Justin Dart, Jr. 1930 - 2002

by Teresa Torres

reprinted, with permission, from the gary, indiana, post-tribune

where it introduced justin's final message, shown at right, to

people who may never have known of the man and his work

He was a small man, really, an unimposing figure in a suit and tie, driving a cheap, beat-up old wheelchair, wearing leather cowboy boots and his trademark ten-gallon hat. But he'd roll up to the podium, pull out his little black reading glasses, glance down at his notes, then let loose with a thunderous call to every soul who heard him. He didn't ask anyone to follow him, to follow any leader or any line or political party. He asked us, each of us, to lead.

Justin Dart challenged us to find our own truth, to ignore those who would distract us from what we knew to be right and just, to organize and do what we knew must be done to ensure justice and equality for all.

"I am with you," he'd call out. "I love you. Lead on!"

Those of us who had the pleasure of meeting him even briefly inevitably referred to him by his first name. Somehow, with Justin, to do anything else seemed disrespectful.

Despite his having rubbed elbows with some of the world's most powerful leaders, despite his having played the lead role to obtain passage of what would be called the Civil Rights Act for people with disabilities, despite his having funneled his personal wealth into promoting positive social change for oppressed people of all kinds, Justin considered himself little more than a foot soldier in a long and necessary war.

When in 1998 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedomthe highest award that can be given to a private citizenhe sent out hundreds of certificates inscribed with individual names in which he told each of us that he was but a symbol for the work we had done together, that the Medal belonged to each and all of us, his fellow patriots.

That was typical Justin. So was his taking the time, as he prepared for his personal passage from this life, to leave a message of hope to all Americans. It was into their hands that he passed the torch. He asked us not to mourn his death, but to organize."Lead on," he told us one last time.

He believed in us, he is with us, and we shall not fail him.

The fire he lit in so many hearts will not go out; it has been renewed by his passing. We can only hope that reading Justin's words will rekindle a fire or two in the hearts of many who did not know him, people who may only dimly remember the dream of justice for all, the dream left to us by other fallen patriots.

We must, and we shall, lead on.

page 12 · mouth magazin

"Death is not a tragedy....

I am with you. I love you. Lead on!"

his final message to us all:

Dearly Beloved:

Listen to the heart of this old soldier. As with all of us the time comes when body and mind are battered and weary. But I do not go quietly into the night. I do not give up struggling to be a responsible contributor to the sacred continuum of human life.

I do not give up struggling to overcome my weakness, to conform my life and that part of my life called death to the great values of the human dream.

Death is not a tragedy. It is not an evil from which we must escape. Death is as natural as birth. Like childbirth, death is often a time of fear and pain, but also of profound beauty, of celebration of the mystery and majesty which is life pushing its horizons toward oneness with the truth of mother universe. The days of dying carry a special responsibility. There is a great potential to communicate values in a uniquely powerful way the person who dies demonstrating for civil rights.

Let my final actions thunder of love, solidarity, protest of empowerment.

I adamantly protest the richest culture in the history of the world, a culture which has the obvious potential to create a golden age of science and democracy dedicated to maximizing the quality of life of every person, but which still squanders the majority of its human and physical capital on modern versions of primitive symbols of power and prestige.

I adamantly protest the richest culture in the history of the world which still incarcerates millions of humans with and without disabilities in barbaric

institutions, backrooms and worse, windowless cells of oppressive perceptions, for the lack of the most elementary empowerment supports.

I call for solidarity among all who love justice, all who love life, to create a revolution that will empower every single human being to govern his or her life, to govern the society and to be fully productive of life quality for self and for all.

I do so love all the patriots of this and every nation who have fought and sacrificed to bring us to the threshold of this beautiful human dream. I do so love America the beautiful and our wild, creative, beautiful people. I do so love you, my beautiful colleagues in the disability and civil rights movement.

My relationship with Yoshiko Dart includes, but also transcends, love as the word is normally defined. She is my wife, my partner, my mentor, my leader and my inspiration to believe that the human dream can live. She is the greatest human being I have ever known.

Yoshiko, beloved colleagues, I am the luckiest man in the world to have been associated with you. Thanks to you, I die free. Thanks to you, I die in the joy of struggle. Thanks to you, I die in the beautiful belief that the revolution of

empowerment will go on.

