It’s not about overcoming cerebral palsy and moving on with our lives. The point is, there is no “getting over” a lifelong disability. We must learn to live and grow up with CP despite the challenges it presents in our daily lives. And so here is the space where we narrate those experiences.
#cpstrong is about forming collective identity; finding solidarity in our struggles, and experiencing a sense of belonging in the spaces we create. We may find strength on our own but my hope is that we feel less alone because of the strength exhibited in this community. I believe that strength comes from knowing weakness, injustice, doubt and failure. And I sense that community is built upon a collective desire to belong and learn with and through one another.
#cpstrong has become part of how I find meaning and purpose in life beyond my day to day– I find joy in being in service of others. It stems from my experiences of being a woman with CP—and my hope is that it stems from yours, too. It stems from the feeling of being seen and heard in this world and I believe it has become a force in the CP community that will continue to evolve and one day, be fully realized.
Through this movement, I work to showcase individuals with CP who represent a sense of self-realization, confidence, and personal justice. I aim to include those who are still figuring it out, too–because we all have something meaningful to say no matter where we are at in life. So what do you say? Let’s show others what we are capable of! Let’s take ownership of the word disability and call upon one another to join in so that we can fight back against the narrative that has been set forth before us. To claim disability as our own story—one to be told by us and for those who will inevitably come after us.
Nearly two years after this effort began, we organized our very first CP Social, a live gathering for the purpose of community- building and socializing. Look out for info on our CP Social 2020 & subscribe for email updates.
Thanks to those who have helped to create new understandings of #cpstrong since our beginning in 2017. I hope you find some solace in this community and see that you, too are #cpstrong!
For further reading about this effort, please continue onto my article Building Spaces for Belonging