The Walk: Be the Bridge is a YouTube speech that Jenny Hill gave at Northwestern College last year, during their Disability Awareness Week. As you may or may not know, Jenny wrote an excellent and thought-provoking memoir about her life as a woman with a disability. She expressed the exact same feelings that I always felt but never expressed. I'm not sure why, maybe shame, maybe fear, maybe not wanting to upset others. I encourage you to read this book.
As I watched this I also thought how nice for the college to have this. I don't remember any college that I went to to have a disability awareness event. Neither do I recall any sort of disability awareness week or month in our country. They have these events for all other minorities. Why not disability? Is it because it is a scary or ugly topic? We live in the shadows, partly hoping we never get noticed, partly wishing we did. Until this is recognized by the larger population, and celebrated even, it will never change. Sure, we have Special Olympics. But I think the difference is those of us without intellectual disabilities feel left out somehow. We feel in the middle of two extremes. We are not part of the developmentally delayed group. Nor are we part of the "normal" group. We are somewhere in the middle. We are cute when we are young, but when we group up and see our peers doing "normal" things without us, we don't know what to do. Nor does anyone else. We are like the elderly, less respected, needing some help but not totally, and lonely.
So please watch this video, and think upon it. Think about what it is like to be us. It is not to shame you or to make you feel guilty. You can feel good about not having a disability. But you can also see us as we really are, look past the luggage we are traveling in, and see what is packed inside. We are human.