I love you so much.

I'm with you always.

Lead on! Lead on!

photo by tom olin

september - october 2002 · page 13

· a letter to justin on the day of his death ·

Dear Justin,

We've moved and I don't know if I ever gave you my new address. Remember Ginny, my lover? We're in Lancaster, Pa., now so I can follow an old dream and apply for seminary next year.

This morning while scouting for a cheap breakfast diner we heard a song on the radio"They say a hero will save us but I'm not going to stand here and wait/I'll hold onto the wings of the eagles/watch as we all fly away." I remembered how you once told me that "looking for a leader is like looking in a dark room for a black cat," and shared that memory with Ginny and we talked about you for a little while, your philosophy that we are all leaders. We talked about how you've been ill, how I hoped there'd be time to get down to Washington, D.C., and interview you for Mouth again this summer. Then we talked about other stuff, couple stuff, like what color to paint our living room.

At home I checked my e-mail and saw you died this morning, maybe even while we remembered you. You sent us all a good-bye message and like hundreds of others I sat in shock, sobbing, as I read:

"Like childbirth, death is often a time of fear and pain, but also of profound beauty, of celebration of the mystery and majesty which is life pushing its horizons toward oneness with the truth of mother universe.The days of dying carry a special responsibility.There is a great potential to communicate values in a uniquely powerful waythe person who dies demonstrating for civil rights."

Even so, Justin, your death is like the death of my favorite uncle. I'll never hear your powerful voice again, never interview you again, never get to hear from your own lips why a rich American white boy would give up his wheelchair to live like a disabled peasant in a foreign land, crawling to the road from an abandoned farmhouse.

I'll never again receive a letter from you saying, "I love you. Lead on." I'll never get to ask your advice on how we can publicly debate and wrestle with important issues without being accused of "taking it too personally." I'll never know how you think we can wake our community up to the fact that the ADAin large part your heritageis not only

under attack but being defeated.

I've got this nightmare that with each Supreme Court decision stripping away a piece of the ADA, a piece of you died, Justin. WhackOlmstead is a lot weaker than we want to let on. BangGarrett should have been ours, if the damn Court bothered to read the law they seem hell-bent to destroy. Crackcome on! Williams destroyed her hands and arms working for the MAN and the man won. Sorry babe, says "Justice" O'Connor, your body's broke, go on home maybe you should check out welfare." Rat-a-tat-tat, there goes Echazabal, and the old you're-a-hazard-to-yourself-and-others argument is enshrined in law. Boomout with Barnett go a host of reasonable accommodations in employment policies. CrunchWe lost Gorman, too, and now cities won't be punished when they slam us off the walls of police vans.

And there you must have sat, a piece of your soul leaking out with each defeat a terrible nightmare. "The great leader who is going to save us is not there," you told me almost 10 years ago. "We have to take the power, the responsibility and the resources to solve our own problems. We may not have created our problems, but it is up to us to solve them all."

OK, Justin, you've proved your point. We'll stop them, we'll save the ADA. Just please come on back home.

I have stopped crying now, long enough to call a dear friend who also loves you. She says I should realize you're not really gone, you've just moved out ahead of us once more."He's crossed over, he'll be fine," she told me.

I'm sure she's right and you are home. But from all of us here on earth, struggling to persist without your voice and your wisdom, let me say: We love you, Justin. You are now a patriotic citizen of Mother Universe. Lead on. Lead on.


Josie Byzek

page 14 · mouth magazin

room for a black cat. They kept looking, but the cat wasn't there."

The great leader who is going to save us is not there. We have to take the power, the responsibility and the resources to solve our own problems. We may not have created our own problems, but it is up to us to solve them all."

"You know, I was fired from that job [Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration]. I was fired for telling Congress what I thought about the federal bureaucracy. It was during the Reagan years, and it was at a congressional hearing. I was asked to testify about the Vocational Rehabilitation system, and I said, "Mr. Chairman, you have my official statement. Now I would like to make a statement of conscience. And I did. And they fired me.

"Well, they were going to fire me anyway, so I wanted to tell them what I thought about the system first."

