Steven McCoy has made history as the first Black DeafBlind journalist. He transformed his struggles into a passion to bring awareness to disabilities and overlooked populations.
Steven McCoy’s Journey
Steven McCoy — born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, where he still lives — lost his hearing and started wearing hearing aids around the age of four or five years old. He started developing symptoms of Usher syndrome and retinitis pigmentosa shortly after he started wearing hearing aids. He and his family had not heard of either conditions. As a child, his experience was scary – more so because he was always consumed by what others thought of him. He was badly bullied, which caused him to go silent – afraid to talk and draw more attention to himself. He began to write to express his thoughts, which is how his love for writing began.
McCoy talks about how he used to take his hearing aids out or purposely lose them just to feel normal like his peers. As he got older, he started to understand that “normal” doesn’t really exist. A few years ago, his sight decreased drastically. Night blindness was a major factor. “Emotionally I became frightened and just could not imagine what life would be like,” he recalled. “I thought my life was over but truthfully it was just beginning.”
Being DeafBlind has been incredibly challenging for McCoy, especially dealing with others. He learned that developing the skills and confidence to advocate for himself helped. Being silent wasn’t making his life easier. “I had to speak up and live life on my own terms,” he said. “Over time I was so used to the cruelty of others, I didn’t realize I was being cruel to myself in many ways. I took some time to love and accept myself for who I am. Mentally and emotionally that made the challenges less complicated. I may have lost sight but never the vision.”
Being a Black DeafBlind Journalist
Despite the trials that came with his life, McCoy’s pathway to where he is now is inspiring. Early in his journey, McCoy graduated from Essex County College with an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. Following that, he graduated from New Jersey City University where he majored in Communication Media Arts with a minor in Creative Writing. Now he writes, speaks, and captures his life experiences and journey to inspire others.
His work has been published on various media platforms such as Viacom, BET Networks, and Warner Bros. He has since founded and is the owner of his own company, Spoken Entertainment. His future publications and ghost writing initiatives will be published there. McCoy has also taken the role of co-writer and co-producer for a TV show, which is yet to be named. “Between writing, producing, touring, and campaigning my hands are full,” he said, “but I love what I do and I’ve worked very hard to be where so am today. So I am truly enjoying life right now.”
McCoy also has his very own podcast, “Sessions with STEVEN,” where he not only speaks about his own life experiences, but often features guest speakers with valuable insight and lessons. His podcast is available on all streaming platforms (i.e. YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.). For accessibility, he makes all episodes available via video with captioning on YouTube for the deaf and hard of hearing. Audio only is also available.
He also has a documentary coming out soon that is based on a inside look into his journey and the story behind his podcast. He will discuss his experiences with Usher syndrome and retinis pigmentosa. There is currently no release date or details on where the documentary may be viewed – stay tuned.
Unfortunately, “there is a lot that people in the differently-abled community experience that others don’t see – especially the Black differently-abled community,” McCoy said. If anyone challenges him, he will fight with love, passion, and knowledge to make sure everyone receives fair treatment. He’s using his work and platform to do just that. Through his platform, McCoy shares his journey, while encouraging others to share theirs in hopes to increase awareness. “Change starts with conversation,” he said.
“Change starts with conversation.”
In addition to the work within his platforms, he also works within the community to create change. He is often found attending board meetings and speaking with with politicians. Currently, he’s on tour where he is actively talking to young people and adults about his journey. By being open and vulnerable about his own experiences, McCoy has opened up the door for these conversations. “I believe if you want change, it starts with you and there is work within that,” he said. McCoy shows us that when we use our own individual voices to advocate, we can create hope for the future.
Hi, my name is Danielle! I’m an Psy.D. graduate psychology student with an immense passion for writing and helping and inspiring others in any way I can. I am an anti-bullying and mental health advocate, blogger, and public speaker through my personal blog and social media campaign, “Compassionately Inspired”. I was born with a severe conductive hearing loss and hope to inspire others both in the hard of hearing and deaf community as well as the hearing community. “Everybody has a story”; that’s my motto and I hope my stories inspire you in one way or another.
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