Ms. Rae Lowrey
Raletha “Rae” Lowery is a 34 year old entrepreneur and co-founder/president of The Albinism Alliance Group (TAAG). A native Georgian born and raised in the city of Atlanta, started Cre8tive Media Design Firm in 1997 and co-founded the social advocacy group for persons with albinism and their families in 2003. You can visit the virtual office of Cre8tive Media at www.cre8tivemedia.net.
I am the older of two sisters one with albinism and one without. We were raised in a single parent home where my parents divorced when I was four. My family was not very closed knit and each of us sisters did our own things, had our own friends and went separate ways. We lived in an area that wasn’t thriving but one where people did the best they could. The demographics were predominantly black families with 2+ children, teenage pregnancy was a all time high, and black on black crimes was rampant. Growing up with AB I didn’t look like my peers and I was made to understand this as far back as preschool. This helped me develop a tough skin, but also virtually impaired my ability to socialize. My mother was a strong black woman who did everything in her power to push us beyond the point she made it to in life. She wanted us to think outside of the box and was big supporter in my dream of owning a business. Sadly she passed away in March of 2000. In memory of my mother and father I became the matriarch of my immediate family and took the role seriously. I supported myself by teaching pre-k as a substitute teacher and as a freelance artist for about 10 years. As adults my sisters and I become closer after losing both our parents. We lived together and supported each other.
I am a firm believer in leading by example and worked hard to create a foundation that would not only lift me up but also the people around me. I returned to college at the age of 25 to study graphic design and earned my degree in March of 2003. With the desire to create jobs and share my creative talent with the world I pushed into self employment for the fifth year. By 2006 the fruits of my labor and all that supported me seem to blossom! These were exciting times. By then I had attended my first Noah Conference, started TAAG, and gotten my first government contract and paycheck. By 2006 the economy started to change and I to transition back into the work force. It was very competitive and my visual limitations became more and more apparent to me. The harder I worked the more it seemed that things were easier for my sighted co-workers and this really began to affect my mood. I was subject to discrimination on more than one occasion with the right to work inspite of my visual limitations, the right to earn and education in this same light and more surprisingly made to feel like an imposter because I am African American with white skin…. Go figure? I had a difficult time changing my outlook on life as a result of the hardships endured inspite of my wanting better for myself. I felt small and all efforts seemed futile. It took someone special to make me see that my efforts in the past were not the last stop in life and that it was okay to want something different now. Truly I don’t feel as strong as I once was, but I do feel that I have gained a support network that I can depend on. As a result I consciously made an effort to become a people person and pushed myself to interact, so that I became approachable. This forever changed my life! In 2010 as the president of The Albinism Alliance Group, I used this platform to share my story and educate others on resources to keep them from aware of challenges that come along with low vision and the competitive workforce.
With the support of Demetria Lowery and efforts of Lee G. Edwards, TAAG has grown from a modest 3 members to well over 300+ supporters around the world! With the availability of social networking with Yahoo Groups, Facebook Groups and Facebook Causes, the organization has continued to be a positive support for and of persons with albinism everywhere. The Albinism Alliance Group has partnered with the Center for the Visually Impaired’s Begins Babies with Albinism and STARS program for mentoring. We have also partnered with local chapters of The National Federation of the Blind, “NFB of Ga” to create albinism awareness by educating the community about diversity, promoting ways to reduce visual limitations and creating self sufficiency through employment training for persons with disabilities.
As a member of the low vision community and major supporter for disability advocacy I am also a graduate of Lions World Services for the Blind, LWSB (www.lwsb.org) through the assistance of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Georgia Department of Labor.” Successful completion of this program afforded me and others in my position an opportunity to work for the federal government and live life more independently”. As a tax examiner for the Internal Revenue Service I have been able to start a career and set financial goals which uplift me. Since coming to work for IRS I have also been afforded the opportunity to utilize my creative skills to enhance my department’s presentations and build a solid foundation doing something that I really love.
In my spare time I am taking every opportunity to better myself and encourage others! I connect with in other albinism support groups such as the Steel City Albinism Group, Real Talk Radio and Noah, to build a solid foundation for sharing resources and creating events that keep us connected outside of the internet! “I truly believe united we stand and divided we fall”. So, join me and The Albinism Alliance Group as we continue to celebrate the beauty of albinism!