Raising Dion is a television series about a young superhero that premiered last month on Netflix. It’s based on a comic book and short film of the same name by Dennis Liu. The story is about a widowed mother who is raising her nine-year-old son Dion, who has superhero powers. Throughout the series, Nicole tries to manage her son’s powers as he is unable to control it.
Dion’s best friend, Esperanza (played by Sammi Haney), is a full-time power chair user (In real life and series) and knows about Dion’s powers. Her character is wise, confident and becomes an important part of Dion’s life in ways he doesn’t always realise.
I think the series is great because it allows Esperanza to be a kid without painting her disability as a negative aspect of her life which, quite often happens in shows with disabled characters. I also like that the series has positive representations of the LGBT community, disability and race.
'I hope that more poeple with disabilities get on TV shows. You need to put yourselves out there. Do it' - Sammi Haney
Dennis Liu said that she created the story because she “wanted to see more diverse representation on film and television” in her recent guardian interview. She continued to say that “Now more than ever, we need stories told from different points of view. At one point, Dion is racially profiled by his teacher, which painfully forces Nicole to explain to Dion what racism is. Later, Dion floats Esperanza out of her chair without asking, a moment of casual ableism he’s later educated on”.
We sent some questions to Sammi Haney who plays Esperanza and she kindly sent us back a video talking about what it’s like being on a set as well as the importance of her wheelchairs.
Raising Dion is available to stream on Netflix now