Why do we advocate? That’s such a broad question. You’ll come to find that I write about advocating and the importance of it quite frequently.
We advocate to ensure that our kids can live a quality, happy life that they deserve – a life like yours and mine. We advocate so that those with different abilities, the ones we love, are treated just like you and me-addressed just as they are: people.
The other day, while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post that really resonated with me. It read as follows:
“Accessibility is being able to get in the building. Diversity is getting invited to the table. Inclusion is having a voice at the table. Belonging is having your voice heard at the table!”
This sentiment stuck with me. Although I try to live in the moment as much as I can, I often think about Kay’s future. I ponder on what employment opportunities might be available for her and what kind of life she may lead. Will she always be included? Will she always be happy? The reality is that she may not always be included, and she isn’t always happy.
While there has been progress in terms of inclusion, compared to how things were even three years ago, there is still more work to be done. What truly brings me joy and makes me feel like a difference is starting to be made is witnessing an increase in employment opportunities that Kay would be welcomed into. I also find encouragement in seeing advertisements for major brands, like Target, that include individuals with different abilities. Though we haven’t fully reached our destination, I believe we are heading in the right direction.
So, remember, when you’re out and see someone who may be different from you and me, the best thing you can do is just say hi. Smile. Wave. Show them that you see them and that they are worthy of being addressed. Because all anyone wants is to feel welcome and included.