We are having lasagna for dinner tonight.
This is how we are going to celebrate the International Day of Disabled Persons.
On Friday, last, we were with a group of self advocates who have become abuse prevention trainers. It was a day to celebrate, a day to refresh ourselves on our purpose and our mission. It was a great day, laughter and learning, community and communion, difference and diversity. One of the fellows who was doing a demonstration of his training style was someone new to me. With excitement I came to realize that he is part of the second wave. A new trainer - someone trained to be a trainer by trainers with disabilities. I had done the original training. I had not trained this man. He was awesome. Seeing this happen was, there is no other word, a blessing.
At lunch we had lasagna. Joe and I are very finicky about lasagna. We make a really, really, good one. Exactly to our taste, flavourful and rich. We tucked in to our serving and found that it rivalled our own. It was amazing. As it turned out, shortly after we both had remarked, one to the other, that it was really good, the young trainer appeared and asked us what we thought of the lasagna. We told him it was awesome. He then told us that he had helped make it. He works at a restaurant helping out with pretty much everything, a job he loves, and he had helped make the food provided for our lunch that day.
There was some left over and we were given it to take home. We put it aside in the fridge. We're having it tonight.
There was a time when people with intellectual disabilities didn't train trainers.
There was a time when people with intellectual disabilities didn't have jobs to brag about.
There was a time when the talents of people with intellectual disabilities were as caged as they were - behind institution walls and the low expectations of others.
After dinner we are going to a big disability event where we will gather and celebrate and give honour to those who have provided leadership and vision and direction to the disability movement. We aren't going to the dinner, because we have plans, but we're going to the celebration afterwards. I want to be there and be part of MY COMMUNITY. I want to be refreshed and inspired. I can't wait.
I know we have far to go.
I know we have much to do.
I know we have barriers to knock down.
But today, I choose celebrate who we are and who we are becoming. We need more celebration. I need more celebration.
I hope you all, wherever you are, mark this day in the way you need ...
in determination ...
the day is as individual as we all are. I just wish I could share a bite of my lasagna with each one of you, it would take a big lasagna but I've met a guy who's up for making a batch or two more.