As some of you may know my brother Stephen Palmer is developmentally disabled but he does not let that stop him from enjoying life. Autism? What autism? He works and has a full social calendar. I should be so lucky!! LOL!
Stephen received an excellent report from his teachers and instructors at AABR. Stephen has 20/20 vision. No diabetes. His high blood pressure and cholesterol are under control. At age 52 he is in perfect health. Stephen always enjoys expressing himself through art. He likes to draw so I will get him some art supplies.
He uses his stipend to romance 2 ladies, Maxine and Robin. Robin is his dance partner at QCP Friday night social. They probably spend lots of time dancing to Michael Jackson who is Stephen’s favorite singer/entertainer. Stephen also likes to but Cologne and sunglasses. He’s living la vida loca!
Even with some cognitive difficulties Stephen is able to make his needs known, perform janitorial work at various locations, enjoys a fitness program that includes walking the treadmill, lifting weights, swimming and learning to play soccer.
To make himself understood he uses his own form of sign language. Obviously it works for him and Maxine and Robin are happy to enjoy Stephen’s company. LOL!! My brother the Ladies Man!!
To all the doctors who back in 1963 told our parents Edward & Mable Palmer that Stephen at only age two was hopeless and would not be able to learn or improve, to just put him away in an institution, God is laughing at you now!! Praise God that my parents did not listen to the doctors negative reports but took Stephen home and raised him in a normal, happy, loving home environment. Stephen has surpassed all expectations and I’m sure our parents are smiling down from Heaven at his amazing progress. To all parents and siblings of special needs children ~ BELIEVE! Believe in God, yourself and most of all your child’s ability to overcome any disability and go beyond any medical diagnosis!!
Occupy till I return. The word occupy here means not merely to possess, or to take up space as it often does in our language, but to improve, and in the instance of activism to use our talents, gifts and abilities to advance and expand the opportunities, rights, and freedoms for those who may not have a voice or are under oppression. As we Occupy we Redeem the only the time but people worldwide who are victims of tyranny and domination. Our efforts are instrumental in changing their lives from victims to Victory. So Jesus commands his disciples to improve their talents; to make the most of them; to increase their capability of doing good, and to do it until he comes to call us hence, by death, to meet him. See 1 Corinthians 12:7; Eph 4:7. (http://bible.cc/luke/19-13.htm)
Activism Progress Update: well latest news is that the major subject of debate in the NYS Assembly is the OPWDD 6% proposed cut. As I see it if they’re still debating then there is still a chance to restore the money for Stephen Palmer and all special needs people. Also I’m writing articles for Advocate’s Voice newsletter published by QCDD and I’m joining forces with Occupy Wall Street, Occupy the Hood and Occupy Together. I know I used to disparage the Occupy Movement but now I feel they are more organized and have better direction & focus. Plus I need my fellow Occupiers. We all need them. Let’s all safely and peacefully practice the principles of Civil Disobedience.
I do not believe in anarchy. My calling is to Occupy within the system. The current structure of government is not going to disappear, however we must make our elected officials accountable and hold them responsible. We must make our voices heard by going to City Council Meetings, Town Hall Meetings, engaging our New York State assemblymen in Albany, marching, protesting, rallying and boycotting. I still believe in the power of the vote and the power of the purse. They go hand in hand. Resistance but peaceful resistance.
God Calls Everyone but Some don’t answer. Many including those in the church look at Stephen as somebody who needs to be fixed but it’s not Stephen who has the problem it is the temporarily abled. By saying Stephen needs to be cured, fixed or healed imply that he is defective. No that insulting attitude needs to be fixed. That type of bigotry needs to be cast aside. No more warehousing of the developmentally disabled and people with special needs!! Defenders of the Faith need to defend “the least of these” — those who are vulnerable in our society, and that includes the disabled, children, our persecuted LGBT sisters and brothers, the elderly, abused women and Veterans. No more domestic violence or sexual abuse against women and girls. No more Willowbrooks, No more special needs/developmentally disabled kids/adults hidden away in attics or basements. No more brutal murders and suicides like Matthew Shepherd, Branden Teena & Tyler Clementi.
We who claim to follow Jesus and his principles must speak out and make a stand for justice, for what is right and honorable. We have the power to put an end to evil and injustice. Activism knows no age limitations or religious barriers. Look at the example of our young sister Malala Yousafzai who risked her life to get an education not just for herself but for all girls and young women in Pakistan. Those who are called can no longer hide inside their storefront churches or within mansion edifices. The world needs us now more than ever!
King James Version (KJV)
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.
The Time is now! The Doors are opening! Let’s us march onto Victory! The Battle is not over and Triumph is on the Way!!
Please also take the time to read Occupy until I return Part I published October 14, 2011.
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I felt extremely empowered at the March 15th Rally against the 6% budget cuts yet at the same time I’m profoundly sad, a little frightened and very worried that we live in a society and a culture that can shun and throw away disabled people like my brother Stephen, the poor, the working class, yet celebrate the rich, wealthy and moronic celebrities. How is it in America, my country that I love and served in the Military (U.S. Army) to protect, has become a place where the poor and disabled have to fight for the basic dignities of life, whereas the Koch Brothers, Mayor Bloomberg, Rockefellers, Bushes, Rupert Murdoch, and the 1% are automatically entitled to not only the basics but even the small luxuries that should be available to all Americans. Disability Rights and Activism is also part of the Gospel of Inclusion. We refuse to go back to the days when developmentally and physically disabled children and adults were hidden away in attics or cast into torture chamber institutions never to be seen or heard from. Let’s view disability in a different light as being differently abled, not less than but a person with unique and special abilities.
It’s a crying shame the way we’ve devalued people with disabilities! We should have an allegiance to our most vulnerable populations, especially the disabled. It’s scary to see things moving backwards. I don’t want to see my brother Stephen warehoused in some institution. Willowbrook was a living nightmare for developmentally disabled people and a true disgrace. However each of us has to stand up and fight. Me, Stephen and four van loads of his fellow residents went up to Albany on Tuesday in all that pouring rain to face off our elected officials. I’m doing my part to make sure the disabled are not cast aside like garbage on the trash heap. We need more alternative Voices. We all must speak up. The Rally more than proved that for me. We must not be lulled into apathy and compliancy by fear or the right wing media. We need to return to the civil disobedience of Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks.
One of my girlfriends from the Bronx informed me that I made the 11pm Channel 7 Eyewitness news and on the local Bronx Cable station. I believe that God hears the cries of his children especially the disabled and he will turn Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s heart towards us and restore the 6% budget cuts. Faith without works is dead. We have to make our government accountable to our most vulnerable citizens and for all Americans. Protest. March. Advocate. Be an Activist. Indifference equals death to our basic rights and freedoms. Be the Solution and make it So!!