On Friday evening while watching the Nightly News program on NBC, I witnessed a story about about a seven-year-old autistic boy anxiously waiting for his birthday celebration with his schoolmates. As time passed , he waited for their arrival, the realization that there would be no schoolmates coming for that celebration began to set in. The father, seeing the sadness in his son’s eyes, flagged down a fire truck and told them of his son’s circumstance. Not only did they respond but they notified other first responders as well and as a result, a birthday celebration was held.
As I watched that news segment, it was difficult for me to understand how this young man could be ignored and forgotten by his classmates and the parents of those children. As someone that has worked in a school lunch setting, I often would encourage kids to invite the student sitting alone to come to their table remembering how I felt being a new student not knowing anyone.
Exclusion is becoming an art form beginning at an early age. It can occur from the voices of the elected or it can occur from a local media that chooses to be selective in who they choose to serve. America is the most diverse country on the face of the earth. We speak 18 different languages representing every color mankind offers. Whether you are autistic, black, white, Muslim or Jewish, or perhaps just elderly, we all have a place and a need to be recognized and presented with an opportunity to smile. ‘’Every man beareth the whole stamp of the human condition’’. We are not animals that need to prey on something else to survive, we are human beings and we are better than this.
Charles Thomas, Lima