Here we are, celebrating our 20th year of NEW MOBILITY, and it seems like just yesterday that I became editor. Actually, it was late 2000. Since then I have written over 100 Bully Pulpits on countless topics relating to disability. But what’s weighing on my mind today is the state of the print publishing industry.
I’m concerned about the future of words on paper. Not only has the rise in popularity of the Internet weakened the appeal of newspapers and magazines (the downside of progress), the economic crisis has laid a double whammy on the nation’s print publications, NEW MOBILITY included. However, you can rest assured that we are doing all we can to absorb the hit and move forward. For instance, you’ll see a new look to the magazine this issue — new design, new columns, and a slightly different cover. Look closely: “Life on Wheels” has become “Life Beyond Wheels.”
If anything symbolizes where the disability movement is today, it’s that word: beyond. We are moving beyond the limitations of the past. Someday I hope we can say that we have moved beyond discrimination, beyond limiting stereotypes, maybe even literally beyond wheels.
Whatever happens in the next 20 years, the mission of NEW MOBILITY is inseparable from the future of the disability community, and there is reason for hope. In the long run, technology will work in our favor. But something even more important ensures that we will survive: our unwavering will. The stories you see each month in NM are all about making the most of our lives. Each story is unique, yet they are all part of our shared desire to experience life fully — and to do it despite the obstacles and hardships we face every day, whether imposed by our disabilities or the society we live in.
In a way, we are blessed that life is not easy for us. Perseverance builds character — two traits that are certainly integral to our collective history as well as our individual stories. As the world grows smaller with the help of the Internet and expanding communications technology, the positive character traits we have to offer the global community will become more and more apparent (the upside of progress).
In the meantime, NEW MOBILITY will continue bringing you the stories that speak of our past and that secure our future, whether in print, online, in our new digital edition, or in some as yet unforeseen format.
Speaking for the NM staff, I want to emphasize how important our connection is with the disability community. And nothing is more important in maintaining that connection than the contributions of our freelancers and our readers.
Over the past nine years alone, NM has employed well over 100 freelance writers with significant disabilities as feature story writers and columnists. The subject matter they write about is quite often drawn from suggestions sent to us by you, our readers. In a way, those of us on staff are not only journalists, we are also cultural historians who have taken on the responsibility of documenting your stories — and we can’t thank you enough for sharing them with us.