by Mark Johnson with Kristen E. Vincent
Award-winning author Kristen E. Vincent partnered with Mark Johnson to write his memoir, I Love Today (Westbow Press, 2015). Mark is a nationally-known disability rights activist and community organizer. He currently serves as director of advocacy for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 Henry B. Betts Award, the New Mobility Person of the Year in 2001, and the National Council on Independent Living Distinguished Service Award in 1990. To learn more about Mark, visit: www.facebook.com/markleejohnson.
Growing up, Mark Johnson was smaller than and different from his peers, which made him uncomfortable. After a diving accident left him paralyzed, he was different in a new way.
Living with a disability, Mark struggled with the social attitudes that labeled people with disabilities as inferior. He took the prejudicial treatment personally and decided to do something about it.
In 1983, he had the opportunity to co-found ADAPT, a grassroots network of people with disabilities that played a role in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Confronting—and changing—social attitudes certainly requires boldness and tactics such as civil disobedience; Mark’s arrest record is proof of this. However, Mark is better known for his engaging style that puts people at ease and encourages them to consider the benefits of accepting our differences.
Part spiritual memoir, I Love Today is Mark’s reflection on his life as a son, husband, and father; as a person with a disability; as a community organizer; and as a child of God. It examines the fears behind our social attitudes and offers insights for a more inclusive world. Along the way, it inspires us all to learn to love today.
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