…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.
Ms. Crip Chick.