Our dear — sadly late — friend Laura Hershey is being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
Laura Ann Hershey – Internationally recognized writer, activist and advocate for the disabled community who challenged and changed the public’s perception of disability – Littleton, CO. Consultant to Denver metro cities and entities assisting with ADA implementation. President’s Award recipient in 1988 for her efforts nationally, including pressuring the Social Security Administration to allow disabled people to work, and lobbying to increase visibility of LGBT people with disabilities, to improve Medicaid services and to promote the rights of home care workers.
This fills my heart with joy at the choice, and sadness that she left us way too soon, both because I loved hanging out with her and because she wrote things like this:
What you risk telling your story:
You will bore them.
Your voice will break, your ink
spill and stain your coat.
No one will understand, their eyes
You will park yourself forever
on the outside, your differentness once
and for all revealed, dangerous.
The names you give to yourself
will become epithets.
Your happiness will be called
Your sadness will justify their pity.
Your fear will magnify their fears.
Everything you say will prove something about
their god, or their economic system.
Your feelings, that change day
to day, kaleidoscopic,
will freeze in place,
brand you forever,
justify anything they decide to do
Those with power can afford
to tell their story
Those without power
risk everything to tell their story
will hear your story and decide to fight,
to live and refuse compromise.
Someone else will tell
her own story,
Interesting note: I went to look for this on the internet and discovered that it was made part of “Rise Up O Flame: A Ferguson Worship Toolkit for UUs.”
Miss you, Laura, and so glad you are being recognized for your contributions to our wonderful state.