Skip to main content

That's what the Illinois state representative told me when I pleaded to be included on the crowded speaker's list for the Illinois General Assembly House committee hearing on the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

180 seconds to tell the story of 22 years of neglect, abuse, and rights violations.  

But it's more time than anybody ever gave Will to tell it.

I've written a lot about my late friend Will's struggle to live with some basic human rights.  Here is a website I set up to tell some of his story:

Justice For Will

So I spent hours writing and re-writing my testimony.  My partner in this endeavor warned me it was too emotional. "Speak like you are giving an academic treatise!", this dialectical materialist advised.  Exactly wrong, others said, urging me to make it as pathos filled as possible, warning that only the most wrenching tales would be remembered.  

But how do you distill an epic struggle, one that involved the most emblematic of themes - exploitation for profit versus a courageous fight for self-determination, segregation versus inclusion, even life and death - into three bloody minutes?  Of course, I'm being allowed to submit written documentation, but I know how the game works.  Only the most compelling tales will lure busy aides and reps to read the documentation.  

So I'm still revising, tearing up, and re-doing.  It's one battle in a very long war for justice.    My son and I managed to get the tale told in a brief Youtube clip, which I wish I could show the committee (it's longer than three minutes, but the Bruce Springsteen music makes it go pretty quickly)

If all of your struggles and all the injustice you suffered at the hands of others had to be summed up by another in less time than it takes to wait at a longish stoplight, what would you want emphasized?  It's a fearsome task.  I'm pretty  sure I'm not worthy to do it.  I'm afraid to try; I'm afraid not to.   I'm afraid to fail. Epic fear, soul shattering frustration,  searing pain, and the most wrenching grief I've ever felt - those have all been part of my life since I met, loved, and lost Will.  But how often do you get to have an avatar of courage in your life?  Bob Marley said:

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
I found one.
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site