Albert Rizzi at Tedx MidAtlantic (3-minute version)
Narrator: In 2019 Albert Rizzi, CEO of My Blind Spot went to Washington D.C. to tell his compelling story at the TEDxMidAtlantic speaking event, Unbreakable. Leading up to the event, Albert provided perspectives on his blindness, the community of people with disabilities, the mission of his business, and what he wanted to achieve with his TED Talk.
I guess what I hope people walk away with from my talk, is a shifting of perspective on what ability means, as opposed to dislabeling me. One in five of us has a disablity, one in three of us knows somebody who does. I ask you to take a look next to you, somebody in a week or two, month or two, year or two, decades from now, will have a disability. My blindness has been a tremendous gift, I've never seen more clear in my entire life. I feel I have been called to open people's eyes to ability, as opposed to accepting disability. I'm here to tell you there isn't anything impossible about the possible if you put your mind to it.
Narrator: On the day TEDxMidAtlantic took place, Albert was ready to deliver his message.
And instead of having a sinus infection, five spinal taps later, it was meningitis. Fungal meningitis, a lethal form of meningitis with a low mortality rate. Hm. Spoiler alert, I survived! On January 6th, 2006 I came out of a drug induced morphine haze and found that I was totally blind, and 120 pounds. The dignitaries that I had mentioned before, anybody notice some of them? How many of you, put your hands up, I mean I'm blind here people.
Let's try that again, good! How many, yeah? All right. I don't want you to dislabel me anymore. People should not be called "disabled". We disable a bomb, we disable a car, we disable engines, we disable a computer, we don't disable people. Thank you. This has been very humbling, and I just hope that people hear my message of how our society has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to people of ability for millennia, and that in the 21st century, with every ounce of my being, I'm hoping to make sure we elevate and lift my community of people to greatness. and give them an opportunity on their stage, in their spotlight, to be the best that they can be.