CNN Hero of the Year reframes how we view disability

Tears were nearly spilled on the set of "New Day" Monday morning when host Alisyn Camerota introduced ...

Posted: Dec 18, 2017 6:41 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2017 6:41 PM

Tears were nearly spilled on the set of "New Day" Monday morning when host Alisyn Camerota introduced 2017 CNN Hero of the Year Amy Wright.

Wright, who employs and advocates for dozens of intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) people at her North Carolina coffee shop, Bitty & Beau's Coffee, addressed her two children who have Down syndrome during her acceptance speech Sunday night.

"I would not change you for the world, but I will change the world for you," she promised during "CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute."

Camerota was moved by Wright's words and her message. "Oh my gosh, it was a tearjerker last night and this morning," she said.

"So many people were pulling for you," Camerota added. "Look, all of the heroes are so wildly impressive but there was something about your personal story that your own kids have Down syndrome and you wanted to change the world because of that."

Wright opened Bitty & Beau's Coffee in January 2016 and named the shop for two of her four children.

She was named 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for her efforts to advocate for disabled people. The award is determined by online voters who selected Wright from among the top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.

Wright will receive $100,000 to grow her cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017 will receive a $10,000 cash award. Donations made to each of their designated nonprofit organizations are also being matched up to $50,000.

"It is a very personal story for me," Wright told Camerota. "When Beau was born 13 years ago, my husband Ben and I didn't know anything about Down syndrome, and I reflect on that and the fear we felt and the grief we felt and how we transformed that into some of the greatest joy we've known in our lives."

Wright and her husband were inspired to act on behalf of people with disabilities when they learned about the lack of opportunities within the population.

"You use a statistic: 70 percent of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities like Down syndrome, like cerebral palsy, like autism are not employed, and so what kind of life is that?" Camerota asked.

"It's not that the jobs aren't there, it's that people don't value people with intellectual and developmental disabilities," Wright said. "And so, if we can reframe the way people think about people with IDD, then opportunities are organically going to follow."

Learn more about Amy Wright's efforts and donate here.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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