I think I am slightly in love with Stephen Fry. He has courageously signed a commitment to forgo language that demeans and diminishes people with mental illness and people with disabilities. He has courageously asked his fan base to join him. I realized when reading the article that I have never myself signed such a document. It's time. Therefore, today, I make my pledge. I imagine that Stephen Fry will never read my pledge, never know that his actions have inspired mine, but it doesn't matter. I admire those who make their convictions public. My blog is late today as I've struggled to make my pledge as authentically 'me' as possible. (For those who formally wish to sign the 'stamp out stigma pledge' just follow the link and add your name. This is a UK campaign but the campaign doesn't seem to restrict itself from world wide participants. I've signed there, and pledge myself here.)
Hand over heart:
I personally pledge, here in writing, out loud in public and in the private places within my mind an heart to speak respectfully of others. I pledge, cross my heart and hope to die, that I will work to eliminate words of hate, words intended to hurt, words that lash out at difference. I pledge, nothing up my sleeve, that I will intentionally watch what I say and take care with what I do, in order to further a sense of welcome to all, to further a sense of wholeness in my community, to further a sense of safe harbour around me. I pledge, fingers uncrossed, to apologize when I err, to forgo defensiveness when challenged, to courageously speak up when words or actions or attitudes purposely clouds the sky above me. I pledge freely. I pledge with full heart. I pledge with intention. I expect to err, and err and err again, but less, and less, and less. I love language. I love community. Therefore I need to be intentionally loving. I need to be intentionally caring. I need to be intentionally vigilant.
I pledge to be the person that I want to meet on the street.
I pledge to be the action that I need when in distress.
I pledge to be the attitude that I need when daring to be public and different.
Here forth begins a renewed commitment to journey into growth.