It’s fitting that today, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, that I’m reading a story about Justin Clark. His fight for an independent life put him at odds with his parents; it was the first hard look I had at what it means to live life with a disability and how people are often surrounded by those who, even lovingly, think they know better. I had just started a job with an advocacy organization, now the Saskatchewan Association for Comunity Living, back in 1982. A job that would change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Because of Justin’s sheer determination and convictions, his example was a clear lesson to me as I started a new career path. I wish him well today of all days. You can read his story below, and there’s also this. The work continues.
‘In 1982, Justin Clark, who was born with cerebral palsy, took his own parents to court in a bid to prove that he was a mentally competent adult. Clark won his case, and the decision was a pivotal moment in the Canadian disability rights movement. Advocates say there is still a long way to go, but Clark’s case paved the way for other people with disabilities fighting to make their own decisions, rather than have legal guardians decide on their behalf. CBC’s The Sunday Edition explores the lasting impact of Clark v Clark. (photo below by Norman Pellerin).’