I think I am slightly in love with Stephen Fry. He has courageously signed a commitment to forgo language that demeans and diminishes people with mental illness and people with disabilities. He has courageously asked his fan base to join him. I realized when reading the article that I have never myself signed such a document. It's time. Therefore, today, I make my pledge. I imagine that Stephen Fry will never read my pledge, never know that his actions have inspired mine, but it doesn't matter. I admire those who make their convictions public. My blog is late today as I've struggled to make my pledge as authentically 'me' as possible. (For those who formally wish to sign the 'stamp out stigma pledge' just follow the link and add your name. This is a UK campaign but the campaign doesn't seem to restrict itself from world wide participants. I've signed there, and pledge myself here.)
Hand over heart:
I personally pledge, here in writing, out loud in public and in the private places within my mind an heart to speak respectfully of others. I pledge, cross my heart and hope to die, that I will work to eliminate words of hate, words intended to hurt, words that lash out at difference. I pledge, nothing up my sleeve, that I will intentionally watch what I say and take care with what I do, in order to further a sense of welcome to all, to further a sense of wholeness in my community, to further a sense of safe harbour around me. I pledge, fingers uncrossed, to apologize when I err, to forgo defensiveness when challenged, to courageously speak up when words or actions or attitudes purposely clouds the sky above me. I pledge freely. I pledge with full heart. I pledge with intention. I expect to err, and err and err again, but less, and less, and less. I love language. I love community. Therefore I need to be intentionally loving. I need to be intentionally caring. I need to be intentionally vigilant.
I pledge to be the person that I want to meet on the street.
I pledge to be the action that I need when in distress.
I pledge to be the attitude that I need when daring to be public and different.
Here forth begins a renewed commitment to journey into growth.
This pledge is so timely for me and my colleagues who are about to start a fantastic project, dedicated to supporting the creation of Brilliant Lives for people with Learning Disabilities and their friends, families and community networks. We already have a quality policy that promises a high standard of attention to the language we use... this feels like the level we need to stretch to. Thank you as always for being a voice that helps others find theirs. x
I love Stephen Fry! I think I remember reading that he has had some problems with mental illness himself.
I 'follow' Stephen Fry on Twitter and have sent him a link to your blog. I have a lot of respect for both of you for the work you do to help promote disabled people both in your private and public lives. :)
Thank you for helping me learn. :)
Thank you Dave, I will pledge as well.
Thanks for writing about this today Dave. I just signed the petition online.
I love Stephen Fry....especially his Qi program.
Love Linda (LinMac)
Still no sign of the sweets yet!
Did you see this, Dave?
Dave, I really like this pledge and am thinking about how to write a version for myself. Thanks for sharing!
What a fabulous pledge!
I am pledge # 152,217. (If I remember correctly.)
I'm a little overzealous - subtract 100,00. I'm # 52,217. But the list is growing... and I trust will soon be 152 thousand. :)
Excellent speech you linked to there, Jane. I recognize him now, he played a psychoanalyst on one of my favorite shows, "Bones". I agree with what he said in that speech, very much.
I wish he gave a definition of what words are considered hurtful.
I also wish the pledge wasn't as focused on words, and more on the ideas behind them. After all, I know a guy who is offended by the word 'retarded', and calls himself a 'slow learner', even though the literal meaning of those terms is pretty much identical. It's not the words themselves, clearly, but how they've been used, what associations they've developed. And simply changing words won't prevent the same associations transferring over.
What do you think about adding some more pictures? No offence, page is really nice. But as I’ve heard humans acquire information much more efficient if they see certain helpful pictures.
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