Right now. That's right now. I'm sitting in a presentation room writing my blog. Around me are several agencies which have come together to set up a 'peer training' model of abuse prevention. Teams constructed of two people with disabilities who are trainers and one support person as helper are meeting and working out the details of how they will work together.
To me, this day marks a new beginning. Up until now I have trained trainers to train people with disabilities - those trainers have been almost without exception non-disabled staff people. This is the first time where the trainers learning the training will be people with disabilities. There is an excited buzz in the room as the groups are talking about the roles and the responsibilities involved in the work. As I listen to the voices in the room I hear, as the dominant voice, those with disabilities.
A new day, a new way.
This idea is not mine, I was brought in to help with it. They have taken what I've given and run with it ... really really far. It's exciting to see and exciting to be part of. This kind of transfer of power and transfer of responsibility is a long time coming. And, really, it shouldn't have taken this long.
After all, weren't we supposed to be teaching and supporting people towards self determination and self reliance. Why, then, does this seem so radical to me? Why, then does this surprise so many? All the way along the committee that pulled this together was comprised of both care providers and care recipients. Over time that committee has become a unified group, with a common vision erasing or at least muting the boundaries between - all voices were valued, all voices heard. There has been disagreement and there has been discussion. We all grew as part of the process.
It led to this day.
Thirty five people, mostly those with disabilities, are here learning. Some how to lead, Some how to not lead. Lessons, they both are, in strength. It takes strength to lead. It takes strength to hold back. I'm proud to be here, quietly writing my blog, in a room where change is happening.
And I am quiet.
Others are talking.
A new day, a new way.