On Purple Day this year, I attended the First Annual Seize the Moment 5k Run/Walk in Sacramento. It was a color run with a separate race. I published a photo blog on my other site. My kids went with me.
My kids have learned about my history of running and my history with epilepsy. They have also learned about our country's history of discrimination towards people with epilepsy. My kids know it, but they do not quite understand it. My kids do not understand why someone like me would be considered less than other people. My kids do not understand why other people with epilepsy and disabilities are less than.
Last week, NPR's Fresh Air replayed an episode about forced sterilizations and the 1924 Immigration Act. We listened to the episode together. We discussed the 1924 Immigration Act and the connection to The Holocaust. We also discussed how forced sterilization impacted families with epilepsy. My kids understood this impact, even if they didn't understand the reason behind the discrimination.
I still find it difficult to understand how our government identified people to be segregated and then forced sterilization on those groups. I also find it difficult to believe that another country "practiced" mass extermination on people like me before beginning the events that are understood to be The Holocaust. I guess that explains why I still struggle to believe what happens today. Some of the beliefs still exist. We are segregated. We are seen as less. We are allowed to die, and when we do, it is not as important. Our lives do not matter as much as some lives.
When people do not believe that marginalization happens, I probably become frustrated. I am still surprised, so I understand. I am surprised each time. Small events might seem like wishful thinking, but these events help protect some of us from the outside world that doesn't see us.