distractedblog

Archive for October 2015

I recently attended a conference where I heard a presentation on ableism given by noted blogger, author, and activist Lydia Brown.

Her presentation moved me to write a letter to all of my readers, especially those of you who are young people with disabilities.

Dear ______ (insert your first name here)

No matter what anyone tells you, you matter. Your life has value and purpose.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you have a disability, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because it takes you longer to do certain things, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you struggle with things that come easier to most people, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you get special accommodations in school, because you get pulled out of class to go to the Resource Room, because you take the short bus, because you’re on medication, because you see a counselor, because you have an aide, or because you’re on an IEP or a 504 plan; don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because of the color of your skin or your ethnicity, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because of your religion or because of the God or gods you believe in or don’t believe in, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because of your sexual orientation or your gender identity, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you’re not a typical “macho man” or a “girly girl,” don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you’re fatter, skinnier, shorter, or taller than the average person, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you aren’t good in sports, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you aren’t good in academics, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because of your income or wealth, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because of your family situation, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you’re not conventionally attractive and you don’t look the way models in magazines look, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that you matter less because you’re not popular, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

If anyone tells you that your opinions, your feelings, your rights, and your need to be heard and respected matter less for any of the above reasons, don’t listen to them. They are wrong.

Those people are bigots, and bigots are always wrong.

You are a child of God and/or the Universe just as much as anyone else, and you matter just as much as anyone else.

You are a human being. You are not an object.

You were NOT placed on this earth so that other people could take advantage of you.

You were NOT placed on this earth so that other people could bully you.

You were NOT placed on this earth so that other people could pity you or be charitable to you as a way of feeling good about themselves.

You WERE placed on this earth with a specific mission and purpose that only you can fulfill.

You are worthy of being loved.

You are worthy of being heard.

You are worthy of being treated with respect and dignity.

You can be successful.

You have weaknesses, but you have strengths, too.

You are capable of achieving more than you ever dreamed of.

You have value.

Be proud of who you are, not despite your differences, but because of them.

Your life matters.