Josie: And what did you tell them?

"It needs a real overhaul. VR could be like the centers for independent living. A good start would be putting people with disabilities in control."

"To have a training period is one thing. To claim that you're training people and then to have them permanently in a sweatshop is something else. In sheltered workshops, real employment is retarded."

"I went to Philadelphia last Christmas where I met people no more disabled than I who lived in a nursing home. I asked one man I saw in the lobby, 'Would you like to get out in the community and maybe get a job?' He shrugged and said, 'Yeah, I guess so.'

"Later it hit me, what this guy must have thought: 'Here's this asshole asks me if I would like to leave. I've been here sixteen years. He comes in with no solutions and asks if I would like to go out in the community. He comes in here on Christmas day, gets his picture taken with me, then he'll go home and get his picture taken with the President.'

"It struck me: he was incarcerated there with no due process of the law. I would sooner be a beggar on the street than a prisoner in a nursing home.

"We're advocating, we're doing things. But he's still there. He's still there. I think differently about it all now."

the price of speaking truth

sheltered exploitation

ask a stupid question

photo by tom olin

· justin said ·

From "Justin Says," an interview with Justin Dart, Jr., by Josie Byzek in Mouth #29, January 1995.

the politics of civil rights

"The individual has to realize that the magical Free Market or the magical Big Government doesn't work to empower us.

"I don't think most people know the difference between traditional liberalism and our movement. Unlike other minorities, we have not been advocating for big daddy government. That is because we have been devastatingly subject to oppressive, paternalistic governmentthe medical model, the sheltered workshop, the entire welfare system, the Jerry Lewis mentality."

"We keep looking for the great leader to send to Washington. In the Sixties, during a conversation about who we were going to get to save us, a guy commented that "I'm reminded of people looking in a dark

'the cat wasn't there'

september - october 2002 · page 15

· he cheered us on ·

by Diane Coleman
I was new to disability rights and had just begun organizing with Adapt when I first met Justin in 1987.

This was not long after he had issued his statement of conscience about the paternalism of the Rehabilitation Services Administration toward people with disabilities, a bold and courageous action which cost him his job.

I had a big "We the People" sign attached to the back of my chair for Adapt's march in San Francisco. Justin wheeled up to join us. [Photo, top left, shows Justin with Adapt in Philadelphia.] This was back before Adapt had any support in most of our community, so his support meant all the more. I think he was the first government official to do anything like this.

The next April, in 1988, Adapt took over the Department of Transportation offices in D.C. We had decided not to leave, and it was going to get very coldit went down to 11 degrees that night. Justin and Yoshiko found out where we were, what we were doing, and brought us hot cocoa. Adapt was often criticized back then, mainly for its "tactics," and it meant so much to have a hero, a man so rightly respected by everyone, come to support us. He constantly went out of his way to give personal words and acts of encouragement to so many.

Justin's support never wavered. This year, in May, as Adapt marched to the White House on Mother's Day, Justin and Yoshiko were at the corner as we filed past, cheering us on one more time. When he saw me, he reached into his pocket, took out a frayed black-and-white Not Dead Yet sticker that he'd been carrying for a long time, smiled, and waved. He had supported Not Dead Yet with a beautiful speech at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 [see photo center left], and all the way since then.

Through the years, Justin increasingly spoke of people with disabilities as leaders, leaders for our movement and leaders for all. He spoke more and more about his vision of the importance of our role in the great struggle for humankind.

I will remember him for the many kindnesses he showed to those he called his fellow soldiers in justice, and most of all for his strong and constant spirit. He reminded us over and over again of who we are and how much we have to offer humanity.

in the photo above, justin dart and

diane coleman speak out for micassa.

all photos by tom olin.

page 16 · mouth magazin

· "hallelujah, i'm a human being!" ·

by Danny Robert and Nadina LaSpina,

excerpted from New York Able Newspaper

it was justin who made me believe I could be a leader. He, the father of the disability rights movement, gave me, a newborn crip, his home phone number, encouraged me to call him any time.

