Stand Up and Value Others
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is my favorite holiday. It’s a time to remember that words and actions have power; a time to reflect on why we perceive people in categories of “us” and “them.” It’s a time for hope when we realize that, though we still place less value on “others,” that can change. My family reads MLK’s “I have a Dream” and Letters from a Birmingham Jail every year to connect the past to the present to the future.
Stand up for your rights… speak out against injustice…
I believe Aidan has been greatly valued and treated well even by people in the periphery of his life. However, people with disabilities are still considered to be “them” not “us,” the abled-bodied or neuro-typicals. People tell me I’m his voice and as I feel the weight of that, I’m reconsidering the truth of it. As Aidan’s mom, I can and will continue to speak up for what I believe he needs and deserves; I will tell you what I think he likes and enjoys; but that is my voice and opinion, not his. While I’m the best option for communication he’s got, he doesn’t truly have a voice.
Stand up for your rights…speak out against injustice…
We celebrate these convictions today and invoke the names of great Civil Rights leaders to remember. And in this house?….standing is victory. Bearing your own weight, standing tall on your own two feet, preparing to move under your own power. Independence is celebrated while dependence is necessary. It seems that we may be missing something in this Civil Rights struggle; yes it’s about the abuse of power and the discrepancy of who has power. Does all of that lead to separation and isolation and an entirely different kind of “othering,” or is there something to be learned from here in the middle?
Aidan cannot stand without me. This crazy mix of power and dependence works because it is bound together by the valuing of another. Finding value seems to be a great place to start when using your words and actions.
Shared at Ellen Stumbo