by Bambi Weavil
We each have our stories of how hardship has faced our lives, however, there are some voices that can’t be heard in the traditional fashion. I’m here to tell you about one voice that is close to my heart and help raise the voice of many others like him.
I’m the oldest of three children, and my little brother who is now 24 years old, became severely disabled at a young age. As Wilmington Star News reporter Si Cantwell recently wrote in “Family of disabled man fears cuts in state budget” (where both my brother and I are pictured), Max is a happy young man who greets those who meet him with a warm smile. To those who meet Max, I want people to see a beautiful young man who brings joy to our lives by being himself.
I’ve never known any other reality since I was five years old that disabled families deal with sacrifices, disappointments (by outside forces), celebrations and to appreciate life thanks to growing up in being a unofficial third caretaker of him. I also learned from a young age that few people truly understood how much time and care that families like mine have gone through in our fight to make sure that my brother leads a happy and fulfilling life to the best of our ability for him.
Recently, Greta Van Susteren from Fox News, has taken great interest (and has done a exceptional job) on Gretawire (specific clips in the Call to Action NC media room), in helping us get the word out about the proposed NC budget cuts that affect families like mine and Americans like my brother. In the proposed cuts in the current House version of the budget bill,to the CAP-MRDD program in NC, would include decreasing funds as well as requiring the families to co-pay in medicine, equipment and services for those who are disabled in the families.
The General Assembly plans to decrease payments to local disability service providers (Caregivers, Mentors, Habilitation & Rehabilitation Technicians, Nurses, etc.), as well as decrease funding to mental hospitals and reduce the amount of Community Service provision (services provided to individuals with severe needs outside of an institutional environment and in their own communities…these services mean that patients can live at home, with their families, and possibly achieve independence and DIGNITY). These cuts are truly unacceptable as a way to deal with the economic crisis. The disabled community should not be pawned around with, this cut is not a vanity cut. These cuts can affect the stability of the individuals and families on a mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual level.
If you want to read something frustrating, stay up and read the NC budget proposal (Senate Bill 202, 3rd Edition, as passed by North Carolina Senate April 9, 2009) which includes to be funded:
-Zoo – Elephant Exhibit New Restrooms - $300,000
- New Coldwater Fish Hatchery Construction – $7,900,000
If you are reading this, chances are you have been profiled wrongly, discriminated against or not been treated equal based on a variety of reasons, not limited to your sexuality. What is happening to disabled children and adults and the mentally ill in North Carolina is doing just that by singling them out in the bill. Don’t let this happen, please call and e-mail our legislators and senators in North Carolina – I have provided information on a website my family and I have created called Call To Action NC. Please sign the petition, the governor is keeping a eye on it and all the coverage. Feel free to leave comments below this column as well.
We just passed the anti-bullying bull that protects all children in NC, let’s not stop there, and stand up for the disabled and the families who will be greatly impacted if this budget passes the way that it is. Help us give a voice to the voiceless. My family and I thank you.