Seeing Justin on the stage, bigger than life, with his cowboy hat and cowboy boots, hearing him speak of our ADA, exclaiming, "Hallelujah, I'm a human being," while thousands cheered, was the culmination of a dream. It affirmed my new and proud identity, my happiness at being part of the disability community. Danny

"Father of our movement" Justin took that title very seriously, especially as he got older. He always made himself accessible to disabled people who wanted to be part of the movement.

One of Justin's greatest talents was to immediately see your potential and to nurture that potential in every way, to make it bloom into real leadership.

No matter who you were, how little you had accomplished and how little you knew, he made you feel that you were vitally important to our movement, made you believe that you could be a leader and should be a leader. He wanted us to feel proud of the work we did so we would keep doing more.


all photos by tom olin

september - october 2002 · page 17

· justin's favorite page of mouth magazine ·

Back in 1998,

when Dolores King's letter hit my desk, I transcribed her blindwoman scrawl and faxed it to Justin. Next morning he called to ask if the letter was true.

Justin asks? You find out. So I called around. First Dolores, who told me more great stories, one about the nursing home calling in a shrink to test her sanity. When he asked if she liked sex, she compared it to hot, homemade apple pie and asked him, "Who wouldn't go back for seconds!"

Later I confirmed the facts in her letter with a New York newspaper editor and a health department operative. I told Justin, then published it in the Mouth.

Last winter he called, asking in that Old Testament voice of his if her story was actually true. A few weeks later he called again. Then again. "Listen," I almost growled, "I don't print lies in the Mouth." But you don't talk to Justin that way. I gave him her phone number, twice.

His mind hadn't gone soggy, if that's what you're thinking. My guess is he wanted to write about her.

Or maybe he'd kept her letter, loving it all that time. Either way, I hope he called Dolores King. She'd want

to know she was his hero:

a woman who takes her own life in her own hands, living out her truth and Justin's great dream of individual empowerment. L.G.

page 18 · mouth magazin

· justin's favorite photo of himself ·

photos by tom olin
Tom Olin

took hundreds of photographs of Justin Dart over the years. They weren't chores for Tom but acts of love. The photo at left, Tom says, was the man's own favorite.

"It's not like one you or I would pickwhere we look the best. But when you see it, you'll know why he liked it. He was down in the middle of things, with the people. That was Justin."

Note the blonde woman at top of the photo, near the center. Our leader wasn't just present with the crowd. He had connected. He loved that.

A short time before Justin died, Tom said he'd shot some new photos, "and he seems more transparent all the time."

Hearing that,

I began to dread that Justin would grow ever more transparent until he simply disappeared into the light. Now he's gone and done it. Damn. L.G.

september - october 2002 · page 19

· using justin: to deliver a message of justice ·

photos by tom olin
by Lucy Gwin

"Use me," he said.

And this is a picture of Justin being used. No, that's not Justin seated, at left, behind Joe Ehman. It's Josie Byzek. Seated on the right is Theresa Carroll, behind her George Ebert. Tom Olin was on hand, taking the photos. I was there too, growling from time to time.

So where is Justin in this photo? He's none of the five suits, employees of Genessee Hospital in Rochester, New York, target of our protest when, in 1996, Mouth's bookkeeper, Lil Conlon, was imprisoned on their psych floor. (Lil, no crazier than any of us, admitted she'd "gotten a bit melodramatic" about

a personal matter. The sheriff was summoned. Next stop psych lockup.)

Shrinks don't listen to reason so we took on the hospital's administrators. That's their spokesperson, a Mrs. Dalmath, on the telephone. Justin was down in D.C. on the other end of the line but all the same fully present in the room. He had called in to lend his personal support.

We asked Justin to explain to the administrators that liberty and justice for all are patriotic, not subversive, concepts. He agreed, so we handed over the phone. "Justin Dart wants a word with you," we told them.

The fishy-eyed administrator (standing at left in the photo) drew in his breath. "Justin Dart? The Justin Dart? Of Dart Industries?"

I'd never heard of Dart Industries but could hear the cash register ring when he said it. Sounds like bargaining power. I nodded, "Sure enough. And you might maybe have heard of his connection with the Americans with Disabilities Act."

"Ca-ching," went that register again, Fish Eyes thinking, "Oh nooooo! Big pockets, big lawsuits!"

