National Leadership Program, Summer 2018
Daniel Kawecki was a Communications Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for the Summer of 2018. Kawecki is interested in exploring the intersection between disability and the criminal justice system as well as the topic of disability in poetry and fiction. Daniel is also interested in hearing about stories of disabled people who are artists. Daniel hoped, by the end of his time at RespectAbility, he would possess a broader range of skills and knowledge related to the portrayal of people with disabilities in mainstream culture.
As of 2018, Kawecki was a rising senior at Mercyhurst University. He was majoring in English with a concentration in Text, Image, and Design. Kawecki was enrolled in Mercyhurst’s AIM program for students with Autism. The program has opened several opportunities for him, such as meeting congressmen and interning at the American Psychological Association. He has spent most of his college life around people with Autism. In addition to experiencing a variety of people on the spectrum, Kawecki has taken the initiative to become the administrator for the AIM program’s Facebook page. Along with Autism, he has developed an interest in poetry. This year Kawecki was awarded the P. Barry McAndrew award at Mercyhurst and published in the annual Lumen Arts Magazine for his poem, “Wormm.” To write the poem, he said “I drew inspiration from my disability and my struggles with mental illness.”
Kawecki grew interested in disability when he was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism at the age of 15. Kawecki loves to write poetry. His favorite poets are Allen Ginsberg, Ruth Forman, Mary Oliver, and Michael Ondaatje. He loves to spend time outdoors hiking with others. Kawecki is a fan of Alternative-Rock from the 80s and 90s. His favorite bands are the Pixies and Radiohead. Kawecki practices mindfulness and believes it is a powerful tool for activating kindness, compassion, and open-mindedness in human beings. Kawecki believes that the key to overcoming discrimination lies ultimately in addressing our own insecurities rather than the people who live around us.
As a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility, he gathered information and wrote articles about people who have contributed to the disabled community to spread their accomplishment through our website and social media.
Kawecki wrote two pieces during the 2018 Summer Fellowship. Check them out on our website:
- Doreen Thomas of the T. Howard Foundation on Promoting Diversity in Media, “Difference” Empowers (July 26, 2018)
- Fighting Implicit Bias Through Film and Television (September 17, 2018)
Join Our Team
RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.