April 19, 2010

Things I've learned...

(Polson, Montana)

Within the last week I have attend two vastly different conferences, the Empowerment of Native Americans with Disabilities Conference, and the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities. Though they had very similar focuses, and often similar outlooks, the cultures and people were extremely diverse. At both of these conferences I found myself feeling very small, and very under educated in the cultures, needs, and expectations. I found that like my mom, I felt very humbled. Given that I was so impressed and profoundly amazed by these conferences I thought it would be nice to share some of my favorite moments with you:

-Being blessed with sage and a feather by a Native American elder made me feel loved/scared/warm/confused/blessed.
-Listening to a brilliant paraplegic lawyer who travels the globe, frequenting impoverished countries to fight for disability rights makes me feel proud/amazed/small/inspired.
-Watching a mother and daughter present about their journey from the daughter’s severe brain injury to her now internationally read magazine for young woman with disabilities (Logan) made me feel joyous/enraptured/lucky/ready.
-Feeling the beat of the drum, hearing the jingle of the jingle dress, seeing the fancy dance as we were presented with a Native American cultural demonstration, and hearing the account of a deaf salsa dancer’s memories of 4,000 fans clapping in sign language made me remember the importance and the universality of the arts. It made me remember why they are the focus of my life.
-Learning the importance of teaching social networking to all people as a means of fighting discrimination and allowing full inclusion into society made me aware of all the things I don’t think about.
-Watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean with my family, in Hawaii, made me feel lucky/blessed/loved/empowered/inspired/small/ready.
(Honolulu, Hawaii)

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