Saturday, April 19, 2008

Illinois H.R. 4537 :: "Voices" Sprouting Up All *OVER* The Place..

Too cool to find this just now even as, alack and a[bit of bad]luck, I could not attend the latest Georgia Voices That Count initial self-advocacy training weekend down in Atlanta.. Activities during this first weekend normally include sensitive, fragile self-disclosure along with visits to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center, his birth home, and the National Park Services' Ebenezer Baptist Church..

This remains my favorite of the Georgia Voices That Count curriculum (and why I go back whenever I can to help speed up the process for others) because I will never forget how lonely I was until that weekend.......

How still lonely feeling and by that time bordering on, hm, how about "overwhelmed" that Saturday morning as Georgia Voices #3 quietly ate breakfast at the hotel then gathered to head out on a short road trip down to the King Center.......

How still very lonely as, one by one, classmates whose Life stories I yet not knew were secured into the wheelchair lift that took them upstairs while excruciatingly silent others waited for their turn.......

How yet lonelier still as I found my solo seat in the very, very, very back of the church as others scattered themselves out each singly elsewhere around, nervously smiling at each other should our eyes all meet..

And then.......

This absolute most amazing flood of warmth, connectivity, camaraderie came over me as I looked out across all those, to that moment, strangers radiating all around before me..

From one heartbeat to the next, I realized I was finally where I was supposed to be.. That all the pain and Lifetime movie-esque Life adventures had been leading up to that very moment in Time..

And now, while I do look back and draw desperately on those so very painful experiences to drive the disability self-advocacy that empowers these fingertips, I can accept that Pain for the learning experiences it all has been..

Because I'm no longer alone in that Pain.. I will, instead, forever forward now have the strength, support, and fellowship that comes from Georgia Voices supplying the Wind beneath these Life-worn Wings..

Wow.. Hm. Where [the.......] did that all come from..? :grin, blush:

Back on track she goes: The real reason I started to type was because of savoring the moment of finding the following story out of Illinois just now while my Mind is constantly running backwards guessing what the newest Georgia Voicers are likely doing each very second today, just before they themselves find that same beyond descript flood of emotion overtake them, too:

Several self advocates from Paris joined others from around Illinois to testify before the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee on House Bill 4537 (HB4537), a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Flider (Decatur) which would require Illinois public schools to provide curriculum on Disability History.

The testimony included stories of bullying and discrimination toward persons with disabilities by school classmates.

The group involved is called.......

Illinois Voices.. Self-advocacy training for persons with developmental disabilities..

Yay.. Way to go, Fellow Voicers..!

And to my own newest up and coming group of Georgia Voices That Count colleagues, WHO LOVES YOU, BABY..?! All your fellow classmates before you, THAT'S WHO..!

Cyber hugs from Talking Rock..

United In Advocacy..!

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