The Power of Telling Your Story: A Rooted in Rights Storyteller Reflects on Her Experience

A photo of Emily Harvey running with text that reads "Written and Directed by Emily Harvey" on a green background.
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As someone who’s been an amputee since the age of two, I wanted to be a Rooted in Rights Storyteller to help educate people about a problem that I’ve been surrounded by my entire life: the difficulty amputees face accessing prosthetic limbs.

I am a disability rights attorney, so I have the good fortune of being able to advocate for people so they can get what they need, with the caveat that the thing they need is something to which they are legally entitled. Unfortunately, while prosthetic limbs are certainly necessary for those who are missing limbs, coverage of these devices is often limited by insurance companies. Since insurance companies are not doing anything illegal when they limit this coverage, my skills as an attorney haven’t really provided a solution to this problem.

Because of this, I had been searching for a platform to at least start educating people that this problem exists in order to contribute to an eventual nationwide policy shift that I’m hopeful may occur at some point in the future.

I had thought about writing about this issue before, but I didn’t really have a captive audience and I think it’s hard to effectively reflect this concept with words on a page because you don’t get to see the people who are impacted. I’ve also been interviewed in the past for different videos and news stories, and I’ve tried to throw the problem regarding access to prosthetics limbs into quite a few of my interviews, but that never really got the point across because it was just a little nugget of information within a longer story.

Then, to my great delight, along came the Rooted in Rights Storytellers project and I knew my opportunity had arrived. I finally had the equipment and support I needed to really create a quality video to help educate the public about this problem.

Working with the Storytellers team was a huge benefit during this process because they helped me refine the video concept, draft the script, shoot the video, and then they edited it based on what we had all agreed to regarding the original concept. My hint of a dream to do something like this finally came true because of the Storytellers and their professional guidance and assistance. Bringing awareness to the experiences of amputees trying to access prosthetic limbs was empowering, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Emily Harvey always knew she wanted a career where she could help people and was drawn to the disability rights movement while on the Civil Rights Law Journal at George Mason University School of Law. Emily is now a staff attorney and program coordinator at Disability Law Colorado. She also serves on the board of two nonprofits – LIM359 and Cycle of Hope – and is an ambassador for Skirt Sports and their REAL women move campaign. In her spare time, Emily enjoys training for triathlons, reading, and spending time with her husband, friends, and cats.

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Video transcript

One thought on “The Power of Telling Your Story: A Rooted in Rights Storyteller Reflects on Her Experience

  1. Teresa Cox says:

    Very enlightening video. I agree that all individuals who need limbs should have them, as needed/whenever needed. I am saddened that insurance causes much difficulty. I will remain more aware and do all that I can. Suggestions are welcome! Thank you.

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