On this day in 1963, Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, and his words, “It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned,” have always rung true with a sting! However, in my humble opinion, America has also defaulted on “this promissory note” when it comes to how she and her citizens treat the disabled and the elderly.
I was reminded of the aforementioned quote from King’s speech upon noticing (when in my urban (NYC) garden) one of “my” visiting mourning doves and house finches “living in harmony” and respect for each others’ lives – even when it came to food (as evidenced by this image).
I know firsthand about the disabled as I am legally blind and therefore am considered a “disabled person;” but I do not consider myself “disabled,” rather I consider myself to be physically challenged; and I have discussed this on TLLG’s Blogger Pages. However, in terms of society, particularly employment, I have suffered greatly from the stigma of being labeled a disabled person.
Be that as it may, while I know firsthand about the consequences of being considered disabled, I do not know from firsthand experience (but will one day if I live long enough) about America’s defaulting on her “promissory note” in her treatment of the elderly. I know about it through my volunteer work (since 2003) that I’ve done at an assisted living center in New York City.
Since I was a child, I’ve always been sensitive to the needs of the elderly, which I attribute to my wonderful maternal grandfather and maternal grandmother, who, even though they were rather poor (economically), had a philosophy of life that one should “share and share alike.”
In high school I was very aware of an “old folks” home that reeked of urine and neglect, and I was only one of two people in my entire graduating class that considered this an issue of social injustice.
It is not surprising that years later, I would be very moved by the Herb Gardener play, I’m Not Rappaport, in which the value of the elderly was explored in a humorous and poignant way.
One of my favorite lines from the play is, “The very old, they are miracles like the just born; close to the end is precious like close to the beginning,” and, in fact, I have chosen it as a “slogan” for my indiegogo project, a project where I hope to address the value of the elderly and the physically challenged through “giving voice to what lives in a garden,” which I will do through my garden themed virtual stories (movies) and virtual flip-books. Some of these may be viewed in my Vimeo Library.
These “venues” may also be viewed for fifty-three more days (October 19, 2012) within the Media Gallery of my Campagin on indiegogo. October 19th 2012 is the last day I have to raise funds in order for me to move towards realizing my goal of producing thirteen virtual stories, based on garden-related topics (listed on my Campaign’s home page) that will have accompanying hardcover books.
I hope on this anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, that I will be able to move towards my dream; and, moreover, I hope that others will realize the value of the population Mr. King referred to in his speech, but also to honor and appreciate any physically challenged and elderly persons in their lives!