“We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King
This quote from Martin Luther King comes from his 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace. Last year we talked about the civil rights era being an inspiration for disability advocacy. Fifty years after Dr. King uttered these words, we still struggle with embedding mutuality throughout our society for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
No longer hidden as in the 1960s, many now welcome our family members and friends. But as Jim Ross* said, “friendship among people with and without disabilities is one of the best barometers of success in community inclusion.” Friendship is the best vehicle to ensure that others in our society will realize that our destinies are shared. We hope that by working together, we can have a world where such relationships are seamlessly woven into our lives. More public awareness will help and The Arc will continue to work in that arena, but ending discrimination for all people, including those with disabilities, requires both public and personal strategies.
*Jim, former CEO of a non-profit, founding member of MFOFC and among other things, now oversees “Widening the Circle”, a partnership between The Arc and DDS.