Sunday, March 30, 2008

How Do We Build Community? Hope and Healing.

Colourful photo above shows a woman of colour waiting for a bus in Central Sq., Cambridge, MA. The photo below shows two white men waiting for a bus in Inman Sq. One appears to be middleclass, the other appears less well off, economically, and carries a cane.

All three are busy dealing with common problem: transportation.

Hope and healing.

Above is Bruce from Mass Office on Disability with his service dog. He has a level in his hand and is teaching us how to measure sidewalks for cross-slope. We are volunteers from the greater Boston area who will lead access survey walks in celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1990, Public Law 101-336, otherwise known as the Americans With Disabilities Act, the ADA. The ADA is enforced through the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that made it unlawful to discriminate based on race. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate based on disability.
Below is a photo of an African American male, and a white female.
Today we continue to struggle with our latent biases. I hope you will take time to view these photos, even enlarge and print them, and share them with family and friends. My intention, when I took these, was to illustrate the "DREAM."
Hope and healing.

Obama's speach on "race" provides us with real insight into what the barrier of attitude is, and how it handicaps us.

By speaking in plain english, without hesitation, baring painful truths on a subject that most of us would prefer be swept under the rug of "it doesn't affect me, personally," Obama has laid a foundation to rebuild a strong and United States of America. One of the most amazing outcomes of his speach is how much latent racism spilled over into the reaction to the speach itself.

It very may be that there are those who are invested, heavily, in that which tends to divide us. Those of us who want and seek inclusion, meet a bouncer at door after door. The bouncer is the barrier to inclusion. The "reason" given for exclusion varies from place to place. Inclusion, it seems, is illusion, even in 2008 in America today.

Fear and loathing are probably the main motivations for excluding individuals. The idea that we may have to consider the feelings of someone different from self is starteling to us. It immediately raises to our consciounsous our own bias. Something we don't want to acknowledge, or be associated with. Do we prefer "Out of sight, out of mind?"

But a group, City, State or Country is handicapped when not all of its individuals are considered members of the community, much less respected members of the community. The issue then, and which we have been skirting for a long time, is "Who should be members of the community, and how do we respect this commitment?"

How do we build community. How do we value community? How do we open ourselves to the views of others, whom we have learned to ignor, scorn, and speak with contempt about?

Yes, indeed, this is the guestion. How do we build community?

>>They said his speech, which called for an honest dialogue about race, offered an opportunity to be open to others' experiences without automatically triggering the shame, guilt and strife such conversations usually entail.

"Obama is such a gift right now: He talks about the truth in a way that everyone on all sides needs to hear, in a way that suggests there's hope for a new day," said Allan Collister, 64, who is white and is the pastor of New Church Berkeley, a nondenominational and heavily Asian church that's within the evangelical Protestant umbrella. "He treats with respect people he doesn't agree with. That's so huge."<< >>If it's segregated public schools, it's mostly black people who come to meetings. If it's about immigration, it's immigrants. If it's about sexuality, it's largely gays and lesbians. "St. Paul says that when any member of the family suffers, all suffer. Or when one rejoices, all rejoice. But we as a people live as if that weren't true."<<


At Monday, March 31, 2008 12:09:00 AM, Blogger Heather Gerquest said...

To Kathy & Shannon,

I need to update my blog desperately! I just read your comment about Maine's LD#289 bill about "Redefining Service Dogs" and wanted to update you... No this bill didn't even survive the public hearing! The rep that had introduced the bill got so much flack from everyone about it that he decided not to go forward with it without a research committee. I attended all of the meetings for this committee and am happy with the outcome. However, these changes to LD #289 haven't even been read by the legislature as they are too busy trying to balance a very tippy budget in the state. I have the study results and plan on posting them to my SD's blog... it is just that I have dial-up still and there are several pages to download one-by-one because I do not know how to post it as anything but a jpg file. This makes it inaccessible to people who have visual impairments though. However, one should be able to click on each page and view the page in a larger size as with any pic on my blog. I have to invest in this PDF thingy.
Anyway, thanks for reading my SD blog! Come and visit again sometime!

At Wednesday, May 14, 2008 7:11:00 AM, Blogger Ruth said...

I'm putting up a quote from this post on my blog today - about inclusion/exclusion and community. Thanks for this thoughtful piece.

At Sunday, May 25, 2008 1:32:00 AM, Anonymous Somerville Cantabrigian said...

Barack Obama is an undercover black supremacist and a tax and spend liberal.

John McCain 2008!

At Wednesday, August 06, 2008 7:52:00 PM, Anonymous Chris P said...

What a great site. I just read through a few of your posts and I love the watchdog in you. Boston and the surrounding towns really need to do something about transportation especially for disabled folks.

I went to Suffolk University and when it snowed around there people couldnt even get around let alone if you were handicapped.

Keep up the great work

At Sunday, August 31, 2008 6:32:00 AM, Blogger Jordan Rhoat said...

Please go to link and sign the petition to

Get Jordan Rhoat's Arthrogryposis Web Page added to the Open Project Directory, where it belongs.

Pass along to friends,

Thank You

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At Sunday, September 04, 2011 11:29:00 AM, Anonymous Panic Attack said...

Hope and healing, these are vital and many people ignore the fact that problems like this requires more than just medical care. We can look forward to a better community because of people like you who involve themselves in bring such needs to light, like what you do in your blog.


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