Moved to tears

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

22 thoughts on “Moved to tears

    • Thanks Janet… I honestly believe without them, I’d have given up by now! Dementia has most certainly taught me about stigma, discrimination, ignorance and otherness! Sadly, especially as it’s a disease that others should be supportive and compassionate about. Frightening in some ways that it is taking so long… x

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  1. I’s SO sorry that you’ve had a very tough week {big hugs} You’re right in finding inspiration from these 2 trailblazers. And right now, there are many who are getting inspiration from another trailblazer. Her name is Kate Swaffer. Have you heard about her? She’s an amazing woman!! {more hugs ….. and here’s a tissue if you need it!…}

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  2. I studied Martin Luther King & Rosa Parks at school in year 9(year 8 in Australia), Kate, & found them very inspiring & interesting & fascinating. What inspirational & amazing people they were! I admire them greatly too.

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      • I am good thanks, Kate, & thanks for asking:) My Grandad has had 4 falls in the last month & is going downhill really fast physically, but has improved a bit mentally on a positive note. He is going to be in care very soon, as he is getting harder to look after. Thinking of you as well.

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  3. Love the way your dedication to our cause never waivers, even in the toughest of your own personal times. As others have inspired you my friend, you continually inspire so many others. Thank you for being you xx

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  4. Hi Kate. Your first paragraph made me smile, as I was only speaking to someone here at the Australian Research Forum, about how we somehow start off as advocates, and somehow turn into “accidental activists”.

    Your heros are inspirational, as are you,; no longer a lone voice in the wilderness, but with a flock of advocates and activists surrounding you.

    I am sorry to hear you have had a tough week. Rest up, over the weekend, to regain your strength.

    Sending love and warm wishes, Bobby x

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