There are several reasons why I will walk in Saturday’s Arc Walk for Independence, but mainly I will participate because it is a celebration of equality. For one brief morning Downey puts the spotlight on the most stigmatized segment of our population: those with developmental disabilities.
These are people who are routinely picked on at school and discriminated against at work (if they can get hired). Can you imagine life where people consistently avoid contact with you? Imagine being treated and spoken to as a child?
The Arc Walk is about celebrating the equality of all human beings. We may have different skin colors, different body types, different facial features, but our blood is the same. Our hearts are the same. Our love is the same.
I will walk for Randy, a client at The Arc whose loud and boisterous personality instantly makes him the life of any party. Introduce yourself to Randy and within 10 minutes you are “best buds.”
I will walk for Patrick, a tall and lanky fellow who instantly lights up at the sight of a familiar face. Last time I saw Patrick, he scurried toward me, shook my hand and gave me a giant bear hug, before asking, “What’s your name again?”
And I will walk for Carlos Baca, the Warren High custodian who turned in a $100 dollar bill he found late last year. How many of us would have done the same?
The Arc Walk is not about politics. It’s definitely not about pity. It’s not even about fundraising (although that’s important). It’s about coming together as a community, all inclusive.
The Arc Walk is this Saturday. I hope to see you there.
Published: March 20, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 49