on the way home

a friend and i took a group of new disability activists to dc this weekend. so thankful for the opportunity to grow with them. the poem below the cut is something i scribbled down on the train after saying goodbye.

expansion of family?

the boys give my chair juice
laughing at phrases like “plug her in” and the idea that one could run out of batteries after chasing them around the city

today we talk about choice, institutions, and self determination
many are nervous about their appointments with legislators but at the end of the day, one convinces the freedom fries republican to sign on to cca
we walk home happily and i make up one-line celebration songs, beaming with pride in these new activists

another boy pats my head
telling me he likes my “funny” sense of humor
i have no idea what he is referring to but respond with a “aww i love you too”
he smiles
“…but never pat my head again” i continue
we both laugh

while resting for a second, one of the guys tells me he wants to play me a song;
putting fantasia’s baby mama in my ears, he tells me to replace the words baby mama with disability community— “it’s exactly what we have here!” he says excitedly
it makes me happy that he could feel the spirit of what we are creating here and find it in a song.
telling him this, we talk about how there is no need to replace the words baby mama, that the song is already about people supporting each other in an amazing way, and that i hope he feels community here
he nods

i open my hotel door around 1 am and find them sitting in the hall reading poetry
i grin and tell my 80 year old halmoni to see this
the poet continues—
“if you ever touch my motherfuckin shit,
be ready to feel a size 12 in your ass”
i don’t remember the exact words but smile,
remembering this line from our breakfast poetry swap &
very thankful my halmoni doesn’t speak english

over dinner, a friend says i use community as an adjective and asks what my vision for our community would look like if resources were limitless
it takes me a long time to process this question and i’m not able to come up with a proper answer
to me, in the process of building community, people are the resources
potential is already limitless if we envision it to be
besides— i want to talk about projects, actions, and systems change tomorrow
today community is making sure all 8 of us get off the metro at the same time,
talking about who we are—whether this means deconstructing kpop videos, talking about indigenous tribal history, or our relationships with parents—
and loving each other

yes i find community in you
in us
in this

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7 Comments

Filed under community, disability, writing/poetry

7 responses to “on the way home

  1. Mujer, mujer. You are hardcore and I love your for it.

    Um that banner, almost as inspiring as you.

  2. Wow, I wanna hear more about your trip, and hope you and those young folks can join us in April!

  3. being able to talk about ADAPT’s action last week and then use the ADAPT CCA talking points definitely brought a lot of energy on our day of legislative visits. we will have the right dates next time and be there more than in spirit!

  4. Pingback: coalition building v. community building « cripchick’s weblog

  5. April 25 to April 30, 2009 are the dates of the next action. We’ll be back in DC. I’m really looking forward to it!

  6. this line got me especially … “to me, in the process of building community, people are the resources
    potential is already limitless if we envision it to be” … it’s quite beautiful and really captures the true power of our community. money may be a “zero sum game” but people are not. people always come before the money. wade blank, ed roberts, harriet johnson, and countless organizers we don’t know the names and stories of yet all start with nothing when it comes to “material resources” and yet have built a movement of pride and power and community… this is what we need to remember. our power has no limits…

  7. mhm, philocrip, i was thinking also about the importance of celebrating & recognizing victories, etc too— not only things like ADA birthday parties and such but how for most of the folks on this trip, getting the CCA sponsor was the coolest/most fun thing (and we did a lot of reaaaally cool shit!)

    in addition to knowing how important CCA is, a lot of the excitement around the legislative process may have been the after effect stuff (you calling them 5 seconds after i texted you, the cheering, the dancing, paying $30 for ice cream, kind of thing). they liked it the most because they knew then they made a difference, they were needed, they were a part of something bigger.

    i guess a lot of times we’re so used to fighting huge injustices that victories, like one house sponsor for a bill or one person out of an institution, become small, though future victories are based often on the momentum of the earlier, smaller victories or the smaller victories are each brick being torn from a wall of oppression.

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