|Photo Description: A Christmas tree made up of wheelchair users. Text: Merry Christmas, Thank you for supporting www.apparelyzed.com|
I was sent a link to this picture yesterday and I've come back to it several times. I, of course, checked out the link and found that it was for spinal cord injury, peer support. I also liked their tag line "enabling independence through social interaction." It's a site that clearly gets the need for disabled people to have a place and a space where it's safe to just simply 'be' without the burden that comes, so often, from care taking the feelings of the non-disabled.
Whoever designed this did a brilliant job of creating a clever image of community. The need we have, in the disability community to support one another, to support our community is still not widely acknowledged. I remember being at a conference when a speaker said that two people with disabilities had no more in common that two people with blue eyes. The speaker was trying to explain why people with disabilities shouldn't be allowed to go out in groups, or go out with each other, or be in any places where others with disabilities are. I got where he was coming from, I work with people who have been congregated and segregated simply because of their difference. But his, the blue eye guy, was a radical stance that people with disabilities really needed to be in relationships only with those without disabilities as that was and is the way to true social inclusion.
I shook that talk off quickly, particularly as Joe and I went to a gay bar afterwards. Really, is the concept of 'communities rather than community' that difficult?
So this tree, designed as it is to show something beautiful created entirely out of the lives and the support of people with disabilities - very cool.
Very cool, indeed.