i won’t send this

…but if i put it here it’ll feel like it.

Dear Ms. Sanchez,

In an era where everyone at school and home wanted me to believe I was just like them (i.e. I don’t see your wheelchair!), you took me out of my comfort zone and painfully told me otherwise. “You need to know your rights, girl. People are going to treat you wrong.”

The mindset [idea] that differences, even around power, identity, and background, existed or would exist between other students and I was not something I was willing to accept.  I was furious when day after day, you asked me to come back from lunch early so I could read and highlight laws that seemed irrelevant [not important] to my fabulous 8th grade self.

Now I realize, you taught me about power and how to obtain what is ours. Ending the silence. Organizing. Writing. Revolting. For one particular exercise, you created a month-long mock [fake] tyranny. When a Deaf student and I led the class in overthrowing you and having you exiled (with a little help of the vice principal), you said you went home and cried because that was the first time in 20 years students had thought to do so. But considering that it was us, the two disabled kids that caused your downfall, I’m now wondering if you were giving the Deaf girl private lunch lessons, too? : )

My friends and I now spend our time, outside of school and work, organizing events and create space so other disabled youth can be equipped to live in a world that takes pleasure in telling us we’re worthless. If you can make it, I hope you will come to the ADA celebration we are putting together for this summer—it’s the 18th anniversary. I want to tell you how much I love this beautiful community of people, this movement, that I am proud to call home.

Thank you for making such an aggressive-yet-patient effort to plant the seeds that would later become who I am.

Your student,
Ms. Crip Chick.



Filed under identity

13 responses to “i won’t send this

  1. Jamie

    Why not send it?

  2. lol good question…
    perhaps i will? a friend was talking about how teachers are never really thanked later in life, i might.

  3. Send it. You never know, those words from you may help her to help someone else or otherwise inspire her to continue. I wish I could go back to the people who helped to shape my identity, my disability pride and tell them. But I am chicken.

  4. Oh, I say send it. I can only imagine how great it would feel for Ms. Sanchez to hear these words.

  5. Aaminah

    Ha, my initial response was the same as Jamie’s. Emma is right too – your letter might be what keeps her going, knowing that she did the right thing. Sometimes when we are trying something, and we think we have a great idea, no one responds to it like we hoped, and then we give up on it, thinking maybe we were totally wrong. Clearly, Ms. Sanchez was right, and it may benefit others, not to mention gladden her heart, for her to know what her efforts mean to you.

  6. i think she would be so proud, and happy to know that she helped shape your development like this. awesome =)

  7. bethieee

    Why not send it? I recently sent my high school chemistry instructor a note thanking him for dragging me kicking and screaming down a rigid way of doing a particular kind of problem when I swore the I could “just see” how to get the right answer. His method has been so very helpful now that the problems have gotten complicated enough that “just seeing it” is not a valid response.
    Teachers need (and like) to hear that while you may not have appreciated it at the time, things they did were good and useful.

  8. can i just say, you guys are awesome?

    (and hi bethieee!)

  9. THAT IS AWESOME! Yes, I think you should send it, too.

  10. You should send it. I bet Mrs. Sanchez would really appreciate it a lot. You are an amazing person, and I think that she deserves to know how you turned out.

  11. NO

    Send It. People wait their whole lives to hear words like this. words to let them know they made a difference.

  12. Ditto.

    Yoda says: “Send it, you should!”

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