Linda Johnson Rice Finds ‘A Guide Path and Gateway to Independence’

Linda Johnson Rice had never considered what life would be like with severely diminished sight. That was until 2020, when she started to have trouble seeing out of her right eye. Testing revealed a benign tumor pressing on her optic nerve, and subsequent treatments to remove the tumor resulted in permanent damage to the nerve and her eyesight.

Fortunately, Linda, President and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, onetime publisher of the historic Ebony and Jet magazines and now a multimedia production company, turned to The Chicago Lighthouse. “I tend to be more optimistic than pessimistic, and I can’t stay down for long. I have too many things going on in my life,” Linda says. “I knew The Lighthouse could help me function with as much independence as warranted when you are visually impaired.”

The Lighthouse’s Assistive Technology and Accessibility Manager Patrick Andrade helped Linda unlock and use the accessibility functions on her computer and smartphone, and an occupational therapist came to her home to evaluate her living space and make it more accommodating for her disability. Those adjustments included placing bump dots – raised tactile stickers – on appliances such as her microwave to indicate temperatures and settings.

Linda is grateful to The Lighthouse for giving her the tools to continue leading her family’s historic publishing company, and enjoy her many civic engagements. She serves as President of the Board Directors of The Chicago Public Library, a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, and as Co-Chair Emeritus of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C.

Looking to help others facing visual impairments, Linda learned more about the broad mission of The Lighthouse and joined our President’s Advisory Council, which provides valuable guidance to Lighthouse leadership.

“I really had to learn how to be independent again, and The Lighthouse helped me do that,” Linda says. “I want everyone to know that – within whatever limitations you have – The Lighthouse offers you a guide path and a gateway to independence.”

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