Over the last ten years of advocacy, which have somehow turned into global activism for change for all people with dementia and our families, I’ve often turned to the late Dr Martin Luther King Jnr. and Mrs Rosa Parks for inspiration. I quote them regularly in speeches. I think of them, some weeks almost daily.
They both have taught me so much, although I’ve also been a willing student!
Dementia has also ensured I understand that ‘sense of otherness’ Dr King Jnr. talked about.
I’ve often also said, I regularly feel like Rosa Parkes, the lone voice amongst the wilderness refusing to accept the status quo still being imposed on people with dementia.
Thankfully though, a few more people are joining me, refusing to be ‘bought’ or ‘silenced’ by those who currently have most of the money and power.
Many activists have inspired me to keep going in spite of the daily experiences of discrimination and stigma, and the disrespect and loss of dignity imposed on people with dementia. Including many who are working in the field, with the best of intentions.
Yesterday I attended an event held at the Ford Foundation on Women and girls with disabilities, part of the COSP programme.
This building is quite remarkable, and unexpectedly there was a free art exhibition on site, which I had time to look at briefly.
One whole wall was full of portraits of negro Americans who had been jailed in the 1956 for the Montgomery Bus Riots. I was truly overwhelmed by seeing it, and was moved to tears.
Of all the weeks in my life, I needed to see their faces on this wall…
As an activist, it’s been one of the toughest of my life.
Thank you to the late Dr Martin Luther King and Mrs Rosa Parkes.
Grateful beyond words that you both lived.
Images: Kate Swaffer ©️ 2019