Little people, big heart: Renay Knight wants association for ‘little people’

May 29, 2018
Renay Knight

Most persons getting out their houses to go on the street only think about what outfit or shoes to wear, but for Renay Knight, she mentally has to prepare herself to make the trek.

"If I am going to the supermarket, I have to 'arm myself' mentally she told THE STAR, adding that because of her stature she seems to always attract unwanted stares, dirty, snide remarks, and persons invading her space.

Knight recalls an incident where she was in the supermarket shopping and before she knew it, a man was in front of her video recording her activities.

"My biggest challenge with dwarfism is the fact that persons need to be sensitised. They think this condition is associated with mental retardation or it's a disability," said Knight, who started the University of the West Indies in 2014 pursuing journalism.

She said initially, she had dreams of going into medicine but changed her mind as she wanted to be an advocate for people like herself.

"I saw journalism as a better platform to advocate for people like myself to share the reality of what we are going through," she said.

Knight said Jamaica is not yet at the place where it should be in dealing with people who are different.

She said even workers in the service industry need good customer training, as she related an experience she had while taking a trip to New York.

"I was making my way on the long stretch to board the plane and I asked one of the airport workers if I could have a wheelchair, she was so rude as she told me, 'Walk, cause yuh can walk!'"

Knight said the contrast in treatment was clear as when she arrived at the JFK airport in New York, she was immediately offered a wheelchair. She said an offer was also made to take her bag.

It is for this reason that Knight said she would love to see an association formed for 'little people'.

"You have associations for (people with) autism, disabled and the deaf, but we need an outlet, too, where we can talk, and strengthen each other," she said.

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