Mrs. Dalmath accepted the receiver, introduced herself, and began a novelfor heradventure. She shuddup and listened. We will never know what Justin said, but we saw the effect. Not once did she trot out, for him, her soothe-the-rabble responses, her admonitions to "behave appropriately," her knee-jerk common sense about how a person with mental illness might become violent if released too

quickly, thereby creating a liability for Genessee Hospital.

Justin didn't have to sit through any of that. Occasionally she'd say, "Yes, sir," or "Umm-hmmm. I see." But for fifteen minutes or so, she shuddup and listened.

Even now I would give an eye tooth or two to hear Justin's end of the conversation. No, it didn't win Lil's release. Like everyone else on the psych floor, she stayed exactly 28 days, the limit her insurance would cover. Too much media coverage, I think now; the hospital couldn't back down.

During the protest we got one last chance to leave before they called the police. Three of us stayed, were arrested and processed on the spot, released pending our day in courtbut only if we would agree to leave the hospital grounds forthwith. "And don't come back," one cop warned.

"Hey, this is our neighborhood hospital! What if we have a medical emergency?"

"Let me put it this way," he said. "Don't come back unless you get hit by a truck."

Over the 28 days ahead, Justin and Yoshiko called to see how the battle was going, how Lil was faring. I apologized for invoking his name without his express permission, for stranding him on the phone with the bubble-brained Mrs. Dalmathfor using him. Mindful of his health, I said I didn't want to use him and wear him out.

"Not at all," he said. "Go on. Use me up."

page 20 · mouth magazin

· using justin: to get ourselves a cil ·

by Teresa Torres

Anybody who's been reading about the mess in Indiana knows that this state is light years away from getting it. Back in 1991, Indiana didn't get it even more than they don't get it now.

The state's first Center for Independent Living had been awarded federal funding, with the state's endorsement. Then a charity for the blind changed its name to qualify as the second IL center. Both of these theoretical CILs were very professional. The state was proud to trot out their directors, both of whom were former VR counselors. One of them even had a disability.

We were a different breed: a raggedy, rowdy bunch of folks who had incorporated Everybody Counts as a non-profit in 1986 and later joined with Adapt. We were and are close to some kickass Chicago advocates and activists. Our aim was to become a Center for Independent Living.

Back then, the only way you could get federal Part C dollars was for the state to submit your application to the feds. Indiana turned its nose up at us and told us to come back when we grew up.

"You need to be certified as a rehabilitation center," the big shots said. "You need to become more professional."

"We've been providing services in our community for four years with funding from other agencies," we told them. "We have a quarter million dollar budget, and independent audits every year."

"You need a track record in providing rehabilitation services."

"But we don't want to be a rehab center, we want to be an independent living center."

"Fat chance." No, they didn't use those words, but their rolling eyes and silly smirks said it all.

Not long after that, Justin Dart came to town for a chat with folks who were on the state's list of Indiana's disability rights leadership. Somebody must have screwed up because we got an invitation and boy, were the big shots pissed to see us come in the door. The fact that we were among the handful of people from our state who actually knew who Justin Dart was, what he had done and what he stood for, that we were honored to see him in person, didn't seem to matter.

Deputy Big Shot waggled her finger at us, warning us to behave. Her secretary said, "That's

right," just to be sure we understood. Another state guy threw us a dirty look.

Justin was, of course, magnificent. He talked of empowerment, of solidarity, of moving from advisory committees to leadership positions, of being in control of our own resources. After the applause (the rest of the room clapped politely, we sorta whooped), he took a few questions.

The hand-picked Hoosiers in their silk suits and scarves asked him if he was enjoying his visit. Me,

I had to ask how we could get the power brokers in Indiana to understand that it was a new day, that people with disabilities could be professionalsprofessional advocates, professional peer counselors, professional activistswithout having masters degrees in rehabilitation.

Deputy Big Shot, sitting a few rows behind me, choked, audibly. The guy next to her had to pat her on the back. Justin asked if I had a card, and would I bring it up to him later. He recognized us as real advocates up against the paternalism he'd sworn to fight. He didn't say any of that. He accomplished it by asking to speak with me.

