A Look at some of our assumptions…
All organizations and their activities are based on a set of assumptions. These assumptions can be conscious and well-articulated, or they can be unconscious and unknown even to the people who carry out the activities of the organization. Different assumptions lead people in different directions.
For example, some people feel that people with disabilities belong with their own kind. They say it in a more kindly way, often using the language of readiness and therapeutics, but the bottom line is that people are going to be expected to spend a lot of their time with people who have the same label.
Other people have the assumption that we as a community should be working together to find ways to live with less of this with their own kind mentality and should be looking to find ways for people to be included in the everyday life of community and its members.
Here is a brief look at the assumptions we hold at Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy:
- We assume that everybody matters a lot.
- We assume that the world is imperfect, that everyone in it is imperfect.
- We assume that disability is a social construct that puts people in lower social status than the majority of other people in the culture.
- We assume that there are certain common “wounds” that are struck as the person becomes more and more devalued within the culture – rejection, segregation from ordinary community life, and low expectations are just a few of these “wounds.” In very broad terms we ask citizen advocates to try and protect individual people from these wounds.
- We assume that there are complex forces afoot in the world that consistently, as a matter of course, diminish and take the lives of people who are devalued and dismissed from our culture’s concern because of having a disability. These forces are both informal and formal and often take on the language of benevolence.
- We believe that an intentional ally, an advocate, standing shoulder to shoulder with a person who is pushed to the bottom and edge of culture and community, can offer protection as well as opportunity and insight.
- We believe that the person who is pushed to the bottom can offer purpose, perspective and possibility in the life of the advocate and larger community.
- We believe that responsible personal action, given freely, is the foundation of a just and sustainable society and community.