Rae Lowery is a 39 year old professional African American woman living with albinism. After focusing on personal growth, I cofounded The Albinism Alliance Group (TAAG) at the age of 25, with two other friends and family. After a journey of 10+ years, beginning in the year 2000, it is a pleasure to share my experience in this feature story. I hope to encourage others to be more creative and follow their dreams. No matter what that means to you! Living with low vision may slow you down, but it does NOT have to stop you. I put forth an effort daily and all I can do, is try … and try again. I want to encourage others NOT to give up even when things seem impossible. Seek resources to reduce your limitations and by all means use what you have. If you can develop a natural talent, do it and monitize. If you can partner with someone and you can agree to grow together, then do it! Know your surroundings, build positive networks and soar.
Where are you from?
I am from Atlanta Georgia and graduated from high school there. Also attended college in the city, where I earned a degree in Graphic Design. I originally studied accounting in college but after working as teacher in the daycare system I rediscovered my passion for art and combined it with my love of computers to pursue a career.
What is your family dynamic?
I am the eldest of two younger sisters one with albinism and one without. My mother passed when I was 24 and my father when I was 11. I’m a big sister put in the role of the matriarch very early in life as my mother was sick a lot growing up. I’m in prayer to be an excellent mother and great wife as my immediate family expands beyond me. I am an aunt to 10 nieces and nephews. Above all else a very family oriented person who believes building family is true success.
What is your occupation?
I have spent 19 years building a career in creative services. I started out self-training with various consumer based publishing applications. I grew in my skill as the desire increased to monetize the work I loved. At that point with a bit of research I returned to college at the age of 23 to pursue associates of arts specializing in graphic design. I later furthered my education at Georgia State University and used my skill set to push beyond the traditional 9-5 setting. It is my complete desire to network with other business owners to grow my company and create employment opportunities for others besides myself.
What makes you unique or is (are) your best asset(s)?
I feel my greatest assets lie in my hope to create something better, for the next generation. As the president and cofounder of The Albinism Alliance Group (TAAG) I hope to reach out to parents seeking an opportunity to be the support their children need and guiding them through the experience of living with albinism and low vision in a positive and encouraging way. What makes me unique even in a sea of many faces like mine is my creativity. Inside of all things that are available I’ve always felt that it’s better to create what you need. I’m not sure where I learned this, but it is a part of me and what I do every day I wake up. I try to create connections in the albinism community one person at a time and I do the same in the business world as a get out there and tell people who I am and how my business can help them. Nothing is guaranteed in this life but if we try and are willing to stick with it, most times things prevail in in our favor. I am of Christian faith and I pray a lot. This helps me in my opinion, to remain grounded and keep pushing forward in life.
Are there any limitations in your life surrounding albinism (low vision limitation/skincare/other)?
Low vision plays more of a role in my life than I would like, but I utilize various tools on a day to day basis to reduce limitations in this area. As a graphic designer and the sole person working at Cre8tive Media I am responsible for getting clients, marketing to new business, accounting and administrative duties as well as completing the design work. To help me be more proficient in my work I used larger monitors, onscreen magnification and a CCTV to help me read, edit and create. Each person will have their own preference but I prefer a dimmer light and audio with my onscreen reader to help keep me on track. Being self-employed has created less stress surrounding low vision issues that come with work, but when I worked in a traditional work setting the pressure was on to produce and often it was impossible to match the production of peers with 20/20 vision, at the same rate. This create a lot of frustration and resentment at work and even while trying to earn my degree in graphic design. I was told I could not do it and was discouraged and made to feel less than, by instructors and facilitators of low vision services at the colleges I attended. Better days have prevailed and I am now working in my field and under my own terms. I am grateful for the ability to do this and it has given me a sense of independence. Can’t wait to see where this venture takes me in the next 20 years.
Do you have any advice for parents of children with albinism?
Create an environment of security for your children without sheltering them. As parents, we will be over protective sometimes but allow them the space to set their own limitations when it comes to education, career choices and challenge to share what they want to do with their, lives early on. Ask them to expand on these ideas and show them how to research and connect with resources in the field of choice. Find programs and tools to help reduce low vision issues early on to help improve their confidence. Above all else listen to them and allow them to grow in a healthy way, because one day you will not be there to guide them and you want to know that they can stand on their own two feet.