Friday, October 27, 2006

Comes The Dawn

I'm exhausted. No, I'm not just whining. I'm really tired. The good tired. The "I worked hard" tired that you feel at the end of the day.

Right now, I'm feeling hopeful.

Like the future is bright.

For the whole day, I taught a group of self advocates. They ranged in age from teens to ... well, frankly ... old. What a group. Powell River is a town that's had an active self advocacy movement for 14 years. And it shows. Really shows. The group had no difficulty in attending and participating. Learning was something that excited them - so many others I've taught have been fearful of the learning process having been taught in the past that they were 'stupid', 'dumb' or 'uneducable'. Not these folks.

The teen boys, were teen boys, rowdy, barely tamed, testosterone fueled. The teen girls, were teen girls, made of sugar and leather - sweet and tough. They spoke openly of their lives, of laughter and of difference. They all spoke of being teased and bullied, they spoke of being centered out and laughed at ... but ... here's the kicker ... they knew it was wrong. They knew it was prejudice. They knew they had disabilities and they knew they had rights. They wanted respect - for who they were.

They were articulate about the world they wanted to live in. As a group they were powerful. It isn't a stretch to see the seeds of revolution in these folks. Like minorities before them, they are discovering pride and purpose.

Mustang boys and dangerous girls can become adults who know how to face those who would oppress, who would 'know better' how they should live their lives. These kids, in a room with elders who cut the path ... who opened the doors to community living ... will ensure that the community remains, now and forever, the only option. The only place for people with disabilities to be. You will never hear those young voices echo in an institutional hallway. They're home and home with a vengence. Sure the boys smacked at each other during the presentation. Sure the girls rolled their eyes. Sure the older folks kept thinking, "Would those kids just shut up!" But me, I loved their noise ... their youth expressed so messily, so noisily, so beautifully bothersome. Bring on obnoxious teens - no more the cowed disabled. We've had enough of that. Now it's time for something very new - freedom.

Right now, I'm feeling hopeful.

I've just met the future.

And, as I live and breathe, it's bright!


Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

And the wonderful thing about this group of young self-advocates is that when asked "What is an institution" there reply was "I don't know".......

Belinda said...

I loved your imagery--"Mustang boys and dangerous girls!"

It IS a new day and a good day.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Just so as readers know, when there is a comment deleted, it is done by the author of the comment, not the author of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, sorry if I caused any confusion. I will admit to being the one that deleted the comments on the last couple of days posts. Both times my computer had signed me in automatically under a different user name that I use for some of my private blogs so deleted them and then resigned in under this one ;-)

Dave Hingsburger said...

Not to worry, bizzymom, I was just letting people know that I wasn't, and wouldn't edit or delete comments. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! Dave