I took my boys to see the movie Selma yesterday and although it was not on the top of their list they all left with questions. A lot of the questions were about the civil rights of others and how exactly something like that could take place in the country they live in. For me the movie inspired and impacted me in ways that I was not expecting. I too can not even comprehend how the march in Selma, Alabama actually happened. How the hate could boil so strongly in another human being. I have never personally experienced it myself and I really believe our own personal experiences define what is important to us and what is worth fighting for.
Martin Luther King, Jr said, “If a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
Although he spoke this in very different times the truth is if you don’t have a passion that you will go to the depths of death for then is your life worth living? I can not imagine how fearful he was inside when he spoke those words. No one wants to loose their life, but it is important to make it known that in no way will you sway from your belief.
What Selma taught me is that standing for your rights is hard and scary. Obviously. Especially when people you respect are telling you that you just might be crazy in your expectations and outcomes. The bigger picture for me was the togetherness. I personally believe the reason Selma was successful was because Dr Martin Luther King, Jr reached across boundaries. He grabbed the last straw in the jar and asked people to join him. He called for everyone to come. He asked for anyone that believed what happened on that Bloody Sunday was unjust, to show up. He invited them to stand with the black people and at that moment it clicked to me. Real change happens when someone passionately suggests it and everyone shows up. Everyone. Regardless of your background, color, religion. Everyone shows up and agrees that change needs to come.
I find myself celebrating and encouraging others who believe in all people of all abilities. People who know or love someone with a disability but what about those that don’t? Where are they and why can’t I influence them?
I realized that in order for a big change to happen everyone has to participate. So that leads me to #15in2015. Successful? Yes. We have 27 companies committed to using models with disabilities in 2015. Crazy right?
Some might say awesome and some might say where are the big box stores? I agree. I question where they are too. But thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr my question was answered. They are waiting to see whats next. They are questioning how many people are really invested in this so called campaign #15in2015. What is next?
Well I will tell you whats next.
We need more people interested. We need more people calling out their retailers regardless of if they know or love someone with a disability. We need you and you and you. We need your neighbor and your friends. We need your family. If you think I am not talking to you, you are wrong. I am absolutely talking directly to you.
In order for these companies and our media to really understand impact of what inclusion means we need more voices. So where are you? If you are reading this blog, have you called your your retailers? It is unbelievably simple taking a picture of yourself and asking your retailers to give people with disabilities the opportunity to be included. We are at a cross roads here. We are close. I believe that 2015 will already be more beautiful then 2014 but is that enough? Is it enough that just 27 companies value their consumers with disabilities?
I ask you? Will you join us? Will you stand up and ask for inclusion in the media? We need every color, background, and ability. We need you. Will you show up?
Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr for giving your life for something you so passionately believed in, for the future of others. Thank you for giving basic human rights to all people and thank you for inspiring me.