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Amir Rahimi | September 2022 Men In Motion

Amir DC Rooftop: Amir standing at the edge of a rooftop wearing a light gray suit and navy dress shirt. The sun is setting behind with a panoramic view of the Washington Capitol in the background.

Amir Rahimi | September 2022 Men In Motion

Contents

“I just always go back to that when I decided to let go and accept my blindness. That’s where it changed the game for me.”

~Amir Rahimi

Editor’s Note

I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend. For those of you who are loyal Bold Blind Beauty Believers you may have noticed our schedule has been slightly askew. As we continue to evolve so does the pressure to sustain what we’re building for our community. Going forward we will be publishing twice weekly mostly on Mondays and Fridays.

While our publishing schedule may alter from time to time the one thing you can be assured of is this:

We will continue to pursue our mission of improving humanity by changing the way we percieve one another.

Today’s Man In Motion Amir Rahimi will definitely help to alter our perceptions of those living with disabilities.He is an excellent role model on what we can achieve once we get out of our way and accept ourselves as we are. Enjoy! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

Amir DC Rooftop: Amir standing at the edge of a rooftop wearing a light gray suit and navy dress shirt. The sun is setting behind with a panoramic view of the Washington Capitol in the background. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight September 2022 | Men In Motion | Amir Rahimi.”
Amir DC Rooftop

YouTube Video

Introduction & My Sight Loss Story

Tux – A close up picture of Amir in a black and white tuxedo. He is smiling at the camera with the AFB logo in yellow and blue behind him.
Tux

Hi, my name is Amir Rahimi. And I come to you from Arlington, Virginia. And I’m going to take a few minutes to tell you about how I lost my vision.

So back in September of 2009, I was getting ready to go out in the morning and I was rushing a little bit in my room, and I bent down to get something. And my right eye collided with the edge of this, this little wooden box on the ground. And what happened was, I ended up rupturing my cornea.

I went to the doctors at Johns Hopkins, and they said that I needed surgery immediately. They fixed the ruptured cornea. But what happened was, I ended up having all these retinal detachments in the back. And consequently, I had a ton of surgeries. And then my, my left eye was affected, because apparently, the eye is an open system. And so I ended up detatching my retina in my left eye as well.

I Lost My Sight, Now What?

So I spent about a year having a lot of surgeries, and just kind of going through the motions of dealing with that. And then after that, I spent another two years, just sitting and doing nothing and just being really depressed. I just I couldn’t accept my, my, my blindness.

I would, and I was very depressed, I was probably sleep, you know, the late afternoons every day. And I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I was, I had just accepted that I was just going to be, you know, this person who had lost his vision and then just sitting in a rocking chair the rest of his life, you know, and just staring at the walls.
And then, you know, I definitely I would go out, I was definitely trying to hide the fact that I had lost my vision.

So I would pretend, you know, that I could see. I mean, that wasn’t that wouldn’t always work out because I was following and stuff. And so I, I spent, I think it was around 2012 I decided, you know, I just I felt like I just hit rock bottom. And I couldn’t take any more.

So, you know, my brother signed me up for this mentorship program with the American Foundation for the Blind, it was called Career Connect. And then through that I was paired with a mentor and this mentor told me about, you know, some things that were out there as far as getting rehabilitation services and, and learning alternative techniques. And that was intriguing to me, because, you know, I was kind of tired of, you know, just sitting in my house all the time.

Renewed Hope In Sight

So I decided to first I started working with an O & M [orientation & mobility] instructor. Her name was Mary Beth and Mary Beth came and she slowly got me into using my cane, which I was really afraid of using using because I thought people were staring at me, and they were judging me. And, and so she got me slowly using her own neighborhood, using it around friends going out on my own into the mall, you know, so that really helped me and then the next step was to really take it to another level.

So I enrolled at a [inaudible] and training center called Blind Industries and Services in Maryland, short for BISM. And then I went there for a year in Baltimore. And I learned all the alternate techniques that I needed. So everything from using cane travel, you know, cooking and cleaning. And we even built, we had a woodshop class where I built a coffee table out of cherry wood, and then learned braille and assistive technology. And we did all this in sleep shaded.

