It’s wonderful to watch an idea take shape and become reality. When the Visionary Voices: Leaders. Lessons. Legacy project launched in February of 2011, our staff were faced with a challenge. Pennsylvania holds an historic place in the history of the intellectual disability community. From opening classrooms to children with disabilities to closing Institutions, Pennsylvania led the way for widespread systematic reform on both a local and national level. Yet the stories of those who led this movement are in danger of being lost. How, we asked ourselves, can we preserve stories from this movement, and share them with the widest possible audience?
From that challenge, Visionary Voices was born. Over the next fifteen months, project staff will record interviews with parents, advocates, and people with disabilities whose tireless determination changed systems and improved peoples’ lives. We’ll also preserve and make available documents from the Haggerty Archives (a generous gift from local parent and advocate Dennis Haggerty). Interviews and select documents from the Haggerty Collection will be available through the Visionary Voices: Leaders. Lessons. Legacy website.
There is much work ahead, and many stories to tell. Project staff will use this blog to discuss our approach to interviews, and our efforts to preserve the Haggerty Collection. We’ll also write about the challenges inherent in both the interview and archival preservation aspects of this project.
You may not know all of the leaders featured on this site, but each one of us is living their legacy. They are visionaries; their stories will move and inspire you.
Welcome to Visionary Voices.