We took a trip to Gloucester Massachusetts yeterday, where the excellent films ‘The Perfect Storm’ and ‘CODA’ where filmed.

The weather was bright, but chilly and the scenery was idyllic. 

The film CODA is one of my all time favourites. The story is of a hugely talented singer, played excellently by Emilia Jones (the hugely talented daughter of Aled Jones – the singer and presenter) and her profoundly deaf family. The girl has to negotiate her way through life, juggling school and running the family fishing business, as she is the only one who can hear. She is the CODA – Child Of Deaf Adults.

There is a scene when she is in a school concert, singing emotionally to rapturous applause, and her family, who are in the audience, are none the wiser. They simply do not have a clue about their daughters brilliance.

Turn that around. Nobody in the room, except the girl, knows what living with that family and their disabilities is about. They really do not have a clue. A disability is personal and unique to the individual who has it. That person can decide to celebrate or curse it accordingly. Probably a bit of both at different times in their lives

Troy Kotsur who played the girls father won a best supporting actor Oscar for CODA, only the second deaf person to have ever done so. The first was on many years ago by Marlee Maitlin, who played the mother in CODA. 

Sadly, Troy’s fantastic achievement was overshadowed by the shenanigans of Will Smith and Chris Rock, posturing for the audience

The Country singer, Chris Stapleton took the stage of the Superbowl shortly after the Oscars in Glendale, Arizona to perform the U.S. National Anthem. The singer-songwriter’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” was emotional and inspiring.

However, the moment that took the night was when Troy Kotsur performed the anthem using American Sign Language (ASL). Although the game has had ASL interpreters performing alongside the main artist, this is the first time it was done by an Oscar Winner, performing in his home town.

There is nothing we can’t achieve. It just takes some of us to find a different way to get the job done.

Have a thought about this. How many times have you mentally picked holes in someone’s disability, because you were unaware of what they are going through, or the condition they are in? If you are disabled, have you felt unwelcome or apart in a situation. My question to both sides here is – What could you have done to make the situation better? Could you have talked to someone away from the crowd, could you have offered a little more help?  Every minority group has to go through this. It is up to us to try a little harder, each and every time, and make it a little better, each and every time.

Ian ‘Ianto’ Gravell is a disabled businessman, author and adventurer.

When he is not working, or writing he is riding his motorcycle to exciting places around the world.

Keep tabs on his adventures by reading his blog, newsletter and book – Loose Gravel – Broken Bones, Broken Dreams made good on a Broken Road


Keep up to date

Sign up to our newsletter