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Disability Brings Us Together
As we come upon election time I have multiple opportunities throughout the day to hear what sets us apart as different represented groups. During these turbulent times, I cherish and relish our community of artists, contributors, leaders, survivors even more because of what brings us all together: Disability, or differing ability as we say at the College of Adaptive Arts.
My personal experience in the world of disability began when I was one year old when my sister was born with Down syndrome. I believe my family was thrust into a different realm or paradigm trying to meet her needs. It’s the only world I’ve ever known, and I love and adore the path I walk each day and the most awesome people I have encountered.
My network of friends, family, supporters, and contributors include leaders on the far right who are ultra-conservative to citizens on the far left who would be considered generously liberal. I have friends and colleagues who are very religious, and others in my close networks who are not religious at all. I cross paths each day with persons of very high independent wealth and persons who struggle for enough money to manage transportation, rent, & food. I have had the privilege of working with the most awesome people from all over the world, including China, Mexico, Israel, Japan, Venezuela, Iran, Argentina, Serbia, France, Italy & India. I have dear friends who are gay, straight, and transgender.
The most beautiful part of my network is that I love and cherish them all very dearly, primarily because our underlying bond is that we are and/or love someone very much who happens to have a disability. I sincerely believe that Disability brings out the best in us as human beings. For me, the highest determining factor to be in my network is: Will you help me support my loved one in need, and can I be a support to you to help you with your loved one? I know parents everyday who work the entire day to keep their child alive. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the daily obstacles that families face to support their loved ones, and it leaves me so inspired to see how these families live with integrity, grace, and humanity.
It seems so easy and effortless to me to befriend someone of a different race, economic group, political party when I know that person sincerely loves and believes in my loved one. I do the same for all of the awesome people I meet with disabilities who are in a different ‘group’ than myself. It doesn’t matter; what matters is Love, and love comes so easily through the bond of ‘Disability.’ That gives me such hope in humanity. Thank you, Angel, and to all of the amazing individuals I have met with disabilities, for allowing me to be a better person and giving me the privilege of meeting the best network of friends and supporters in the world.