Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A New Road

Life has a funny way about it. We never know where life will take us or what tomorrow will hold in store. Everyday we go a little bit farther on the path we tread but sometimes we must explore a new direction.

Many of you know that I've been fighting very hard to get out of the nursing home and return to living in the community. I've had many great advocates fighting on my behalf to get the state of North Dakota to accommodate my needs in the community. Sadly, the battle hasn't gone like I've wanted it too and the state of North Dakota is showing no cooperation whatsoever in freeing me from the nursing home.

Sometimes when life seems stuck in neutral, all of a sudden new opportunities come along. Over the last several months, things have been developing and a new exciting possibility has been in the works.

There is a big change on the horizon for me. I've made the decision to move to Montana this May. I'll be trying a community based living arrangement that will hopefully give me the independence and opportunities I've been wanting for a very long time. It hasn't been an easy decision by any means but living in a nursing home will not give me what I want out of life.

I have great family and friends that have shown me love and support for quite a few years now. There have been many ups and downs but the love and support shown has always carried me through. This love and support will stay in my heart no matter where I call home.

The next several months will be a busy time for me. Lots to do but I'll keep posting updates. Have a great day and Happy Valentines Day.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

I too have a dream...

This week we lost another civil rights pioneer, Coretta Scott King. Ms. King for many years has had the awesome job of carrying on the dream that her late husband started so long ago.

I was typing some emails this morning and I was thinking about the progress this country has made in civil rights over the years. Then naturally that led me to think about sadly how much needs to be done to fulfill Dr. King's dream.

I've grown up admiring the courage of people like Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, and many others who risked their lives, freedom, and safety to make this world a more equal and tolerant place. They achieved much progress but they also knew that the generations after them would need to carry on until the day every American is treated equal in this society.

As an advocate and a person with a disability, I'm troubled by many things I see going on. In my own environment and around this county, there are countless people who are incarcerated in nursing homes or state institutions for the crime of having a disability. I've talked to many people that are in the same boat as I am and we all want freedom and dignity in our lives. When will our dreams for equality come true?

I see other concerning things too. We are in a war with no end in sight. Our civil liberties of privacy are under attack from a President who can't be trusted and who thinks he's above the law. Civil rights and protections that have been hard earned are at risk of being unraveled by a Supreme Court that has taken a drastic conservative shift. The poor and minorities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina & Rita are waiting for help and money that may never come. Millions of Americans are without any medical insurance and can't afford to buy essential medicines or heat their homes. The list could go on and it's so sad that we are faced with these realities.

I see all this not so good stuff going on but I refuse to give up fighting for what’s right. Disability advocacy is my passion and I've met lots of great people doing it. These people inspire me everyday and give me the strength to fight on until equality is ours.

One last interesting thing. I was watching the news yesterday as they were bringing Ms. King's body to lie in state at the Georgia state capitol. They said she was the first black woman to ever receive that honor, which her husband ironically never received. Pretty amazing.

Lastly, I finished the Winter 20005/06 newsletter for the vent support I moderate. You can view it at: http://www.geocities.com/npvsn/january06newsletter.htm In the upcoming days I'll be posting a big announcement here on my blog.
Stay tuned,

Mark AKA The Nodakwheeler