Thank you so much, Sarah (who is now a blogger at Pizza and Peonies.wordpress.com), for bringing this to my attention. My sister tagged me in a post on Facebook that obviously has great meaning to me. But what she said is so true. In our society we have too many groups that say they are the “forgotten ones” to count. People demand change by loudly organizing marches and protests.
I may be biased, but I think there is a forgotten group: the physically disabled.
Sarah posted a link from Time about Ed Roberts, a polio victim, whose work for the physically disabled is truly inspiring. He passed away the year I was born, but I wish I could hug him and say thanks for his work.
If you want to read the article, click here.
I must have ten or eleven. I would have been off-track. Dad, along with his daughters, ate lunch at Taco Bell. Although I loved the restaurant, I almost dreaded going there. We might see him. Ralph was an employee of the restaurant, wiping tables or sweeping the floors. Although Dad always chatted with Ralph, to me, Ralph was awkward, borderline scary. Ralph had Down syndrome.
Was I scared because Ralph was different from me?
I’ve obviously grown up. I don’t know if it’s being disabled myself now, or just maturity, but I so admire people with any disability, especially an intellectual one. Part of my old thinking could have been because I didn’t know anyone with Down syndrome. But thanks to shows like “Born This Way,” which I highly recommend (Tuesday at 8 on A&E, though it’s on haetis right now), or inclusion in our schools, I’m glad the old “stigmas” attached to people with any intellectual disability are slowly going away.
I so wish I could find Ralph. I would give him a big hug.
My involvement with Free Wheelchair Mission (a Christian charity that provides the disabled in developing countries with wheelchairs) has made me realize that though I live in the United States, and the people they help are most likely poor, we have a lot in common. Our transportation, for instance. I could not imagine life without a wheelchair. I have not had to crawl on the ground or lived life stuck in bed. We have many differences—our skin’s hue, for instance—but there are four things that bind us together: Our wheels.