Somebody said to me years ago, there was a reason why God gave you Robin. Of course at that time I couldn’t see it, because I didn’t worry about myself, I worried about her future. What would she have been like if she had been born normal? I think she would have been something special. But she is special, you know? Nancy Greenstein
Nancy Greenstein is a respected parent/advocate, and a founding member of PATH (People Acting to Help, Inc.) in Philadelphia. When her daughter Robin was born in 1957, it was obvious to Nancy that she had a disability. But it took 18 months for medical professionals to acknowledge that fact, and even longer for Nancy and her family to find much needed supports for Robin. Along the way, Nancy learned to speak out not only for her daughter, but for countless other families of children with disabilities. Though Nancy has left an incredible legacy, she would prefer to be remembered as a mother and grandmother. Please enjoy this lively conversation with a remarkable woman!
The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University was awarded a $360,000 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on June 16, 2014 for A Fierce Kind of Love: A Community Conversation in Performance, Image, Story and Dialogue.
In 2012, with support from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the Institute began the development of A Fierce Kind of Love (AFKOL), a play inspired by Pennsylvania’s Intellectual Disability Rights Movement. Written by Obie-nominated theatre artist Suli Holum and directed by Philadelphia director David Bradley, AFKOL is the centerpiece of a community history and civic dialogue project, offering multiple ways to interpret the rich history and prevailing issues of people with intellectual disabilities. The play will premiere in April of 2016; a yearlong series of coordinated community events will precede the play, and offer multiple points of entry into the history, themes, and interpretation at the heart of this project. Continue reading
It already has started, they’re going back into nursing homes, going back into institutions and it’s very hard to get out. They will lose everything if they don’t come together and say what they want and show what they need. You need to tell [the] story, tell your personal story. Janet Evans
Janet Evans describes herself as “the biggest advocate in Pittsburgh!”. Janet found her voice at a young age, when she wanted choice within the segregated setting of the institution in which she lived, and when she wanted to further her education. Janet insisted that she be allowed to live in the community, and built a rich life there with her husband Harry. She continues to advocate for the right to live an everyday life, for herself and others with disabilities.
Listen to Janet’s interview at http://disabilities.temple.edu/voices/detailVideo.asp?mediaCode=029-01
Warm, inspiring, and wise words from some of our favorite moms – enjoy!
When did I first feel like an advocate? I never thought about it, I mean I never even knew the word.
They were not accepted in the school system…these children did not fit the criteria. But we also learned that – well, I felt this way, and I think the others felt the same way — all these children were our children, they were my children, too.
Most of the deaf people that are classified as mentally retarded never had manual communication…They didn’t have that freedom to think in an expressive language and be able to express their thoughts. Earl Duff
For over forty years, Earl Duff has worked on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities. With his colleagues Sam Scott and Carol Meshon, Earl founded M5, a provider agency with expertise in serving people with ID who are also deaf. The “Three Musketeers” believed that, by offering their clients the opportunity to learn language (English or American Sign Language), they would find employment, and integrate more fully into the communities of their choice.
Listen to Earl’s story at disabilities.temple.edu/voices/detailVideo.asp?mediaCode=024-03
On April 2nd, the disability community lost an advocate and friend, Trina Losinno. Trina courageously fought an eight-month battle against cancer. During this time she lived each day with grace and dignity as she did each and every day of her life.
The Institute was privileged to interview Trina and her husband David, about their life and work in 2012. That interview will be posted in the coming weeks. For now, we would like to share some words of reflection and inspiration from Trina’s interview:
I think this is a very tough time. When we go back and talk to some people at our agency, they’re struggling. And that’s unfortunate and I’m sure there are many, many, many families who are very, very concerned and worried that the future of support and services is not going to go in the positive direction they would hope. This is a trying and difficult time, but possibly from it will grow a different type of service. A different level of support. Who knows whatever might be possible, might happen?
Development of our play, A Fierce Kind of Love, continues through the Spring. On March 10 and 11, our cast and creative team came together for two days of storytelling and creative play.
Photos by Sergei Blair.