So much has gone on in the last three weeks that is out of the norm for me. Aside from my son’s preparing to go on to college as a huge step in my life as a parent, I have been in the process of getting more involved in my company’s employee population – specifically the segment of it which falls under the ADA, and this includes myself as a Type 1 diabetic.
As someone who dislikes the spotlight and prefers to operate away from the crowd, starting an Employee Resource Group (ERG) for employees with disabilities has been an uncharacteristic step for me. But as our company has been moving forward to address dysfunction between management and rank and file workers, standing up for our most vulnerable and invisible population has been a no-brainer. Even if the thought of potentially addressing the Board at a future monthly meeting about this group and our aims makes my palms sweat. Nevertheless, we have to speak up or remain invisible, misunderstood, and unacknowledged for our indisputable value.
I have always been up front about my health since I got diagnosed with T1 twelve years ago. That does not mean people take to the knowledge of my illness with empathy and dignity. I continue to experience lack of understanding, and as a person with an unseen illness, actual doubt. This will not prevent me from correcting incorrect assumptions and ungenerous sentiments.
Our society will always have people whose own problems reflect in their attitudes toward others who have no history with them – e.g. hatred, envy, greed – all those deadly sins. Still, we cannot let them carry on the way that they do, because that is not the way we should be living, that is not a way we can continue to survive as a species. As a mother, I can attest that teaching my children to be good people, to give the benefit of the doubt to those who suffer, but also not to tolerate destructive behavior despite that suffering is the only way forward.