STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 43°
Columbus
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 46°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 36°
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 44°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather