Why I Speak Up

Author: Karen Copeland

I speak up…for my son. I am so proud of his persistence in the face of adversity. I speak up to celebrate all the amazing growth we have seen over the past months and years, to honor all the gifts he has brought into our lives. A new way of thinking, a new, and often better way of being.

I speak up…for my daughter. She inspires me everyday with her level of understanding of people who are different, her amazing empathy and compassion that has been born from learning to live with the unexpected.

I speak up…for my husband, whose unwavering support nourishes us to continue on this journey. I celebrate his willingness to embrace new perspectives and the way he has used his voice to make sure those in our lives HEAR what we need.

I speak up…for my extended family. Our lives have been touched through the years by those who have struggled through immense pain and sadness. I speak out to honor their fight, their courage to continue on and to reflect on those who simply had no more strength. You are all deeply important to me.

I speak up…for the champions we have met along our journey. Oh where would we be without these comforting, supportive people who have coaxed, encouraged, listened and shared their knowledge and passion with us. Your support has been life sustaining and life altering in the best possible way.

I speak up…for those who are not quite ready to use their voice, but have so much wisdom to offer. I speak up to hold a place for them, to create a welcoming space that will be ready to listen when they are ready to share.

Finally, I speak up…for those who do not yet understand the importance of empathy, openness and understanding when it comes to child, youth and family mental health. I speak up to remind them that I am not going away. I will continue to advocate, to inspire and educate those around me. I will continue to grow, to gather strength and share my wisdom and message in the hopes that one day the seed of knowledge takes root, and they begin to speak up too.

This post is based on a message I posted on my Champions page on May 7, 2014 titled “Why I Wear Green”

Karen Copeland, an active member of BC Parents of Special Needs Children, is photographed at her home in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Tuesday, February 2, 2016. She recently pulled out her 13-year-old son with learning disabilities from the public school system. Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail
Photo Credit: Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail

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