Let’s face it, most of us take our vision for granted. Even if we have to wear glasses or contacts, we just look at the world and see things.
But what if you were born without that ability? What would life be like as a blind person?
Poet and professor Stephen Kuusisto was born in 1955, and has essentially been blind since birth. And he has become one of the country’s leading advocates for the blind and visually disabled community.
I met him in 1998 when he wrote his memoir, a book called Planet of The Blind.
So here now, from 1998, Stephen Kuusisto.
Stephen Kuusisto is 68 now, and still a strong advocate for those with visual disabilities.
How did a Roman Catholic nun wind up befriending a convicted killer on death row?
The answer to that deceptively simple question is found in Sister Helen Prejean’s bestselling 1993 book Dead Man Walking. If you haven’t read the book, you’ve probably seen the movie starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn.
Prejean is an outspoken and powerful voice against capital punishment. Her book has made millions of people reconsider their own positions on the death penalty.
I first met her shortly after her book was published. So here now, from 1993, Sister Helen Prejean.
Sister Helen Prejean celebrated her 84th birthday last week. And she is still working to eliminate the death penalty.
In the summer of 1992, then US senator Al Gore from Tennessee was thrust into a much more visible public role, when Bill Clinton selected him as his running mate on the Democratic ticket.
That was also about the time Gore published his first book about the environment, a volume called Earth in the balance
And that’s how I met Al Gore, just a few weeks before he was nominated to be vice president.
The day I interviewed him if he had any indication that he was about to be nominated to be on the Clinton ticket, he did a really good job of hiding it.
So here now, from 1992, senator Al Gore.
Al Gore served as vice president under Bill Clinton for 8 years, before seeking the presidency on his own in 2000. He lost that election by a razor thin margin to George w. Bush. Since then, Gore has cemented his reputation as a leading advocate of environmental causes.
In the last 20 years the LGBTQ movement has made enormous social and political strides, but what we sometimes forget is that enormous strides begin with baby steps.
More than seven decades ago, a man who took many of those first baby steps and established the modern gay rights movement was a man named Harry Hay.
Hay knew something about organizing unpopular political movements because as early as the 1930s Hay was a communist — and this was at a time when the Communist party was very homophobic. Hay married a woman and was married for several years before finally acknowledging that he was gay.
By 1950 Harry Hay recognized that the gay and lesbian community — which didn’t even really have a name yet — had rights and needed those rights protected.
Calling up on some of the same skills he used as a communist organizer. Harry Hay started the Mattachine Society. And that, many historians agree, gave rise to the modern gay rights movement.
I met Harry Hay in late 1990. He was the subject of a biography by writer Stuart Timmons called The Trouble With Harry Hay.
So here now from 1990 Stuart Timmons and Harry Hay