By Daniel Cohen English Teacher, Oak Park and River Forest High School; SEED LeaderAs a SEED facilitator for the past 15 years, I've designed dozens of monthly seminar sessions to help participants further their self-understanding, their analyses of social systems, and their commitment to enacting justice and equity. One topic I have taken up in these sessions is Ableism, where I use the work of Riva Lehrer, including the picture of Eli Clare here.
What makes a nest a nest and a cage a cage? Both are constructed realities. Yet one of them is self-determined and the other is segregated. Both can be a home. Yet one allows for near infinite future possibilities and the other represents only a monotonous and controlled existence. In seeking to be our whole selves and in just relationship with others, we at SEED see our identities, our cultures, and our communities as our nests. These are those aspects of ourselves that shape us as we develop.As we develop, we also have increasing agency in building and shaping them for ourselves and for others who share the nest with us.