And then for my final project, I went to Miami on the sleep shades, I made a three course meal for 40 people. And you know, there are other cool projects. And then after that I really got the confidence to you know, be independent and, and I decided to go to grad school.

So I enrolled at George Washington University. And I got my master’s in strategic public relations. While I was there, I had an internship at the American Association of People with Disabilities. And that’s where I really started really getting involved in the disability community. And I really love my internship there. I was the digital communications coordinator, intern there.

And so after that, I started working at a Center for Independent Living as a communications and development manager. And, you know, again, there I just started really getting passionate about because I have gone through a lot as far as after losing my vision and, you know, going through the rehab, and then also, you know, finding employment.

Discovering My Passion

So I started really getting passionate about workforce development for people with disabilities. And while I was there, I started a program called Excel Employment Workshop, where I would invite you know, recruiters from companies like PWC people from you know, department of labor to come talk to our consumers with disabilities about how to find employment. And that would really get me jazzed.

Because I would see, you know, people coming in and they would get connected, you know, for internships for employment opportunities. And then, you know, while I was doing it, I was like, ‘this is my jam, this is what I wanted the rest of my life.’

So I started really getting involved with the disability committee, like I say, you know, I started, you know, participating with other organizations, like, the American Foundation for the Blind, National Federation of the Blind. I started, you know, becoming a board member with disability organizations. And then after that, I started working at Special Olympics, which I love, you know, I was a fundraising events manager. And that was really cool, because I got to work with people with developmental disabilities, you know, raising funds for their programs.

And then, you know, after that I, I had the honor of joining the American Foundation for the Blind, where I’ve been, for three years. I’m currently the corporate partnership lead here, and I work with all of our corporate partners, you know, getting them involved with our workforce development initiatives, or research and initiatives, and in finding how we can, you know, promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the lives of people with disabilities.

Reflecting On My Journey To Acceptance

Amir Naples Florida – Picture of Amir sitting poolside in Naples Florida. He is smiling at the camera with a light gray fedora and a light blue t-shirt. There is a sandwich and an ice tea on the table in front of him
Amir Naples Florida

You know, I, you know, what, what happened to me in 2009, you know, it was, it took a lot for me to get over, but it’s led me to where I am today, where, you know, I get to, you know, promote diversity, equity and inclusion for the lives of people with disabilities. And people are blind and low vision. There’s nothing honestly, that brings me more joy.

And, you know, I, I’ve done so many cool things, you know, since getting my training that I never thought I could do. You know, I, I recently bought a home, I live independently on my own, you know, everything that I do, I do on my own. And there was a time where I couldn’t even step out of the house, without, you know, without the assistance of my family and friends.

And, you know, I just always go back to that when I decided to let go and accept my blindness. That’s where it changed the game for me. Last year, you know, I took a solo trip to Hawaii, all on my own and, and I remember I was sitting, you know, I went to Hawaii, it was my first time ever going on a solo vacation. And I remember I was sitting by the beach and I was like, wow, I am in freakin Hawaii, sitting by the beach by myself. Something I could not have imagined.

And, and I really want to dedicate the rest of my life, to be able to create opportunities for other people who, you know, lose their vision or you know, have any kind of disability so that they can feel what I felt when I was sitting by the beach. You know, being able to find that job, being able to become independent and doing whatever, whatever you want with your life.

So, you know, I just feel so blessed today. Thank you so much for Bold Blind Beauty for asking me to tell my story and I am looking forward to getting more involved with your magazine.

Connecting With Amir

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Image Descriptions

  • Header, Beyond Sight Magazine Cover and YouTube Thumbnail are identical and feature Amir DC Rooftop: Amir standing at the edge of a rooftop wearing a light gray suit and navy dress shirt. The sun is setting behind with a panoramic view of the Washington Capitol in the background. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight September 2022 | Men In Motion | Amir Rahimi.”
  • Tux – A close up picture of Amir in a black and white tuxedo. He is smiling at the camera with the AFB logo in yellow and blue behind him.
  • Amir Naples Florida – Picture of Amir sitting poolside in Naples Florida. He is smiling at the camera with a light gray fedora and a light blue t-shirt. There is a sandwich and an ice tea on the table in front of him
  • YouTube Video description: In the video Amir is on a chair wearing a black polo shirt.
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