Celebrating #NDEAM on Maryland’s Eastern Shore!

Image Description: There’s a photo of Leslie. She is smiling, waving. She has black straight hair, is wearing a black waffle knit sweater read black pants. She is waving and is a rigid, manual wheelchair user. Underneath her is a quote of Leslie’s during the video: “I can do all of that from my wheelchair. I don’t have to be able to walk around to do that. And neither do you. – Leslie Jefferson.” Text to the left reads: “Celebrating National Disability Awareness Month on Maryland Eastern’s Shore!” The next clip is an image of the #NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) logo. The image features a map of America with many people on it including able-bodied. Text to the right reads: “Thank you Pohanka of Salisbury for celebrating #NDEAM everyday! We love you!” There’s also NDEAM’s official #NDEAM” logo

It was the so wonderful and exciting thing to celebrate #NDEAM with Pohanka Automotive who is leading the way on inclusion – in the workplace and with customers who have disabilities! I’m grateful for the partnerships that exist in my community.

On the Eastern Shore, we are better when partnerships happen!

I was so happy to get a chance to make this video with my friend, Leslie, to share about her career as a disabled woman. Leslie is an amazing disabled Marylander and is doing so much for our Maryland spinal cord community here. Our Lower Shore is so lucky to have her!

To join Leslie’s group, please click here.

To find out more about Pohanka and their business, please click here.

To watch the video, please watch below and share below:

If you need the video transcription, please read below. It has been completely transcribed:


Video transcription: 

The video begins with a clip of Leslie talking without sound. She has black straight hair, is wearing a black waffle knit sweater and black pants. She is a rigid, manual wheelchair user. On the clip is text that reads: “Celebrating inclusive workplaces, accessible businesses and disabled employees on the Eastern Shore!”

The next clip is an image of the #NDEAM (National Disability Employment Awareness Month) logo. The image features a map of America with many people on it including able-bodied. The text on the map reads: “ America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.” NDEAM, visit www.dol.gov/ndeam.

Leslie begins to talk (with sound). She is in the Pohamba of Salisbury deanship. Around her are couches and chairs, plants, etc. While talking throughout, she uses her hands and is very moving and animated; speaking and moving poetically.  

Leslie is very animated while talking. 

The text goes as following: 

“Hi everyone, this is Leslie Jefferson. I am actually a buyer for Pohanka Automotive Group. I have been here for going on 10 years and I am a T12 spinal cord injury survivor. So what that means is a little less actually a little less actually than a year ago I was in a car accident that broke my spinal cord on the very low level, which prevents me from having feeling from the waist down. And when that happened, I went into a panic. What am I going to do? Who am I? Can I still work? Can I drive? The things I knew I no longer knew because I couldn’t feel below my waist. But what I found over this past year is that none of these things matter because of the support around me and my employer. I’ve been able to still continue my everyday life, still be able to continue and still be able to drive which is like a really important thing for me even though I can’t use my legs. When I got injured, it was never a question n whether or not I was still going to have my employment. I was still going to have my job. I was still going to my career. My bosses and the people around me just wanted to make do. What do we have to do? Do we have to get you a bigger desk? Do we have to change your position? It was never a question of whether or not I’d be able to do it. There’s a matter of the question of when are we going to do it? When are going to get there? They make sure that at first all I was focused on was physical therapy and getting myself better so that physically and mentally I could come back to work and do the same exact things I did before my injury. And look at me now. I’m still doing that. So I’m still able to roll across Pohanka’s parking lots, show vehicles to customers, executes sales for customers, buy people’s cars. So that’s recently what I’ve been doing. I’ve been buying vehicles from people and I can do all of that from my wheelchair. I don’t to be able to walk around to do that. And neither do you.”

Next clip has text. It reads:

Disabled employees are valuable employees every day! Thankfully, Pohanka honors the contributions of disabled employees and treats them with respect. Inclusive workforces are the best workplaces to foster! More businesses can take notes on how to foster inclusion in the workforce from Pohanka!

There’s a photo of Leslie. She has black straight hair. It’s a selfie. She is pointing to the Pohanka Hyundai building behind her. 

Next clip begins with Leslie at work. It reads: “Leslie at work!”  Leslie is demonstrating a car and testing its accessibility for customers with disabilities. She wears leggings, a printed top, and is a rigid manual wheelchair user. The video shows her her transferring into the vehicle to test its accessibility and shows how she transfers into cars as someone who is a paraplegic and or a person who uses a wheelchair as an example. The video goes through the process of a transfer, and shows a glimpse of what it looks like. 

The transcription goes as following: 

“I’m Leslie with Pohanka Hyundai. And today we’re going to start off by showing you a 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe X R and we’re just going to see if I can get in it. We’re really inclusive at the Pohanka and I just wanted to show everybody the difficulties and the pros and cons to different vehicles. So today, we’re going to try this one. I haven’t been in it yet. So let’s see. So for starters, for me, this one, the XR version comes with running boards. For me, in a chair that makes things a little more difficult, but it does look really good. Good! I like the handrail. That was super simple. So yes for this and paraplegic and accessibility, I give the ability to get in the new Santa Fe XR all of the thumbs up. 

Next clip is a photo of one of the Pohanka buildings. It is a glass building. Text on image reads: “Thanks Pohanka for being a local business that’s leading on inclusion!”

Next clip is a photo of Leslie. She is wearing dark lipstick, her hair is black with blonde higlights, and she wears a black dress. It is a closeup photo. The text reads: Leslie is incredible and compassionate! 

She loves supporting fellow disabled people of any age in finding a career.

She leads with honesty when sharing her daily life struggles that come from having a spinal cord injury. .

She’s also co-founder of the Quad Squad. It’s a Delmarva spinal cord injury FB group. Leslie Jefferson.”

Next clip says: “Thanks for watching the video! Subscribe to my channel for more disability content!” There is a Bitmoji of Dominique; she has olive skin, dark curly hair, wears jeans, a sweater, and checkered Vans. At the bottom is the The Girl in the Pink Wheelchair logo

Final clip reads: “Contact me and let’s talk!

Email: thegirlinthepinkwheelchair@gmail.com

Website: thegirlinthepinkwheelchair.com 

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter: @TheGirlInThePinkWheelchair

@TheGirlInThePinkWheelchair

@DominiqueSessa

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