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Ken, Vicki and I collaborated on a painting of Ken that we were going to use to raise awareness about disability at a grass roots level, through the arts. Following is the poem that is on the books behind him in that painting. I think it says so much. I miss my friend, but all I can hear him saying is: Don't Mourn. Organize!
Helen Panzironi, Center for Excellence in Disabilities
Image description: On this page there is an image of a painting of Ken Ervin. Ken is sitting in a room full of books. Behind him is a bookshelf of books as well as books on the floor around him. He has a book open on his knee. Ken has long hair and a full beard and is wearing a baseball cap, with the brim turned to the back. Ken is wearing a dark jacket, an ADAPT t-shirt and dark pants. He is wearing sneakers and by his foot is a book titled 'No Pity'.
Helen Panzironi, artist, tells us that "Ken is the only person whoever asked me to make him look like 'a cartoon version of a hobbit, from Middle Earth'."
by Ken Ervin
In the institution they told me
You have no more coordination than a common laboratory rodent
That's what the disability industry sees - Disability.
They have to
It's how they make money
So they say
You will never hold a job
You will never read for pleasure
You will have trouble adjusting socially
Well, they got one right
But I am a man
and a father
with a freaking Master's degree and everything
and all they see
is the disability.
Disability is a social construct
It protects people from their fear
that we are the same.
Just one car accident away
In a war of attrition
I will always win.