I was scooting along in the line of folks who wanted to shake Justin's hand when a deep voice behind me boomed out "Ms. Torres?" It was the guy who had been sitting next to Deputy Big Shot. He introduced himself as the new Chief Big Shot and said he understood we needed to talk. "We wouldn't want you to give anybody the wrong idea about Indiana," he said. "Can we set up a meeting?"

A few weeks later, I got my first letter from Justin (it's still up on my wall, next to the Freedom Clearinghouse license to change the system that he signed), and things were in motion to establish Everybody Counts as a CIL, one which quickly developed a reputation for having no fear when it comes to systems advocacy.

The big shots never forgave us.

september - october 2002 · page 21

· justin's last will and testimony ·

What follows are excerpts from Justin Dart's "With Liberty and Justice for All: Toward a Culture of Individualized Empowerment," a paper published in mid-July by his widow, Yoshiko Dart. While more of his writings will reach us at a later date, we believe it's fair to consider this paper his last will. It is certainly an exercise of his moral authority.

For a copy of the full text, download it from the internet at www.mouthmag.com.

Beloved colleagues,

this writing attempts to say one thing which dominates the consciousness of my sunset time.

The first goal, the burning vision, of 21st century people must be the creation of a culture that guarantees the tools and choices of individualized empowerment to every person.

The present politics and media are dominated by the powerful forces of the status quo and of retreat. The people of America are confronted by a painfully divided society: conspicuous prosperity at the top and an increasing underclass of people mired in poverty, involvement with the courts and dependence on welfare and charity. Traditional culture is designed to empower only those who have the traditional qualifications

photo by tom olin
and connections to participate in a hierarchy of power and prestige. This is in total conflict with the goal of democracy: the best life for all.

We must give up life as usual and devote long years of passionate, single-minded, 365 day-a-year advocacy for individualized empowerment. This writing will present ways to do it successfully.

Americans are instinctively concerned about a politics of status quo and retreat. They seek a positive vision for the 21st century. A forward vision that includes all unconditionally, that loves them for their distinctive humanity rather than their TV bodies and personalities

and their ad agency lifestyles.

We have that vision: individualized empowerment of all. A society based on the value that every human life is equally sacred and equally worthy of optimal personalized empowerment to achieve his or her best possible quality of life. An America for all. A world for all.

Forced to deal with the unique challenges of disability, our disability rights movement has played a leading role in pioneering the infant science of individualized empowerment. Many of ouryourexperiments have had dazzling success. We of the disability community have a unique ability and therefore a unique responsibility, to lead the world toward a culture that empow


'we who love democracy must stop being

page 22 · mouth magazin

photo by p. sue kullen
ers all to live the life of quality that is possible.

Now is the time to eliminate the deadly residue of traditional authoritarian culture which attempts to create cookie-cutter people for hierarchies of privilege. Millions who do not fit the stereotypical molds are forced into an underclass of poverty and degrading dependence on welfare and charity.

Democracy is under attack. Now is the time to create a culture that focuses the full force of science and free enterprise democracy on the individualized empowerment of all people to achieve their unique, personal, God-given potential.

The culture of individualized empowerment will provide all human beings the customized education and services, and the customized tools, to meet each of their distinctive needs and to maximize each of their distinctive abilities.

This will not mean that individuals are given lock-step formulae for success, but rather that they are empowered to make their own choices and to create their own successful lives based on the development of their best personal abilities and to fulfill their self-evident responsibilities to the inter

ependent quality of democracy.


We who love democracy must mobilize to save it. We must give up life as usual. We must become passionate everyday advocates for democracyin our homes, in our communities, in the media, in our churches and civic

organizations and especially in the elections of 2002 and 2004.

I am not saying that the advocates of retreat are evil people who are stealing democracy from innocent citizens. In many ways they are usgrasping fearfully for a vision in a time of terrifying change and complexity.

We the people enable them to do everything they dothrough our direct supportfinancially, in the polls, at the voting places, through our conformity to their dogmatic political correctness and especially through our roles as escapist spectators of democracy rather than active members. We who love democracy must stop being spectators and start being leaders.

You have the power. Make the dream live.

