Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Honest Conversation

I've been involved with a group of concerned citizens seeking to come up with strategies to stem the crisis of violence, neglect, abuse, and exploitation of developmentally disabled adults in Oregon. Our group is comprised of folks very close to the situation as well as folks who just want to see something done. I'm grateful to be a part of this work, and genuinely appreciate the work of my colleagues.

It's truly been an eye opening experience. We're actually talking about issues that for far too long have not been talked about nearly as thoroughly as they should. For me it's energizing to discuss in a group some of the very edgy points that my wife and I speak of privately daily.

This class of idividuals have been devalued throughout THE WORLD since the beginning of humanity. Sure, you here about the Shamans in a few cultures where developmentally disabled people hold a high position, but I can assure you that in a vast majority of cultures it's the opposite. In the US and Oregon, that has been the case.

Some of the coolest people I've known in my life have had developental disabilities. That's not to say some of the most uncool people I've known haven't also come from that demographic. I guess that's because people are people no matter what label has been placed on them. And the people who work for them can be equally very cool or uncool. I don't think it wise to say caregivers are all saints any more than they are all evil.

I'm just loving the honest conversation. I believe our group is on it's way to doing something that should have been done long ago. I'm proud to be a part of reforming a system badly in need of reformation. I hope the others are also proud.

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