This past weekend, disabled artist Joni Eareckson Tada was honored with the prestigious Wilberforce Award in Lansdowne, Virginia.
The award is named for William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian who fought for 26 years to abolish slavery in Great Britain. He finally succeeded with the passage of the Slave Trade Act in 1807.
Joni was selected for the award because -- like Wilberforce – she has persevered and sacrificed to fight social injustice and to transform culture.
Following a paralyzing diving accident in 1967, Joni’s faith helped her to persevere and become a successful artist using her mouth to paint and draw.
The publication of her story in the book “Joni” led to an outpouring of response from others impacted by disability and in need of encouragement.
She founded “Joni and Friends” in 1979 and for 30 years she has worked to minister to the disability community.
Chuck Colson says this about Joni, “She is a defiant, inspirational, joy-filled rebuttal to those who would assault the sanctity of human life.”
I had the opportunity to work with Joni several years ago, and Chuck’s description is “spot on.” She truly is a remarkable woman.
If you’d like to learn more about Joni’s ministry to the disabled, you can visit her website at www.Joni and Friends.org.
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.