The legitimacy of our goal is self-evident. But can we overcome the psychology and the politics of retreat? Can we overcome forces that invest billions in the maintenance of traditional stereotypes? Not quickly, not easily. But we can win. We have the ultimate powers: people, truth, love. We have you. We have each other.

Colleagues, you have

the power, and therefore the responsibility, to defend democracy and to create

a society of individualized empowerment for all. Because you are the society. Society is not a magical super-god that can give or withhold quality of life.


spectators and start being leaders.'

september - october 2002 · page 23

· last will and testimony, continued ·

Ten Ways You Can Make the Dream Live

· Give up life as usualescapist television and games, time-consuming, expensive travel and recreationand devote the time to passionate advocacy for individualized empowerment.

· Give up politically and socially correct conversation and become a single-minded, repetitious communicator of the message of individualized empowerment so that when people see you across the street, your message will register in their minds even though you say nothing.

· Speak to people with words of love, giving them sincere, loving praise for the distinctive positives that everybody has. They will be glad to see you coming and be far more likely to internalize your message of empowerment.

· Recruit your family members and friends first. People from age one to one hundred can be good advocates. Severely disabled people living in nursing homes can be good advocates. Small babies and dogs can carry good buttons and signs with great effect.

· The vital election campaigns of 2002 and 2004 are fully underway. Become a politician, promoting your agenda every day through every political

Society is nothing more than what you do and think every day. When you speak, society speaks. When you change, society changes. When you expose wrongdoing, turn off the ads, and boycott the interests that support the far right, they are weakened instantly. When enough people do it, the power of the politics of retreat is gone. They have little money except what we give them.

We need your aggressive leadership to increase our passion and our tiny empowerment army one hundred-fold. We need leaders who

are ready to live, and if necessary to die, for democracy.

You can lead. Unlike our opponents on the far right, you will not be able to buy multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. But if you reach out constantly, repetitively, with love and truth, spoken and lived, to everyone in your personal universe, you can be a walking/rolling/talking ad for individualized empowerment that no money could buy. Your truth in action will change the part of society that you are. The intensity of your loving, truthful action will be a powerful influence on others.

photo by tom olin

'You will make the choice: to be an explosion of love

page 24 · mouth magazin

process. Volunteer and contribute money to the campaigns of good politicians. You will have ten times more influence than if you simply ask them for favors. Get into politics as if your life depended on itbecause it doesand the lives of your children's children.

· Become a media person. Write letters to the editors, participate in radio and TV talk shows, become friends with media employees and business and political staff. Become a media professional.

· Use the electronic technology to send out brief talking points on the issues. Make sure they are 100 percent accurate. Most political advocacy is obvious hyperbole. It goes directly into the wastebasket.

· Be an aggressive participant in your local and national advocacy organizations, from AAPD, LCCR, CCD, NCIL, ADAPT, DREDF, People First, psychiatric survivor networks, and People for the American Way to your local independent living center, disability and civil rights coalitions. If you support them, they will support your advocacy for individualized empowerment.

· If there is no cross-disability action group in your area, form one. Thirteen penniless people started the Christian revolution and the same number started the modern Chinese revolution.

many of youhave given their fortunes, their sweat, often their blood to move free enterprise democracy toward liberty, justice, and prosperity for all. We owe our grandchildren the same passionate dedication.

We must fight as we have never fought before, not simply to defend our movement and democracy, but to lift the eyes of America to a vision of action that will make the patriots' Dream live.

Our vision: Passionate Love for Principle in Action.

United in love and justice, we shall overcome!

· When necessary, send your message of love and truth with militant action. You will be surprised how a small demonstration at a political, media or business office can change attitudes.

We cannot afford

not to do it. Emergency room health care costs twice as much as guaranteed quality health insurance. Policemen, prisons, substance abuse, welfare and charity cost far more than guaranteed subsidies for quality education and employment.

Institutions, hospitals and nursing homes cost far more than guaranteed community-based services. Home-lessness and bread lines cost far more than guarantees of subsidies for housing and nutrition.

Today we have an historic window of opportunity to expand the horizons and the quality of humanity. We have this opportunity because patriots past and presentincluding

photo by tom olin

september - october 2002 · page 25

for all, or to be a spectator of unspeakable tragedy.'

september - october 2002 · page 25