All writers want their words to have meaning to others. I tried to write something for self-advocates, in plain language. I tried to write what I thought needed to be said. So, I ended up with a page of crossed out words, filled in words and completely blotted out paragraphs. I ended up with something that I thought might work.
In Kamloops we did the new version by standing, those that could, placing hands over hearts and reciting a kind of Pledge of Allegiance to Myself. It went well. One woman cried as she said the words. Then again in Prince George, with a couple more adaptions, it went well, with line ups of people with disabilities asking for a copy. I promised to make it available to everyone. So, here it is ... feel free to use it, or not, just put my name on the bottom as author. As you read it, imagine almost 200 people with disabilities standing, hand over heart, reciting together as a collection of individuals as a united fellowship. Imagine all those voices, together ...
The Pledge of Personal Power
I am me.
There is only one me.
I am the same as everyone else.
I am different from everyone else.
Do not disrespect me.
Do not bully me.
Do not abuse me.
My body is my own.
My mind is my own.
My heart is my own.
I will stay
When I choose to, I will say 'yes'But when I need to
I will say ... No! Back Off, Leave Me Alone
I will take care of myself.
I will take care of everyone here.