This week we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy is great: expanding civil rights for all citizens and the initiation of a Poor People’s Campaign shortly before his death. Today’s efforts to establish equity for many groups, including those with disabilities, can be traced to his efforts.
In this week’s video edition of Leo’s Letter, Leo discusses NPR’s important new series – Abused and Betrayed: People with Intellectual Disabilities and an Epidemic of Sexual Assault – and addresses the pressing need for change in sexual education and awareness within the I/DD community. He also discusses steps The Arc of Massachusetts is taking with Nicky’s Law in order to be able to prevent future instances of abuse.
“We’re halfway on the ultramarathon of social change.” So says Canadian Rick Hansen, who has done much to advance disability rights and opportunities. I happened to catch a podcast with him on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) in December. The fall of 2017 marked the 30-year Anniversary of his “Man in Motion World Tour” that raised $26 million and greatly advanced disability awareness. He traveled to peaks across the world with the use of a wheelchair.
“He helps her with homework and making her lunch. When she has seizures, he doesn’t panic. He’s very kind in the sense that if he knows the answer, he’ll say ‘Let’s figure it out together.’” So says the fourth grade teacher of Marcus Devoy, an Arizona fourth grader. Marcus is a role model for others, including his football teammates, as he helps his older sister, Jade, who has epilepsy and an intellectual disability.