Spring 1996 finds the NSP as busy as usual. We're into plans for the our Annual Convention in Denver. We are holding many of our Year of the Child Who Stutters symposiums and other workshops. Our Spring Fund Drive is underway. Elections are being held to fill two vacant positions on the NSP Board of Directors: Yet, it is still not enough - our work is not done yet, not even close.
Two issues have recently re-enforced this. I saw the movie"A Family Thing" where James Earl [ones, a person who stutters, plays a police officer with a mild stutter. In the movie the word stuttering is not mentioned and no attention is brought to his stuttering. Many of us feel this is a good thing. Finally, we have a major actor, playing a"typica" person, a professional man with a family and
the usual set of human problems.
For some reason an incident that happened a few years ago recently resurfaced in my mind. After moving into a different part of town I joined a new church. For some reason I had this nagging desire to read the scriptures to the congregation during the service. I always wanted to do this, but previously I lacked the courage and confidence to even try. A member of my NSP support group started to read the scriptures at her church, so l had my inspiration to do the same. I called the lady in charge of this, introduced myself, and offered my services. She paused for a while to collect her thoughts and she then asked about the "hesitations" in my speech. I told her, yes I mildly stuttered, but so did Moses and look what God called him to do (I purposely didn't mention Moses asking Aaron to do his talking for him). She hemmed and hawed and finally told me "the church had other ministries I might want to consider" and we ended the call. I was devastated. Here I was being discriminated against by my own church!
Of course, the top priority of the NSP is to provide support to children and adults who stutter and we're working to improve in that area. But another mission is to educate our fellow citizens about stuttering. They need to see us doing what we do, from being police officers to college professors, to mothers and fathers - even though we stutter.
But our work is not done yet, not even close. I hope you will continue to support each other and the NSP as best you can. Come to the convention in Denver, give to the Spring Fund Drive, and vote in the election. Maybe it's time for me to call that lady again and tell her that yes, I can read scriptures and do a pretty good job at it, even if I stutter.