Our time here in DC is quickly winding to a close. There are only two weeks left and I just keep wondering how it went by quite so quickly. I wish the summer could stretch out a little longer so I could have more time. More time with friends and fellow interns, more time at my internship, and more time learning from AAPD and the disability community. More time in this city that I’ve come to love.
This past week was the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While there are ways in which we still have a long way to go, the change between twenty-two years ago and now is pretty amazing. I am part of a generation of people with disabilities who have grown up with greater rights, greater access, and greater justice because of the ADA. I am now part of a generation that will hopefully see the United States ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) which will carry the promise of the ADA and other US laws to other countries. I am a part of a generation that understands and will carry a message of disability pride into our society. Organizations like AAPD and programs like their Summer Internship Program help spread that message.
People talk about the promise of a generation. As a generation that has had access to greater rights and opportunities, we also have greater expectations for the future and that is a wonderful thing. We should have high expectations. I only hope that they will not only be met, but exceeded.
While I am sad to be leaving soon, I am looking forward to carrying all that I have learned this summer home to my family, back to school, and into my communities. I have big dreams because of this summer. I am so used to teaching myself to be realistic that I haven’t allowed myself to dream this big or hope this much in a long time. More than anything else, this summer has given me so much pride and so much hope.