There is an agency I have visited, every now and then, over many years. They have a wall that honours people who have given, materially and financially, as one often sees in non-profit organisations. There is a spot on the wall, however, that is a permanent mark of gratitude to three women, who came together, and formed the agency many years ago. Women who fought for community before community was conceived. Women who's desire to have their children receive quality education and training in their home communities ran counter to the dictates of the time. The institution called but these women, their husbands and their families, did not answer.
It's like this everywhere I go. Organisations founded by women, who would not see their child taken from them.
I work in a movement founded by the love of mothers.
Not the gentle caring love that you see on commercials.
But fierce love.
Love that took action.
Love that would not be denied, would not be diverted and would not be shamed.
Love that, in the hands of women, built buildings, built services, built a future for their children.
Love that, in the minds of women, stared down doctors, stared down social workers, stared down anyone who would take a pen and write their child's name in the margins.
Love that, in the souls of women, created a new language about disability, about possibility and about hope.
Love that created a movement, a civil liberties movement, for the freedom of their children with disabilities.
Gentle loving mothers on commercials belie the fact that there is power in that love.
Power to transform.
From someone who works in a field established and created by women, mothers, who loved their children. I honour all those who are not named on walls, not honoured on plaques. I pledge to remember that you wanted your child treated with respect and with compassion. I pledge, in your honour, to try every day.