These words of tragedy
Emblazoned on notepads and billboards
This epidemic of dehumanization
This narrowed definition of being
Twisted finer and thinner
So that it lacks any sensitivity
So that the words themselves are
A garrote
Cutting into flesh and spirit
When words and stance 
are played out deftly
to define other as less
to define different as solely deficit
and are used to silence
This – THIS – is the tragedy
My child is burdened with these words
That exclude
And distance
And define other as broken
And are shaped with intent to siphon fear
alchemy-like into big business’ pocketbooks
Words seeded and hooked with the bait of crisis
So the fund$ continue to be reeled in
Those who are on your hook
Who take up your fear-filled bait
Feeding hungrily on your emptiness
Your mean lies
They are left empty
And hopeless
Seeing only unmet potential
Instead of the beauty of diversity
This – THIS – breaks this mother’s heart
but at the same time, strengthens her resolve


When difference is framed in fear
To stir activity
A call to action
To shore the millions needed to fund
your oft’ wanton cure
And at the same time silences those
for whom they claim to speak
This is not charity
The stance of stigma
Whose twisted legacy
Is used justify the pain
The othering
The silencing
The disappearing
The murder
Of people
Like those whom I love best

Leah Kelley ~ Thirty days of Autism ~ June 2013


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30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2013)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
This entry was posted in ableism, acceptance, ASD, Autism, autism stigma, diversity, poem, poetry, reframe tragedy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Stop

  1. Pingback: Rachel’s Lament (for Alex Spourdalakis) | Raven's Wing Poetry

  2. Leah, thank you for this beautiful reminder. Words and terms are so extremely meaningful. I have found, working with people on the spectrum, that words are taken very seriously, so your poem is all the more important for all autism advocates everywhere.


  3. nisha360 says:

    Stop indeed! People turn different into a bad thing just so they can make money it sickens me.


  4. Pingback: Stop… and Rail Against Stigma! | Thirty Days of Autism

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