(Trigger warning-violence against disabled/links)
Last night I reminded my almost 7 year old that he didn’t have school today. When he asked why, I told him it was Martin Luther King’s birthday, and he had the day off to recognize Dr. King. To the next “why” I replied, because he was someone who fought for equal rights. “Why did someone shoot him?” he asked (they talked about this in a very basic way in Kindergarten last year). Because they were evil and mean, I said, and afraid. Some people think that by giving others equality, they lose something. That makes them scared and angry. When people are afraid, sometimes they get VERY afraid, and they do mean, evil things. Those people are wrong.
Today, I read a post that moved me, made me angry and sad. I am white, in my 40’s, and from the north. I never experienced this, thank goodness. The closest I came to this was when some jerk in a car yelled the n-word at a black friend (from Zaire, Africa) as we walked across our college campus. I let the college newspaper know, because as the saying goes, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Dr. King gave us the tools to do something.
I read another post that made me wish we had a Dr. King of Disability Rights. Many people respect, help, support and love the disabled. They see the person for who they are, and they deal with the disability. But there is a dark side to how the disabled are treated – or rather, mistreated. I’m sure we’ve all heard of horror stories of bullying, police brutality, etc.
Then there are the stories of mistreatment/torture, attempted murder, and murder of the disabled by their own families – and sadly, what seems to follow is an outpouring of sympathy for the PERPETRATOR, rather than the victim.
We are one accident or illness away from becoming disabled ourselves. We, as a society, must learn to understand, protect, and support the most vulnerable members of our society. To do any less is a crime. To see and treat those who are not “just like us” as less than human, less worthy of care, respect, justice – regardless of color, gender, physical impairment – diminishes us all.
I have a dream: ―
“I Have a Dream… someday my son, Zyon and ALL individuals with disabilities will be seen as HUMAN beings.
I Have a Dream… someday the human & civil rights of individuals with disabilities are honored and they are treated as equals.
I Have a Dream… someday ALL parents who have children with disabilities see their child as a blessing and not a burden.
I Have a Dream… someday there will be more jobs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
I Have a Dream… someday there will be UNITY “within” the disabled community.
I HAVE A DREAM!!!”