I left Yogyakarta early in the morning and flew in to the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Jakarta is the capitol of Indonesia and the U.S. Embassy is located there. It is a beautiful and busy city. We checked into the hotel quickly as I had an upcoming press conference and presentation located at @Aa, the facility adjacent to the hotel, run by the Embassy.
@America is the US Embassy beautiful state of the art cultural center where you can learn about America. They have exhibits, performances competitions, films, and programs to experience everything about the US. It is fantastic with a large auditorium; this is where I spoke.
First, the Embassy arranged a press conference with five reporters, which was exciting. After I told my personal story, we talked about the stigma and shame that exists in Indonesia toward Indonesians with disabilities. I also told them that by writing about the dismal situation they would help to shed light on the plight of those people. I hope they write something about the deplorable lack of opportunity.
I then went to the auditorium to speak for about 40 minutes to an audience of people with disabilities. I could not believe how attentive the audience was as I told my personal story. I challenged them to get disability rights groups started and told them about Justin Dart, I. King Jordan, and ADAPT. By the time I was finished, I had the entire audience chanting “Lead On!”
The front row was filled with young people from the deaf community, and they talked about the American who really impacted them—Leah Katz-Hernandez! They idolize Leah and they were thrilled she worked at the White House. I met more than one deaf person who knew Leah and love her. I cannot wait to see her at the next AAPD board meeting and tell her everything.
We said goodbye to Jed and got ready to meet the new delegates the next day. The US State Department has been wonderful to Mary and I on this trip. We look forward to meeting Caroline tomorrow and move on to the island of Sumatra.