“Empowerment”… what is it?
Empowerment is when we who have disabilities reject stereotyped roles of eternal childhood, failure and subservience… when we say “no” to the big lie that we can trust paternalistic authority to give us equality and the good life.
Empowerment is when we are enabled to take control of our own lives and to participate as equals in controlling government and the programs that affect us. Empowerment is when we take full responsibility to utilize all of our abilities to produce a life of quality for ourselves, for our families, and for our communities.
Empowerment is when the rehabilitation counselor, the teacher, the employer, takes the approach of a good coach or of a good attorney – working in partnership with each individual client to create a customized program designed to enable that individual to achieve what that individual wants to achieve.
Empowerment is what we do for top company executives, national leaders, soldiers and doctors when we really need those people to protect our money, our liberty, and our lives. Colleagues, the empowerment society will not occur until we understand that the responsible leaders are all of us – that the disabled can be any of us – and that the productivity and quality of life of the person with mental illness or deafness, are just as important to our pocketbooks and to our happiness as the productivity of the President of Coca Cola and the quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
Justin Dart, Jr