Ms. Harris (now Ms Harris-Meachem) is a dedicated and persistent advocate for women who, for a variety of reasons find themselves living on the margins of society due to the social stigma of their disability or race. She continues to take courses at the Pennsylvania State University so as to improve her writing skills and gain a more precise understanding of the politics of healthcare and views the world from a multicultural perspective. Having earned her graduate training at the Pennsylvania State University in 1985, she went on to do to work as a clinician with the chemically dependent. Her work with this population put her in the position to be a member of the management team at the prestigious World Institute on Disability (WID) where the first HIV/Disability Project brought these two groups the same Culture of Disability. Ms. Harris grant proposals to educate both communities about HIV and those traditionally diagnosed as disabled was a challenge she embraced. In fact after resigning her position at WID, she traveled 4 times to the third world countries to observe and document the impact of HIV in some of the most deprived areas of Haiti and Zimbabwe. She continues to challenge the stereotypes that plague those with complex disabilities even in today’s society, especially in healthcare, higher education and employment where she continues to confront those who refuse to follow the federally mandated laws and regulations as set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act. She is relentless in her efforts to reduce the biases and stereotypical assumptions, still held by some even today. She wrote her memoir to educate, encourage and inspire others in hopes that there will be more written accounts of those who live with complex, chronic health conditions that carry a distinct social stigma.
She is relentless in her efforts to reduce the biases and stereotypical assumptions, still held by some...
Her memoir, It’s Easier to Dance –Living Beyond Boundaries, the first book to contain a chronological view of the historical development of the civil rights movement from three different perspectives; as a woman, a minority, one living with a developmental disability.Ms. Harris-Meachem also hopes to encourage those in the medical profession and social services to be not so quick in their diagnoses when more time is required when evaluating a patient with such complexities. The style of writing used makes it an excellent text book that allows the reader to take on one of the characters, seeing different periods of history from many perspectives.
The memoir is available in bulk orders for institutions of higher learning to be included on reading lists for a variety of courses on Disability & Culture; Public Policy & Health Issues. Through her new business, Disability Rights Education, she aspires to have an impact at the national level.