This has been an incredibly busy summer for me as I’ve been working with a gubernatorial campaign here in Michigan (so much so that I’ve been unable to post regularly on here, and that I’ve been finding myself lacking the time to do much else outside of my internship, but I will try to be more consistent about posting!). However, one interaction this past week felt like something I truly needed to write down.
There are people you meet throughout the course of your life who really change your perspective on life. People who, for lack of a better term, inspire you. I had an interaction with one such person this past week.
There is an individual who comes in to volunteer for the campaign almost every other day. I won’t give his name for the sake of his privacy. This individual has cerebral palsy, but he doesn’t let that stop him from living his life and doing his best. He comes into the office every day with his friend and caretaker, and settles in to call some voters for a few hours before he has to go home. He’s honestly one of our best phone bankers.
The other day, our candidate stopped by the field office for a meeting and got the chance to meet him, and our volunteer was incredibly excited, said his day had been made, but this is where it got interesting, and kind of heart-breaking. The volunteer *thanked* us for letting him volunteer, saying that other campaigns and organizations he’s tried to volunteer for have turned him away because of his disability. He said this so nonchalantly, because it was just a fact of his life, that people would discriminate against him even as he was trying to help them, because of his disability. It brought everyone in the room to tears, and made me remember why we fight. Because no one deserves to be treated like that and made to feel like they don’t belong/can’t contribute because of their disability.
What I wish more people realized is that everyone has something special and essential that they can contribute, and everyone’s participation is worthwhile and should be welcomed and appreciated.