Amy Wright is 2017 CNN Hero of the Year
Wright advocates for people with disabilities
She employs dozens of people with physical and intellectual challenges at her coffee shop
“My children are not broken,” Amy Wright insists.
Most parents don’t have to declare their children’s fundamental value, but after two of 2017 CNN Hero of the Year Amy Wright’s kids were born with Down syndrome, it was clear that she would have to back them up every step of the way.
“When you become a parent of a child with special needs, you are instantly thrust into becoming an advocate,” Wright explained. “Trying to make people see the beauty in their lives that we see.”
Wright’s advocacy took the form of a coffee shop. She opened Bitty & Beau’s Coffee in January 2016, named for her two children.
On Sunday, it was clear that Wright, Bitty, Beau and the 40 disabled employees at the Wilmington, North Carolina, shop have an army of supporters.
Wright was named the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for her efforts to advocate for disabled people. The award is determined by online voters who selected Wright from among the top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.
Wright will receive $100,000 to grow her cause. All of the top 10 CNN Heroes for 2017 will receive a $10,000 cash award. Donations made to each of their designated nonprofit organizations are also being matched up to $50,000.