (pronounced Koonz) will be advocating that society needs to include people with disabilities as a part of human diversity so that they may begin to be recognized as valued and contributing citizens.

Kunc’s speech will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Gamble Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College. This free event is open to the public, is handicapped accessible and will have a sign language interpreter present throughout. The speech should run for about an hour and will include a question-answer session at the end.

Kunc will be speaking from his own personal experiences as someone who was born with Cerebral Palsy, a non-curable disease that inhibits physical body movement and muscle coordination, often resulting in stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes. Because of his disability, Kunc attended a segregated school until grade seven. It was upon his integration into a regular high school that he realized his desire to change the general view society has of disabled people.

Kunc is now a well-known advocate in the disability rights community worldwide. This year alone he has lectured on disability rights in many states all over the country from California to New Hampshire. He has gone as far Egypt and South Africa to speak at conferences on the matter.

“He has the ability to capture everyone in the audience. He really is an excellent and very funny storyteller,” said Emma Fialka-Feldman, a Mount Holyoke student who proposed that Kunc speak to her five-college classmates after remembering a moving speech she had seen Kunc deliver years ago.

“There’s a story that he told about going to a therapist,” Fialka-Feldman said. “They made him exercise by walking up and down these stairs, and he thought, ‘Why am I walking up these stairs? They don’t go anywhere. Why don’t I walk up some stairs that will be useful?’ He evaluates how therapists should help people with disabilities and why are we trying to help them in the first place.”

Kunc is not only a public speaker on the matter of disability rights but is also the founder of BroadReach, a company based out of western Canada with a mission statement to help individuals with disabilities and their families live rich and meaningful lives in their communities.

“The big idea is that disabilities are not deficiencies,” Fialka-Feldman said about Kunc’s message. “He says that it is something that people need to overcome and that there are ways of valuing people with disabilities. These are people that we can talk to, that we can build relationships with, and we need to start seeing them as people who do have huge contributions to make.”

Along with his message of acceptance, Kunc will be promoting the idea that disability is just an element of human diversity, just as race and gender are elements.

“People with disabilities are everywhere. They are in our families, in classrooms and in residential buildings,” Fialka-Feldman said. “I hope that the presentation will help others realize that these are people out there and to start seeing people with disabilities in a new way.”

Kunc often likes sum up his view of disabilities by quoting playwright Neil Marcus who once said, “Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.”

Christa Romano can be reached at cromano@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Norman Kunc to give speech at Mount Holyoke College”
  1. drivingsolutions says:

    Great article, Christa. He sounds like an interesting speaker. Society has a long way to go in accepting disabilities.

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