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Legally Blind Yonkers High School Student To Take Stage

Gorton High School junior Kiara Ray is set to perform in the Harlem production of "We Are!" through Nov. 23.
Gorton High School junior Kiara Ray is set to perform in the Harlem production of "We Are!" through Nov. 23. Photo Credit: Courtesy Gorton High School

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Gorton High School junior Kiara Ray, who is legally blind, is set to take the stage in her debut at Harlem's Dempsey Theater in the musical production "We Are!"

"We Are!" runs through Saturday, Nov. 23 at the Dempsey Theater, 127 West 127th Street in New York City. Kiara was born with Albinism, a defect in melanin production during the early stages of development, causing little or no color pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, according to the release.

“Being on stage, with the cast that I’m with - there’s just so much talent in that one place, and it’s a really great experience,” said Kiara in the release. “The character that I’m playing has an attitude towards Albinism. She’s very defensive and I can relate to that. When you have Albinism, you have something else to set you apart on top of what kids are going to pick on you for. It’s refreshing to have an outlet and also just to get the message across about Albinism because a lot of people haven’t heard about it.”

Representatives said Ray "embraces her disability as a challenge rather than a limitatition" in the show, according to a press release.

"Because of her Albinism, Kiara is legally blind, with functional vision," representatives said in the release, noting that she is remaining focused on achieving her goals.

“Kiara is extremely talented with a strong spirit. Her visual disability hasn’t deterred her from following her dreams,” said teacher Marlene Spetrillo in the press release.

“With grace and confidence, Kiara embraces life, overcomes obstacles and achieves impressive results,” said Gorton High School Principal Gail Joyner-White in the release.

"With a passion for the stage, Kiara auditioned for 'We Are!' a new musical produced by Harlem’s Gospel for Teens program and earned a coveted role," representatives said in the release. "During the performance, young actors narrate real life stories depicting the struggles teens experience in every day life while the teen gospel choir showcases the healing power of music. Kiara personifies her own journey, playing the role of Delilah Jean, a teen with Albinism."

For more information on the show, residents are asked to visit the Mama Foundation website .

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