Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Mosaic in Southeast Kansas

Earlier this week, we were notified of a disturbing and violent video making the rounds in our community.

The video depicts a young man with intellectual disabilities being called names, yelled at, punched and choked by a peer at a playground while other students watched.

It breaks my heart to see someone with a disability attacked simply because of who they are. No one deserves what happened to this young man.

What often starts with the use of the r-word can create a culture where mistreatment of people with disabilities is considered an unsavory, but acceptable part of our communities. We know that this opens the door for more serious offenses like the one that occurred in Pittsburg to take place.

People and children with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities, are disproportionately more vulnerable to violence, bullying and discrimination compared to their peers without disabilities.

Mosaic works hard to ensure that the people we support in the United States and around the world are upheld as valuable and integral members of our communities, including the more than 130 adults right here in Pittsburg and in Coffeyville. As a faith-based organization we cling tightly to the belief that people with disabilities are beloved people of God.

The only way to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future is to take a strong stance against ableism and other forms of bigotry. We must educate our community about the dangers of ableism (discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities) and how they affect the disability community.

It’s on us to stop using derogatory terms.

It’s on us to make sure everyone is included, valued and given the opportunity to thrive.

It’s on us to teach our children and young people that discrimination, prejudice and violence are not acceptable.

Together, we can make sure something like this never happens again.

If you are a parent or an educator, we encourage you to talk to your children and students about how our language affects our attitudes and how our attitudes affect our actions. You can find more resources at www.r-word.org or you can reach out to us at 620.231.5590 to learn more about the fantastic people we support. Leslie Lackamp is the Executive Director for Mosaic in Southeast Kansas.