COn April 8, the Committee for Disabled Students (CDS) held a momentous event called “Nothing is Impossible.” The exhibition was held in the gallery on the sixth floor of the Benjamin Rosenthal Library, displaying many different pictures of those with residual limbs persevering and doing what they love in spite of having a disability. CDS is a resource on campus for students with disabilities. They work to make Queens College more accessible, offer tutoring for students who need extra accommodations and infrastructure maintenance and help combat stigma by raising awareness.
At this powerful exhibit, a model, singer and two athletes with disabilities were shown in candid photos. The “Nothing is Impossible” exhibit showed these people living happy lives doing what they love to do. Actress and model, Jaleesa Graham, was featured in one of many photos. Britney Garcia, a freshman, stated she loved the picture where the model is captured, “in her element, with the lights from the vanity shining on her beautiful smile,” and that her residual limb, “is not made apparent at first glance, all one simply sees is a happy glowing woman.” The same can be said about Spanish-American singer, Victoria Canal. In the pictures of her, she is seen singing her heart out to the audience and playing piano.
Bionic man, the first superhero with a prosthetic, was written by Michel Fornasier, who has a state of the art prosthetic hand. Matthew Lynch, a bodybuilder and rock climber, has a residual limb and pictures show how he is able to lift weights and how he uses his residual limb to rock climb. One picture that stood out to Sidorela Lleshi, a junior, was of Lynch smiling. She said, “The most favorite one of mine was the guy smiling because despite his limitations he is happy and shows that we, too, can be happy and live active.” She also added, “The media usually depicts [us] as depressed individuals. This photo shed a different light as a person who is happy and can do anything and nothing can step in his way in doing what he loves.”
Another athlete, Rudy Garcia-Tolson, was also featured. He is a double amputee above his knees and he has competed in Iron Triathlons and done well in them, even beating his own record at one point. One picture at the exhibit shows a face of determination and not letting anything get in his way.
The CDS did a great job in showing people thriving despite their disabilities. Many students can take away something positive from this event. Manuel A. Landin III, senior and president of CDS, said that he “wants people to see that what makes a human is not determined by how much or little they have, but by what they do or accomplish with it” and also “see the completeness of the models, athletes, artists (including photographers) and truly believe ‘Nothing is Missing.’” Garcia-Tolson shared that what she took away from the event was, “how people with disabilities persist nonetheless, and it is truly inspiring to me even as an able-bodied person” and that “it creates a sense of perseverance and inspiration in the minds of many who were able to visit such a great opening.”
This exhibition shows people how people with disabilities are enjoying their lives and how they are able to overcome. CDS did a wonderful job in helping to fulfill their mission in combating the negative stigma of people with disabilities by showing them in a positive light and truly showed that nothing is missing. The “Nothing is Missing” exhibit will be open from now until the end of April.