Rovenia Braddy writes about Harrisburg from the point of view of someone who lives, works, shops and socializes there.
The other day I was sitting on my deck looking at a spider building a web. Most people that I know are not very fond of spiders, they are viewed as a nuisance. After several minutes I made several fascinating observations. Two weekends ago I attended a three day conference sponsored by the The Living Well With A Disability which was founded by The Center for Independent Living's Executive Director, Theo Braddy. During the conference I was able to participate in the conference's expo as a vendor. While sitting at my booth I had the opportunity meet many interesting people. The conference was held at the Lancaster Convention Center. I know what you are thinking, what does spider webs have to do with a conference in Lancaster? Isn't this blog suppose to be about life in Harrisburg? Why are you telling me about Lancaster?
Well, let me tell you a little about what I know about spiders and perhaps it will all begin to make sense to you. Did you know that all spiders make silk? Not only can they all make silk, but they can make it thoroughout their life cycles. Not all spiders spin webs, some spiders overtake their prey without using webs. One of the most interesting facts about spiders is that they don't move by using just their muscles. They rely on a combination of muscles and blood pressure to move their legs. Spiders are also very benenficial to our yards and our gardens.
These interesting spider facts reminded me of the people that I meet at the conference in a variety of ways. The purpose of the conference was to allow individuals who live with a disability to network with agencies, companies and inovators of new products that improve their quality of life. As you all may be aware of Harrisburg has been hit hard by federal and state budget cuts. These budget cuts have changed the way that many services are delivered to individuals with disabilities they include much needed services, such as receiving attendent care, assessible housing and transportation. Many of the participants as well as several vendors were from the Harrisburg. There were individuals that came from all over to participate in this cutting edge conference.
I met a family who had a son with Treacher Collins Syndrome and a young lady with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, these individuals are all living productive lives, they are spinning silk, using their disabilities as platforms to help others. Despite government cut backs they are using whatever resources they have to pull together and change the lives of those not only in the city of Lancaster and Harrisburg, but everywhere.
Now back to the spiders and the city of Lancaster. As I sat watching the spider building the web on my deck I realized that my son had knocked down the web a few days ago. Many of these individuals have been faced with difficulties such as transitioning from nursing homes to independent living,advocating against sterotypes that believe that individuals with disabilities can't contribute to society or hold jobs. Having lost its web didn't stop that little spider, it rebuilt its web, refusing to leave that very spot, much like those individuals that I had met at the conference, they refused to give in to lack of funding, prejudices and inequality. They continued to build connections that will benefit all those that they encounter.
So, the next time we see a spider web, or someone who lives life with a disability remember, the importance of making connects with all walks of people, we all serve a purpose, we are innovative, spinning beautiful webs.