Last night, I was given the wonderful opportunity to be part of a panel of speakers regarding cultural diversity. There were four speakers, myself, an African-American, a gay person, and someone whose name matches a name on the terror watch list. It was an interesting two hours.
I was humbled after listening to the other three speakers. I didn’t know if my story about David was as important as the stories each of them told. Their stories were much more involved than what I write about here. So much more, but in the end, their stories are theirs, and not mine to tell. Their stories were about:
- About being a United States Citizen and having to prove certain things in order to be able to fly again.
- About being gay and not being able to visit a loved one in the hospital because you aren’t “family”.
- About being a black kid, getting a BB gun for Christmas, and then having a neighbor call the police because there was a masked man in your backyard with a gun.
I was the last speaker for the night. I don’t know how long I talked, I didn’t sing any songs. I didn’t hear a lot of laughter like the other speakers received. I just told David’s story. Like I have before. Started at the beginning with the day care, and then transitioned to the adoption. From there to how a he was defined as a “special needs” adoption just because of his skin color.
I spent part of the time talking about lost friendships because of his skin color. So many things. Then I moved into the school years and all that this entailed. Fighting for support, fighting to not have David locked in a little room while people watched him through the window on the door. I talked about the alphabet of diagnoses that David has, and how that has affected our family. In addition, I discussed the fear that David imparted in our family, and the reason for his placement in a residential facility.
At the end I talked about growing up with Native American step-brothers. About Indian Joe, a friend from my childhood who absolutely refused to play anything but the cowboy when we played Cowboys and Indians.
I also talked briefly about my experiences with TSA at the Denver airport. Because I use canes to walk… and wear knee braces.
Thank you KW for inviting me to be a part of your panel. I hope that it is something that can be done on a regular basis. More people need to be aware of Culture. Like JR said, we all bleed red.