It is not like any thought that putting a lot of effort into Dwarfism Awareness Outreach would eliminate the need to do more dwarfism awareness outreach But it can be a little discouraging when you are reminded about the critical need for awareness in the midst of, and very soon after, a fabulous dwarfism awareness event. Last post I talked about traveling to New York for the Dwarfism Awareness Month Launch. The event was empowering and the event was infused with pride, no doubt about it. But the event wasn’t without its challenges, from a public awareness stand point. At one point in the event, a group of about 50 or 60 of us gathered on 42nd Street, in the middle of Times Square, for a photo opportunity. The photo opportunity for Little People of America soon turned into a photo opportunity for any random person on the street. While we lined up for pictures, many strangers, passing by on the sidewalk, un-surreptitiously stopped walking, pulled out their cameras, and snapped a photo, sometimes in the midst of a giggle. It got so bad, at one point, the average stature people in our group formed a human barricade around all the little people. This didn’t really work. It kind of added to the chaos. It was a nice gesture though.
|LPA and others in Times Square|
We should of, and probably did, expect as much. After all, it was Times Square. But it was a little difficult to swallow. We were like, “Come on, give us a break. We are launching Dwarfism Awareness Month today!”
The second setback came two days later, when Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush used the m-word on MSNBC. During a conversation about school reform on “Morning Joe” he said something like, “It is like being in the land of midgets and calling yourself a giant.” Again, we have to take it with a grain of salt. Not everybody knows the impact of the m-word. But come on, you used to be governor.
Hopefully, it won’t happen again with Bush. A member of Little People of America who knows a person who is close to Governor Bush was able to get a message to the former governor just a few days after the MSNBC episode. The message expressed the dwarfism community’s concern and disappointment with the Governor’s comment. Soon after the note was delivered, the Governor sent an apologetic email.
Who knows what the strangers who saw Little People of America members on the streets of New York last weekend think about people of short stature. But at least one former Governor will think a little differently from now on.