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Poem by Laura Hershey: “You Get Proud By Practicing”

“You Get Proud By Practicing,” is a poem by Laura Hershey that is beloved by many in the disability community. It resonates strongly with the Disability Visibility Project.

You can read the entire poem here:

Below is a short text excerpt of the poem and you can also listen to Alice Wong recite it:


Here is a short excerpt of “You Get Proud By Practicing”  by Laura Hershey:


You do not need

a better body, a purer spirit, or a Ph.D.

to be proud.

You do not need

a lot of money, a handsome boyfriend, or a nice car.

You do not need

to be able to walk, or see, or hear,

or use big, complicated words,

or do any of those things that you just can’t do

to be proud. A caseworker

Cannot make you proud,

or a doctor.

You only need more practice.

You get proud

by practicing.

–Laura Hershey, 1991


Laura Hershey (1962 – 2010) was a Colorado-based writer, poet, activist, and consultant. Her poems and essays explore diverse topics including body, nature, community, activism, social justice,  disability rights, equitable health care, community inclusion, feminism, and nonviolence. She authored Survival Strategies for Going Abroad: A Guide for People with Disabilities, and more than 100 of her articles and essays have been published in journals, anthologies, magazines, and on websites worldwide. She earned a BA in history from Colorado College, an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Colorado College.

For more of Laura Hershey’s biography, writing and poetry, go to her website:

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