I am SO proud to have met so many people who have made changes- helping to remove the m-word from common vernacular. There have been stories piling into my inbox… sadly, after the attack I encountered, not many people want me to share their stories. This truly saddens me. I am proud to not only be a part of a community that has led me to a group of brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, new friends and surrogate mothers and fathers, but to be a part of a group who peacefully advocates for our children.
Sure… some days we want to smash all those proverbial jars of pickles (or, more accurately, smash the phones of people photographing our children without permission they would never get even if they asked), but most of us don’t. Most parents want to model the same behavior we hope our children will practice. We nicely request change- whether it’s to an individual, company or a body of government to recognize a community more respectfully.
So here I am… with my first story. I am SO thankful I have not only had numerous conversations with the woman who made this change, but she will be spending Addie’s birthday party with us this weekend! I will meet a trailblazer! How blessed am I?!
Kate lives in New York and is an educator. She has one of the strongest profiles I’ve ever seen- fierce, sexy and memorable- framed by her blond hair and flawless skin. Every email is perfectly written with satire and vocab words I [sometimes] have to look up. We talk about everything from society to children, school to SNL. Oh yeah, and she has achondroplasia.
The story is brief. She wrote a letter, it was responded to with much understanding and by action alone, the idea that the education was appreciated was shown: the name was changed. I will share pieces of my email with Kate with you:
Rochester, NY is iconic for its businesses. George Eastman and Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb have their headquarters stationed in this rather conservative, white collar town. Thus knowing how important business ethics echos in the community, I felt it necessary to write a letter. Zweigles, Inc. offered a sincere and welcoming response…in a timely fashion, too. It was wonderful. * * * The company explained why they used the word “midget”; it referenced “small.” They agreed; however, its context has different meaning today. And they removed the word from their products.
Kate is unsure that if the story was shared with her local community that our stories would be any different- her proactive letter did not make any headlines. At one event, someone familiar with Kate’s action was discussing the letter that was written and they stated: “Kate, you’re overreacting. It was stupid you even wrote the letter.” Crushed and feeling defeated, she wondered if she had done the right thing, but walking down her local grocer’s aisle and not seeing a word that emanates hatred and mockery told what she, deep inside, already knew. She had made a difference. A change- with just one letter.
Thank you, Kate, for being the first to share your story with me.