Imagine how it would be
If you were discriminated against
Without a chance to show your inner self,
Without a chance to speak up.
That was my life for a long time
It hurt then.
The discrimination still goes on
It hurts now.
But I decided that I have more to say
Then you might want to listen.
Amy Sequenzia, My Voice, My Life
April has the dual honor of being both National Poetry Month and Autism Acceptance month. Overall, we will be focusing on poets this month, but I thought it would be lovely to kick it off with a spotlight on an autistic poet!
Amy Sequenzia is a multiply-disabled disability activist. She is also a poet.
She cannot speak.
Her primary form of verbal communication is via typing. Several of her poems explore how it feels to be silenced, but My Voice, My Life is perhaps the most haunting one. You feel the aching desire to be heard with her, the frustration of being treated as an object, as less than human. You yearn with her for someone to just listen.
This is a common problem for those who are disabled, in many different shapes. Abled people–or even differently disabled people–assume that different means less. Less human, less important, less able to make decisions.
Amy Sequenzia denies that assumption. She writes passionately to make people hear her–force them to stop and listen. She will not be denied.
Perhaps you can listen to the disabled in your life? And perhaps disabled people, instead of having to shout to be heard, can just speak up.
They have things to say.
Will you listen?