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Themes: Assistive Technology

Interview with Brandon Winfield

Colour profile image of Paul Ntulila

Paul Ntulila

Assistant Project Manager

Black Disabled Innovator interview during National Inclusion Week

Introduction

An insight into the world of innovation from a disabled black innovator’s perspective.

We will delve into the world of identity and explore if this has a positive effect on their work. We will also look at discrimination and disabled black people in the workplace.

Through the panel answering questions, we will gain understanding of what they have experienced, the struggles they have faced and the successes they have won.

Brandon's background

In 2008, Brandon Winfield (he/him) was injured in a motocross accident that left him with a thoracic spinal cord injury (paralyzed from the waist down). Only 14 years old at the time, he continued his love for racing in the form of four wheels, entered sprint kart racing, and won numerous events across the country. As he traveled, he realized that although some places he visited were compliant according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many were never forced to retrofit to accommodate the mobility impaired.

These experiences sparked the idea for iAccess, a mobile app that would allow people with disabilities to rate and review the accessibility of venues.

Since the app’s launch on iOS and Android platforms in April 2019, they have amassed over 3000 unique locations rated in over 45 states and 25 countries.

Outside of this work, Brandon has served on numerous panels highlighting the importance of accessibility.

This short interview consists of 5 questions.

How visible are you as a disabled black person?

I like to believe I am very visible. I am not shy about going out and love being a part of the community. Follow our youtube channel and check out our Vlogs.

Have you encountered any discrimination or positive reactions?

The positive reactions out number the negative ones so much that I don't really remember any encounters with discrimination.

What support did you need and how have you progressed? Do you use any assistive technology products?

I had great moral support from my family and friends. Everything else was left up to me and how I approached life/business. I feel like I've progressed to a better understanding of who I am and how I react. I have meditation to thank for that and I want to encourage everyone that can, to meditate as well.

The only assistive technology I use is iAccess Life, to help me find a new bar, restaurant or place to hang out with friends!

What do you know now that you wish you had known before and what advice do you have for the next generation of disabled innovators?

I wish I knew how much self-love and accountability can really shape your future for the better. Once you learn to love yourself and believe you deserve success and prosperity, you will be unstoppable. My advice is to listen to your body, don't over do it and burn yourself out. We all progress at different rates, don't compare your progress to others.

Has COVID19 brought more challenges or successes and how have you had to adapt or change the way you operate?

I think it has brought challenges that have allowed us to get creative and develop new strategies for success.

Man sitting in a wheelchair in the Here East building