Andrew and I had the privilege of meeting with John Foley today. John came to New Mexico in 1988 to serve as the Executive Director for the Arc of New Mexico. He continues to be an active and integral member of the New Mexico disability advocacy movement. He has agreed to serve as our ambassador as we seek to gain recognition and support from the disability community.
The history of New Mexico’s journey through disability policy is currently passed orally from one advocate to another. The “movement” has become fractured into smaller, more specifically minded organizations. There has been a concerted effort from members of the various disability advocacy movements to join together and organize but they have struggled to form unity. Perhaps Bob Marley was right when he said: “First you must know your history and then you will know where you are coming from.” There is currently no resource that brings together the rich cultural diversity of New Mexico’s population, the stories of parental heroism and individual plight, and the federal and state disability policies that are still active today.
The New Mexico Disability Story will be a multimedia package, which will include archival video interviews with members of the New Mexico disability advocacy community, a documentary book that can be used as a textbook or for general audiences and a feature length documentary about the disability movement in New Mexico. Additional products such as picture books, murals, or other public representations of the participants may evolve through this process.
Let’s work together to tell the world the great work we have done.