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Local Volunteer Says She Refuses to Play "Blind Card"

Vision Forward

As the National Governors Association’s annual meeting kicks off tomorrow with a session on employing people with disabilities, a local volunteer says she is proof that challenges can be overcome.

Wisconsinite Cindy Alioto knows firsthand that there are obstacles to getting a job for people with disabilities. She is blind and has faced many challenges in a world that's geared toward sighted people.

But as someone who lost her sight over time, she tries today to convince people that being blind isn't a liability.

"I’ve seen a lot of people who think they can’t do it because they’re blind," she says, "and they try and play the blind card, we call it. And, no - just put on your big boy pants or big girl pants and get out there and do it."

Alioto leads by example. She holds down a full-time job as an inside sales associate at Industries for the Blind in West Allis.  She volunteers for at least four organizations, including the Milwaukee Beer Barrels Blind Bowling League and Vision Forward.

But she says businesses also have to be willing to consider candidates with disabilities. That's the focus of tomorrow's session at the governors' meeting, led by Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, chair of the National Governors Association. He says people with disabilities have “untapped talents” that can contribute to businesses and communities, and state governments need to help them overcome the various obstacles to getting jobs.