About a month ago, I had a disappointing but eye opening conversation.
(I'm going to apologize for being somewhat vague in this post, but hopefully, you'll realize why)
You know those surveys that you are sometimes asked to take? You know, the ones that are supposed to help businesses improve? I'm sure you do.
The place I had been working asked us to do the same thing periodically. I never found them in depth enough to really convey what I thought. So, I eventually brought my ideas for improvement to a supervisor.
I sent an email and never heard back. Then I sent another and had the same experience. After the third email and several weeks went by, I forwarded them to her supervisor. I wasn't trying to start trouble, really. I felt I gave the first person more than ample time to respond and when she didn't, I moved on; plain and simple.
I feel very strongly that what I do is important. I love working with the intellectually disabled population and since I have three boys of differing abilities, I see it as absolutely imperative that progress be made in this arena.
I didn't feel that my ideas were particularly radical. What I was asking for was basically a pathway to full inclusion in recreation. After all, it is what most people want for their children and it has to be the way of the future. Segregation, even within a great model, is still segregation.
I was taken aback, to say the least, when this person I was counting on to help me take us in this direction berated me for a full thirty minutes on the phone. How dare I question the way things were done? How dare I dispute their greatness? Did I not know that we were the model for "How Things Were Done?"
I may have, at this point said that if we were the model, then that was pretty sad. I might have. Ok, I did say that, verbatim. Yes, I was talking to someone who could have fired me on the spot. I may have even hung up the phone and had her call me back. Ok, that happened too; I'm not proud of it. But, let's face it; I was pissed.
How dare she tell me that there was no room for improvement? How dare she say that there are some people who want segregation? For real? Like, really? Forever and ever amen? What?!?!?
How do we get the general population to see our citizens with intellectual disabilities as anything more than a burden, a waste of resources (read: money) as HUMAN BEINGS if they are continually separated from the rest of us?
And it's taken me a full month to realize that if this is the best that this group can do; then it is time to move on. I am not ready to settle for the "best". The best the disabled have right now SUCKS.
I am ready for a new direction, with like minded individuals. I am ready to break a new trail towards full acceptance and inclusion for my children and for all the children that come after them.
I am exasperated by those who have been on the back of the bus for so long, that they forget they are even on a bus. Don't you want more, goddamnit? I know I do.