Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week 8: When is too late?

Wow, the NCIL conference was amazing. It seemed to be like a whirlwind, high energy, high power the whole time. I got to meet many advocates I grew up admiring, like Judy Heumann,Michael Winter and Colleen Starkloff. I’ve even met some friends of old friends and mentors. Man, it was so weird speaking to many of them, as I’ve been wanting to meet them for so long, and here we are talking about sports, the disability community and the future for young people with disabilities. One thing I’ve noticed, though, about all of the leaders of disability rights advocacy movement today, is they are educators first. They want us to learn about the history that brought people with disabilities to where we are today, but not to glorify themselves, but to understand where we are today, and where we need to be. One thing I found kinda funny though, was how many people were looking for perfection for people with disabilities know. I know they know change won’t come right away, but it underscores a much larger point for our community, we aren’t building a sustainable structure for leadership, connectivity, and education. We haven’t yet developed a strong sense of community, and we haven’t expressed that at the polls, our in broader groups. We’’ve forgotten that it isn’t about the issues, as much as it is about life. Disability advocacy has always been organized around a community, and we can’t forget that. Cil’s need to go back to being community centers, and connecting with each other on a personal and relational level. All in all, the conference was amazing, as was the training from Jim Dixon. I learned so much this week.

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