There have been a lot of end-of-summer parties going on. Sadly, this also means a need for entertainment. My child will always be my baby. That being said, she’s not entertainment. But people need work. Lord, do I know this to be true.
With this in mind, I’ve sent out a letter using an outline of things I want “bookers” to know at venues. Sometimes I add more facts, or less verbiage because my target audience might not be a reader. Many times I know that my letter will be “lost”… so I also send it via email to anyone’s address I can find online and to their Facebook page. I generally do not post publicly about the events, because that draws more attention and I do enough of that (read: pickles, Cafe Press…), but I figured many people out there find similar posts on places like Craigslist, and are unsure of how to proceed. One parent, in particular had BCC’d me on an email they sent while irate. The response back wasn’t pretty… and the written argument escalated for a week before the venue blocked them. The parent was deflated and disheartened and asked me what went wrong.
My top tips are:
1. Be concise and not too personal. This isn’t just your friend, child, spouse. This is the community we are representing and are looking for respect and equality throughout. 2. Some people in our community are looking for these jobs… try to not bash them for it. No one wants to exploit themselves, but we’ve all got at least one mouth to feed.
3. Cool the passion. Never send anything mad. It’s called a crime of passion… and you can’t take it back.
4. Tailor your tactics to your audience. Phone calls, letters, emails, tweets, blog posts… there are countless ways you can make a change. Below is my outline, but sometimes I write half of this, other times I just use it as points during a phone call with someone I’m sure will hang up (always be polite on the phone- always), and there are times I write in true Chelley fashion- 1,000 heartfelt words that must make my case… right?
5. Grammar check. There is nothing worse than trying to be serious and you misspell or misuse a word. Advocacy is as professional as it is personal.
My outline is as follows:
I saw your ad on (source). I understand your posting was in a professional capacity, however I feel a bit embarrassed about your request for entertainment. Your search will undoubtedly find you “talent” because everyone needs to work, and there’s always more money to be made in exploitation- which is what you’re looking for. While you’re interviewing, please recognize “dwarfs” (I never rewrite the m-word) are a part of a group of fellow (equal) humans who have a form of dwarfism (I always list a few facts about dwarfism).
Like you or I, people with dwarfism can have a spouse, children, jobs, and suffer the same hardships we all have with a down-turned economy.
I ask that you remember this when you meet others you hire for your event, and offer respect. Many people in the dwarfism community lack one of the basic human rights growing up in a society where “big” is celebrated: respect. It’s as simple as a handshake and eye contact. While you may not reconsider your requests for entertainment this summer (Fall, Winter, Spring) season, I ask you to reevaluate your priorities and image in the upcoming year.
Thank you for hearing my concerns,
I hope this helps you, Reader, as you advance your advocacy forward for our community. Bringing awareness can be as gentle as a letter, or as ferocious as a Facebook petition. Thank you for all you do!