Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Not Acceptable...

I've been saying this from day one and using these same examples so it provided tremendous validity to see the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign bring it to life, especially using the actors on the super hit Glee! I hope this helps make the masses really "get it" -- Bravo!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Take the Pledge!

March 2nd has become "Spread the Word to End the Word" day (sign the petition via this link) in the disability community -- with the hopes of making the use of the word "retard" unacceptable and creating a world free of prejudice against those with intellectual disabilities. Stand with us by taking the pledge to eliminate the "r-word" from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities, like Lucas.

I get crazy when people turn this movement into an argument about people's "freedom of speech" -- the way I see it, it's a choice...sure you can use that language, but we need to get to a place where society finds it unacceptable to do so. We've done it before with other words used to put down and belittle people because of race, religion, sexual orientation, and now disability -- because basically, we can't help the way we were born! We all are what we are, and it's time we started looking past the differences and instead focused on all the things we have in common and bring us together.

I was reflecting today on the last time I heard someone say the word "retard" and I'm happy to report, it's been a while. I don't know if it's because I've managed to train all those around me not to use it or if it's because a new awakening is really taking hold and civilized people are now cognizant of how hurtful, demeaning, disrespectful and all-around mean it is to use the word. Let's hope it's the latter, but the latter wouldn't be possible without the former.

Self-advocates, parents and others who love someone with Down syndrome or other cognitive disabilities have become a force in the blogosphere and a unified voice, standing together to defend the rights and place in the world for those with disabilities...a world where it's unacceptable to use degrading language.

Wow...it'd been a while since I was on my soap box. I kinda like the change of scenery.

Stand with us and sign the pledge!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Buddies @ MIA

We had a great time at the unveiling of the Best Buddies photo exhibit at Miami International Airport. Lucas was quick to point out the photo of him and "Eunie" -- the larger-than-life images are beautiful and inspiring...see for yourself. Anthony thanked MIA and a host of others, and celebrated parents of kids with special needs, including us. He spoke about Eunice's involvement with Lucas and his family's connection to him and said some wonderful things about our little bean, which was very sweet. Lucas was hamming it up, and although he didn't make it to the evening news, a brief story ran.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Star is Born

Lucas' 4th birthday was eventful, and even included a professional photo shoot for Best Buddies with his buddy, Eunice. A photo exhibit is now on display showcasing Lucas and Eunice's photo (left) -- one of 12 larger-than-life B&W images of Best Buddies participants and celebrity supporters, including Cindy Crawford, Heat's Chris Bosh, Rob Lowe, New England Patriot's Tom Brady, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Romero Britto. Look for the exhibit if you're flying through Miami International Airport -- it's in the Concession Hall/South International Wing (Terminals H and J) through May 2011. On Valentine's Day, we're attending an event to see the exhibit firsthand. We're excited and proud for Lucas to serve as ambassador for this great organization with a message of inclusion.

Best Buddies is based in Miami, but is a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for friendships, employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like Lucas. It was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver -- Eunice and Sargent Shriver's youngest son -- and there are 1,500 chapters in middle and high schools as well as colleges all over the world. Lucas' buddy, Eunice, is Anthony's oldest daughter...a high school student now.

For those who don't know the story: Eunice met Lucas when he was not yet 2 years old...some say it was love at first sight. Eunice volunteered at the Debbie School for the summer, and although she was suppose to rotate through all the classrooms, after spending some time with the lady killer (Lucas), she became his personal "assistant" for the remainder of the summer. Eunice took her responsibilities very seriously, so one day when she was out sick, she sent in her younger sister, Francesca, who walked in and asked "where's Lucas?" and took up her post.

That fall, Eunice and Lucas continued a friendship with regular visits to the welcoming Shrivers, where Lucas made himself at home (much to his mother's dismay). The rest, as they say, is history in the making.