Beginning to introduce myself: DD Advocacy

This is my first blog entry. I first wrote it as comment in response to Laurence Gilliot, but, then, realized that if enhanced a little, it might serve to introduce myself, at least one facet of my life.

I look forward to spending more time on the aidscompetence site, perhaps finding community that embraces our similarities while respecting our differences.

Currently, most of my "free" time is required by work to save from closure our State operated campuses for people with profound and complicated developmental disabilities. They are called "Residential Habilitation Centers." (RHCs). The Washington State Legislature is considering misconceived demands for their closure, but, closing these exemplary facilities will not answer the needs of those who lobby for their elimination.

My sister, Kathy, lives in an RHC. Because safeguards result in excellent standards and adherence to them, RHCs with comprehensive, centralized services, are the best resource for her and other similarly dependent people. For people with mental retardation complicated by other disabilities as severe and complex as Kathy's, RHCs are this state's only appropriate resource. For people with less challenging care requirements, there are privatized alternatives; but with too little oversight, the quality and safety of those venues vary too widely for my trust.

Yesterday, from 5:00 AM until 10:30PM my day included testimony in 3 legislative hearings plus lobbying and organizing at our State Capital. Especially, sitting in legislative hearings, I was very moved by other groups' testimonies. Ours was but one among an extensive menu of critical funding needs. Pleas abounded from organizations needing funding to sustain services to prevent many kinds of crises, to support people in the face of them, and to empower them toward stable living.

Until I began to write this, the similarities in this heartwork and AIDS-focused-activism had not occurred to me. I look forward to developing some long lasting friendships, here.
Saskia

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Comment by Gaston on January 18, 2010 at 2:52pm
Thank you Saskia for posting this. It is so interesting to see the similarities between our approaches. I read your nice profile. I like how you say: "I am not in touch with any concern at the moment". And I think we should adapt our question from 'what are you proud of' to 'what are you grateful of' in line with your comment there.

Your blog lets me reflect on the possibilities to bring different groups together that facilitate 'local responses'. Whether this is towards HIV, mental health or other. A Knowledge Fair with these groups would be an interesting idea. I think what we engage in is not really AIDS-focused-activism. It's more an attempt to change our mindset and adopt a role that follows our experience. Our experience that shows that communities are able to respond to their life challenges.

Looking forward to learn more from you.
Gaston

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