I've developed a habit for alliterative headlines..More importantly, this Friday (October 6th), it's a month since the launch of the campaign to create Made Possible.
It's taken less than four weeks for this book to be more than 50% crowdfunded - and this is 100% because all of your brilliant support.
To hit such a milestone so soon reflects a determination (your determination, in fact) to shift negative attitudes towards learning disabled people. If you're joined Made Possible in the last week, welcome to this wide-ranging community of (so far) 136 people, all involved in making this unique book happen. Thank you all for your involvement (and if we're not connected, and you'd like to be, please find me on email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram).
As well as your pledges, which pre-order the book, it's been fantastic to see so many of you continuing to spread word about the aims of Made Possible through your networks, newsletters and social media. Should anyone else feel tempted to shout about what we're all doing here, do tag your posts #MadePossible!
On my own social media this week, I posted a short poem sparked by my sister, written with love and tongue firmly in cheek. This isn't a new bit of writing, but I revisted it because it was National Poetry Day and it clearly supports Made Possible's ethos - that learning disabled people's talents, skills and personality must not be ignored. Here's an extract - and to any poetry fans out there, this isn't my day job, a fact that will become apparent if you read on ;)
Puck, peppermint tea and posh frocks: the fabulous Raana Salman
What does “puck off” mean, you asked,
When a playground jibe you misheard,
It’s an insult, we said, with a bittersweet laugh,
And “puck” is quite a rude word.
You’re older now, and more in the know,
And you’re still just brilliantly funny,
We love how you call my other half “bro”,
And our mother is always called “mummies!”
You constantly amaze us with all that you do,
You garden, you cook and you bake,
You’re a music fan who likes her tunes loud,
Full volume – bloody early – at dawn break.
You love Chinese food and movie nights in,
And sometimes the pub if it’s near,
Remember your fury when we ordered you juice,
And you indignantly cried: “I want beer!”
You love baggy sweatshirts, they comfort and cloak,
You categorically refuse a posh frock,
You know your own mind, you’re fabulous and kind,
And basically Raans, you rock.
To read the full version of this pucking great poem about my sis (pictured below, left), go here.
So, Made Possible focuses on people's potential and personalities - shattering stereotypes in the process - and it also considers the wider context that undermines their talents and aspirations. For example, we're in party conference season and the Conservatives are gathering in Manchester as I write. Yet most politicians (with a few rare exceptions) overlook learning disabled people - despite the fact that more than a million people with learning disabilites are entitled to vote. This is not only an equality issue - why does the political world seem to bypass people who have both a right and a desire to go to the polls? - but vote-needy politicians could do with wooing this signifcant chunk of the electorate.
Many of this book's supporters - including campaigners, activists, self-advocates and support providers - are among a strong and growing lobby working hard (all year round - not just during conference season) to change this. I'm looking forward to reflecting the vital growth in this kind of activism and awareness-raising in Made Possible.
Thank you all again, and more soon.
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