Henry said he wanted to go to the Republican National Convention today.
Henry didn’t want to go because he wanted to protest or support the RNC, or Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan, or Ron Paul like many of the folks that were down there.
He wanted to go to stand up for his right to an education. So we went.
We went through security checks, car sweeps, and removal from private property (okay all of those were done politely and by security guards, but it does makes it sound a bit more exciting).
We went because Henry wanted to show the world that he wants the same rights afforded everyone else, to be treated with dignity and respect.
This basic human desire, to be treated with dignity and respect is something we all share .
Every single person that came up to H, and there were over 50 in the short time we were in downtown Tampa, had positive, supportive, what can I do to show my support dialogues with H. Every single person.
One very nice guy, maybe around 30 years old, a former teacher, shook Henry’s hand and said, “What you’re doing is great, the world needs more people like you to stand up for what’s right”.
A woman from Maryland was shocked inclusive classes weren’t the norm here.
The police officers could not have been more incredible. It was so nice to see the love.
We live 200 yards from a public middle school. Henry wants to go to school in his community. We have the nicest neighbors, all of whom have been very supportive of Henry being included in this school. The Martin Luther King paper that Henry wrote about in his first video and post about his school situation, was actually our neighbor’s worksheet. He and Henry are in the same grade. There are three boys in his grade on our block that attend this middle school.
Starting last February my neighbor started giving me her child”s classwork so H would be going into middle school with the same knowledge base as all of the other students. Every worksheet. Every little magazine. All of his reports. Pretty incredible.
We knew that our community was fully supportive of Henry’s rights to be included in his neighborhood school. And we have been blown away by the support on FB, amazing friends, strangers, all solidly behind what Henry’s doing. It’s beautiful. But we were actually a little surprised by the kindness of strangers during our peaceful demonstration at the RNC. We were surrounded by people we didn’t know, everyone had very different agendas, but each person was in agreement that discrimination and segregation based on disability is a human and civil rights issue.
It’s hard for anyone to fathom being told they could not, or their child could not, go to a public school in their neighborhood. It’s horrible. Really, think about it. This is not the same thing as choosing to go to a school that is not in your neighborhood, because you or your child feel that is best environment for them. It’s very, very different.
Now imagine you are the kid, your neighbors ask why you don’t go to school with them. The school is right there, across the street. You can see it from your window. Imagine saying, I’m not allowed to go to that school,they don’t take kids like me. I can’t even write those words without crying.
I will stand with Henry and everyone else fighting for their rights as long as it takes.
20% of Americans have a disability.
That’s one in five.
Disability is about you and me, not us and them.