...reclaiming and healing our past by honoring our own…
California Memorial Project
Parkview Cemetery (by the mausoleum), from 10:30 am to 11: 30 am at 3661 East French Camp Road, Manteca, CA 95336 For more information or if you would like to speak, perform or be a part of our ceremony contact: Jenny Olson (916) 504-5987 www.californiamemorialproject.wordpress.com
Stockton Rural Cemetery, 2350 Cemetery Lane Stockton, CA at 10:30 am. Event to be held at Stockton Rural Cemetery to remember and honor people with disabilities who died while living in state hospitals and developmental centers
Awareness is Key
Thank you everyone for being here today, remembering those who came before us.
Listening to the history of what occurred during all of those years, makes us all realize just how far we’ve come. As noted on the tombstone, anonymous remains buried in this cemetery during the years of 1852 through 1996, reminds us of how long this practice occurred and that it was not that long ago that the practice ceased. Fortunately and thankfully it ceased.
Awareness has been key. Awareness is more prevalent than it has ever been—at all levels—local, State, and Federal. We now have advocacy agencies, support groups, and community providers ensuring that services are provided and that no one is forgotten.
I’m proud of the fact that the regional center system has been a huge part of that awareness, as well as the services now available in the community for the developmentally disabled population.
Individuals can now remain with their families and friends in the community, receiving the services needed.
We can’t turn back the clock, but we can revel in the awareness and the wonderful strides made, and be grateful for what we have today. And, remember those who had to endure the past for us to get to this point.
Let Us Never Forget
Welcome everyone and thank you for taking time out of your day to join us as we participate in the 16th Annual Remembrance Day in Manteca California commemorating a day of respect and honor and dignity to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health disorders who died while living at the Stockton Developmental Center.
Today we also join with our brothers and sisters in Stockton, Ukiah, Porterville, Santa Clara, Napa, Sonoma, Patton, and Norwalk to honor those who died in California’s state institutions and developmental centers. And don’t forget that at 1:55 pm today there will be a statewide moment of silence to honor those who died unrecognized at State Hospitals and Developmental Centers.
This morning we have come together to slow down in our busy lives and to think about the lives people lived in the state’s institutions. Though they may not have had many, if any, opportunities to participate in their communities, their lives still mattered and made in a difference to others. Remember they were somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s sister and somebody’s brother. They were also somebody’s friend, somebody’s roommate, somebody’s co-worker, and somebody who received services from the state’s direct support professionals, social workers, and variety of clinical professionals.
Today’s memorial is a reminder that though many were once buried in unmarked graves and often unkempt gravesites to be forgotten, our presence right now shows they will not be forgotten but honored as individuals with their own uniqueness and humanness.
Perhaps it is a good thing that future generations will listen in disbelief when told there was once a time when people were institutionalized in large state facilities because of their diagnosis of a mental health disorder and or a developmental disability. But let us never forget good people once lived in these institutions and that we all failed them once by not properly memorializing their lives in passing.
The lesson here is that it is not adequate that we memorialize by simply rendering the past into stone or metal, as the definition would describe. It is up to communities and people like us who consider this past important to sustain the memory of an injustice and simultaneously bestow the respect we should have placed on them in the first place. The act of remembering in memorial is a uniquely human activity that acknowledges the past to make sense of the present, and serves as the basis for the aspirations of our collective futures.
So Let Us remember, in the words carved into the Stockton State Hospital Monument, “Let no person ever again be removed from the community by reason of disability…. Let us honor their memory by reclaiming and healing our past… Let no person ever be laid to rest without recognition.”
Tags: California Memorial Project
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