Ofelia Zapata


As interviewed by Zachary Walgren, March 8, 2014
"Eventually, I couldn’t see anymore. I couldn’t read my papers; I couldn’t dictate letters. I just couldn’t do my job. My boss caught on, seeing all of my mistakes, and she was going to fire me."
Ofelia Zapata

Introductory Profile: About Ofelia Zapata

My interviewee’s name is Ofelia Zapata. I came to meet her when I went with my grandmother to an Austin Interfaith meeting. She is a good friend of my grandmother and an active member of her community. She grew up in Amarillo, Texas with her widowed mother, three brothers, and four sisters. She is legally blind, which I had not realized until I had started to conduct the interview.

Because of her disability, the interview took an unexpected turn, but it was ultimately much more interesting. I had intended the interview to be about various forms of ethnic discrimination, but she seemed less interested in that and was more talkative about her blindness. She went on to talk about how she was nearly fired from her job as a government secretary when her boss found out she was blind. We also discussed the anxiety of having a disability, and she also explained her deep involvement in Austin Interfaith. I enjoyed the interview because it opened up a new and unfamiliar topic which I had not prepared for and for which I had to improvise.