In Remembrance of Winifred Jones
My roommate Bart had just came from the Governor' Task force meeting on the Tobacco money coming from the Feds. Rumor had it that there was fall-out from our subtle protest of the Governor at the Consortium a few months ago. Some felt it was wrong of me to pass out literature unfavorable in commentary at a luncheon held mainly to praise the Governor for his good effort at trying to assist people with disabilities and our right to life. I had no intention of throwing discord on the procession. I simply saw it as an opportunity to confront that which to me represents injustice.
I see no case to applaud his actions 1) he just approved of the Olmstead vs. LC/EW case that directly challenged the ADA (the only law protecting the right of people with disabilities to fair inclusion and equal access) 2) he just budgeted 26 million dollars to nursing home industries while shelling out a meager 700 Thousand to Waiver programs through the DMA budget FY 2000. I just wanted him to know that others knew exactly his stance on these issues and that right now he is the one responsible for the continual mass scale genocide of an assembly of people incarcerated because of natural conditions.
I know some don't approve of my tactics. Many feel I was wrong to point out the Governor's strong bias favoring nursing home industries at his honored luncheon. This was the first place that I for sure knew he would definitely be. And for my friends I couldn't let opportunity pass. There might never be another chance.
They always say I should ease up, go about things the right way, and through proper channels. All I can say is he better be glad I don't live in Atlanta because I would frequent the Capitol with the articles I've written and disperse them widely and everywhere I could to anyone that would listen. Focus and distance does not allow me full campaign but I will do all I can to create change from the medium that suits me best- The power of written word. Let me tell you a story.
7:30 P.M. November 10th I arrive home from a 9 hour ride through 3 States, before I even got out of my van, my personal assistant Pammy ran up to tell me my friend Winifred whom I just took to a party 10 days before had died in his sleep in a North Macon Nursing Home from complications. The 3 of us were together just 6 days ago. I picked him up Friday afternoon sporting the donated wheel chair we brought to him a few weeks before. He was happy and it gleaned in his smile even though the chair swallowed him and his head barely reached the headrest for comfort. He drove out slouched with hearty laughter and toothless smile. Ready to go always eager for new adventure.
He had been a perfectly healthy man just a few suns ago. I left for Mississippi Saturday having hanging out with him all day Friday. It's Wednesday now and he's been dead already 3 days. Today Sunday I go to view his body stiff in mourning. My friend Winifred Jones dead at the tender age of 48 a high-spirited man who only wanted to thought of as a human being, sensitive with feelings and stories to share. He would never harm a soul and was proud to ask if it supported his independence.
I am so glad that he at least got to travel to Washington D.C. with us at least the one time unified in protest with National ADAPT. For once he was accepted for who he was without judgment or gracious pity. We loved him and showed him fellowship with others who were fighting also to free him from his struggle. Your free now Brother Winifred in death go in peace man your treading better grounds now. I won't forget you and I won't let them forget you.
Not even a year since Floyd died in a nursing home in his sleep from the same 'complications' a perfectly healthy C-5 Quadraplegic like myself who unlike myself had been sent to a nursing home directly from Shepherd Spinal Center 4 years before his strange death. Society saved him only to make his suffering enduring.
7:55 an hour and a half after arriving home from Mississippi, Mary calls me frustrated to tears trying to hang on to sanity upset by circumstance. She noticed I was disturbed and asked me what was wrong. Without thinking I told her Winifred had died and that I upset because some felt I should ease off my personal campaign against the Governor and GA. This in turn scared her to her own tears. She wondered if she was next and brought home to her and I the reality of her situation. We were fighting for her life and she feels the pressure of running short on time and sanity.
No vendetta against the Governor or Government, however I can not consciously support the any establishment which would condemn and oppress people simply because of birth or life differences. This affects life and liberty to my people. It's important to me. I want it to be important for society and government. I would protest any who continue to oppress any people to any circumstance against free-will. My best friend Bart has near the exact disability as Winifred and I the exact one as Floyd. Why are we then so lucky as to be on the outside involved when life for them was a death row sentence.
There is a huge sum of tobacco money coming to all states from the Federal Government to be used as decided by the Governor and State Officials. They must know it is important to ADAPT and me personally that he funds community based services and Unlocks The Waiting List. In remembrance of Floyd Burns and Winifred Jones. 2 friends lost to the callousness of unfriendly system of servitude. They and everyone suffering now similar fates deserved/deserve much better than what the current system promises. We can as a Nation can do more. I pledge to you Winifred in this moment to push harder and further and be the lone ranger if necessary to see that you did not die for nil reason.