Peyton Goddard gave the keynote address at the 2013 TASH Conference in Chicago on December 11th, 2013.
You can watch, hear and read a transcript of her speech ‘here‘. Peyton does not speak, but instead types to communicate. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the TASH Conference and hear her speech.
“Understated and devalued, I was segregated and secluded, walled-in for controlling decades, and repeatedly traumatized by bullying abusers.”
Peyton describes her existence prior to learning how to communicate through typing.
“I’m less. I’m freak. I’m throwaway trash. Daily, for decades, I try but cannot be the person you want me to be.”
“Your answer was to fix me, to change me to be what you feared not. To cure me of being ME. I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”
Read that again – “I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”
“Segregation is the beast whose bite cheats us all. The isolation of people different renders you and me strangers. Reality is that you are me and I am you.”
At the crux of any prejudice is the idea that “I” am different, separate and, ultimately “superior”. To live with this delusion, we must keep ourselves apart from those we believe “inferior”. If we live together, in a world that embraces all humans, we lose our superior/inferior status. This is the world I strive and hope for. This is the world I want my children to inhabit.
*For more of Peyton’s wisdom, read her book, I am intelligent. I interviewed Peyton and Dianne for the Huffington Post. You can read that interview ‘here‘.
Emma wrote this folk tale yesterday. She gave us permission to post it here on the blog. It took her 45 minutes, pointing to one letter after another. She is so, so talented!
“Why People Walk With Two Legs Instead of Four
“Many years ago, people were walking on all fours like many animals. Reaching for food meant they could use front arms or back legs. They were very strong. Other animals were not afraid of them. They looked at other animals as family.
“There was much to see from being so low to the ground. There was much to touch from living in the dirt and the grass. They tasted whatever they could. People now are more fussy with food. The smells were all they knew.
“What is missing?
“You are right if you said: sound. People heard sounds from high above and they did not know where they were coming from. The sounds were soft and silky. Days went by without knowledge of sound. One people leader wanted badly to hear it louder. The only way she thought possible was to be taller. She practiced standing on her back legs and it was successful. Everyone else followed. The soft and silky sounds were birds chirping.”
Emma began writing this series of folk tales while we were in Texas last month. She has written five now and the third one was entitled, Why People Walk on Two Legs. You can read it by clicking on the link, but in it she wrote, “They had to work in the fields wearing knee-shoes and regular shoes. They could not run fast that way.” I love that! She goes on to talk about a king who had outlawed walking, until he was injured from all that crawling around and the only remedy was for him to walk, whereupon he made it legal for people to walk on their two feet and so they did, never looking back. To me, that story was about how until we experience what another goes through, we often remain divided, though I have no idea if that was her intent. This one is completely different, even though the titles are similar.
I am in Chicago at the TASH conference, where Ibby, Leah Kelly and I are presenting first thing this morning on Relationships and Multi-media (so excited to be with my two wonderful friends!)
Em giving the Queen’s wave astride her favorite statue – Balto