Last week in Nashville was exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting! As a student of history, I have read a great deal about Martin Luther King, Cesar Chaves and others who engaged in protests, marching on government offices to raise public awareness on issues of equality. However, it is one thing to read about it; it is another to actively participate! This experience helped me to understand that we have a great deal of benefits living in the USA, but there is a level of responsibility that is required in a democracy. Laws, statues and funding are not written in stone, but are amorphous entities, always in flux. One's civil rights are not guaranteed in perpetuity. Someone has to take on the challenge of following legislation, keeping elected officials accountable to the constituencies that got them elected to office, and seeking ways to make the quality of life better for all Americans. Before I started at the Center for Disability Rights, I was aware of the challenges of people with disabilities. What I was not aware of was how powerful a role advocacy can have in ensuring quality of life, personal rights and impacting legislation.
So now I have the flu from being out in the elements in Tennessee-- but I have gained a better scope of the impact of the work that I do.