Photo by Sarika Dagar
Article by Lee Kumutat
Under Bryan’s leadership, LightHouse has grown exponentially in stature, standing and staff. He oversaw the design and completion of our new state-of-the-art home in downtown San Francisco, the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition and a harmonious parity of blind and sighted staff at all levels.
But who is the man behind all these achievements? We put these seven questions to him to try to get a sense.
1. You are a self-confessed coffee fiend – how do you make your favorite cup?
I roast my own coffee, sourced from an importer in Oakland. The areas of origin change almost monthly. In the era of sheltering in place, I have a little extra morning time to froth some milk and make a double or even quad latte. My latest love: beans from a farm in Nicaragua with flavor that lingers on the tongue for a whole minute after a sip.
2. What, for you, is the best thing about being blind?
The Zen of blindness allows me to go deep, to observe more critically, not to be distracted by the superficial, and to see strategically. Having been both sighted, low vision and blind, I can say that savoring the world as a blind person is often a bit slower and can often be beautiful in rich and unexpected ways.
3. Dogs or cats?
Dogs. They are social creatures, live in the moment and care about others.
4. What is the best part of a normal day for you at the LightHouse?
Brainstorming programs and operations that never existed and working with a circle of talented and dedicated people to press the field of blindness ever farther.
5. What makes you angry?
Lost opportunities. Not fulfilling the expectations of the blind community and of our major donor Donald Sirkin to “be bold. Make a difference. Change the world.”
6. Who are your role models?
In blindness, Newel Perry, the California leader who relentlessly started a revolution of rising expectations among the blind, with the revolutionary idea that the blind could support themselves and become regular contributing members of society. This he did beginning in 1898 with ripples that are still shaking the world today.
7. If you had one wish, what would it be?
That all blind people can come to see themselves as whole, beautiful, and capable of becoming who and what they dream of.