Who We Are:
Peaces of Me is a community of unique individuals united in a common vision redefining what it means to have a disability, physical difference, or chronic illness. We celebrate every kind of diversity, because an array of perspectives is the only way of addressing systemic problems holistically and comprehensively. While we may not agree with every opinion espoused within our community, we must treat one another with respect and grace at all times.
Our community prides itself on our ability to emphasize the positive characteristics and contributions of our members, rather than whatever the outside world perceives as broken. That said, many of the conditions that bring us here are associated with pain, fatigue, depression, and an assortment of other unpleasant aspects of life. Add to this, we are frequently discriminated against, misunderstood, and sometimes even outright shunned.
Our community does not hide from these realities. In fact, we cannot address what is wrong without acknowledging it’s existence. The painful, the sad, and the hopeless are topics that require a place in our greater discussion.
Somewhere, there is a balance between recognizing the dark reality that we all pass through, and grasping toward the light that we all seek. Between recognizing what is wrong, and creating a future built on what is right. We seek to strike that balance, and unleash the potential that is currently suppressed by the barriers standing between us and this future. This process of self-discovery demands that we recognize our struggles, and realize that they need not define us.
Why Peaces of Me is Needed:
It is often stated that persons with disabilities are the largest minority group in the world. Using our broadened definition, the number of individuals who fall under this umbrella would be quite substantial. Nevertheless, a significant portion of needs remain unmet due to gaps in coverage and other systemic failings. Although there are a multitude of organizations doing great work within their respective spheres, too many individuals and families continue to fall through the cracks.
Because Peaces of Me is a national organization, we have the ability to share and spread ideas without geographic restrictions. This is designed to curtail the disparity of resources often overlooked in underserved communities and regions.
No diagnosis required: regardless of what condition, disability, or difference that you or your loved one is dealing with, there are many common experiences worth exploring. By sharing in these common experiences, insights and connections are found that would otherwise go unnoticed if we remain confined to our artificial boxes. Furthermore, we are fully aware and mindful of those who are still seeking adequate diagnosis for what they are experiencing. Assistance and support should be offered at every stage of the journey, and not limited to after a diagnosis has been offered.
Disability is the word most commonly associated with this movement. However, for some, this word can be divisive or carry a negative connotation. Our community respects and welcomes those who have a physical difference, but do not consider themselves to be “disabled” in the classical sense. The use of inclusive language is meant to highlight this philosophy.
Too often, chronic illness is left out of the public discussion, as though these experiences are somehow less legitimate. Our community recognizes that left unaddressed and unsupported, these conditions can significantly inhibit quality of life in several capacities. Accordingly, we do not draw distinctions between “physical” and “mental” illness. While these conditions present unique challenges for some, distinguishing them in this context runs the risk of furthering misconceptions that one kind of condition is “more serious” than the other. We make no such judgment.
Other elements of life such as: race, gender identity, LGBTQ+ status, religious views, or the presence of multiple disabilities/differences/conditions often color our perspective in a unique manner. Similarly, political views, philosophical differences, and numerous other lived experiences may shape our individual approach to this topic. We welcome this diversity, as exploring these intersections deepens and broadens our collective knowledge. We are not defined by one characteristic, so we need not limit ourselves to what is immediately apparent.
Access is a fundamental human right.
Technology and structures that are designed with
universal access in mind is inherently more productive. When designers include access as part of their functionality equation, everyone benefits. For example, curb cuts are beneficial for all pedestrians, not just those who use wheelchairs.
Dignity must be preserved in all circumstances.
While there are times where an individual
may not be able to exercise complete control over their environment, intervention and assistance should never lead to dehumanization. We denounce all forms of abuse, including any attempt to make an individual feel unworthy due to requiring support or assistance.
We are not broken.
Regardless of whether our bodies continue to function within “normal
limits”, our personhood remains intact. Each individual should be viewed and embraced as a whole person, placing the emphasis on our strengths and potential instead of our perceived maladies.
Dialogue can erase misconceptions.
Many of the functional differences that we are led to believe create a chasm in ability and are mostly perceptual in nature. Our communal discussion of “alternative techniques” fails to realize that people generally have a unique approach to completing tasks. If we understand that individualized approaches are the norm, then techniques that de-emphasize the use of particular body parts, senses, or other traits is simply the expansion of an already well-established spectrum.
The nature of disability.
Many of the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities are
structural or societal in nature. Addressing the stigma associated with status as a disabled person, as well as removing artificial roadblocks, serves to unleash the full potential of all individuals. In doing so, we will not create a world where everyone’s the same. Rather, we create a world in which individuality is normative, and differences in physical/mental attributes are not the sole basis for measuring someone’s potential.
We define disability as any significant sensory impairment, physical
difference, or chronic illness/condition either physical or mental in nature. This expansive definition provides a more accurate scope of the diversity in human experience than is often understood. Our collective experience has been defined by low expectations and mischaracterizations regarding our abilities, but that paradigm can be shifted through sustained collaborative effort.
The basis of hope.
Erasing the despair often associated with diagnosis of a disability leads
to freedom and power. That is not to say that facing the challenges of disability are easy under present conditions, but that the doom and gloom often forced upon us is misplaced. Even the effects of chronic pain and other challenges that disproportionately affect our population, while still quite real, can be lessened through efforts that lift spirits through emphasizing purpose and potential.
The effects of supporting our movement are not confined to the disabled population. Rather, unleashing our potential will greatly enhance the lived experience of the general population. Increased diversity is often associated with innovation, equity, and increased general welfare for an entire population. Full inclusion of individuals with disabilities is no exception to this rule.
Peaces of Me works to eliminate stigma associated with disability, physical difference, and chronic illness by providing resources and connections to individuals/families and appropriate training to professionals in these spheres.
By providing resources and connections to individuals/families and appropriate training to professionals in these spheres, Peaces of Me believes that physical differences and disabilities do not define the worth or potential of any human being. Peaces of Me is dedicated to the diversity and strengthening the fabric of our collective experience. Our organization aspires to empower every individual and family by combatting the shame and stigma often associated with physical characteristics that fall outside of the perceived norm.
- Access is a fundamental human right.
- Dignity must be preserved in all circumstances for all individuals.
- People with disabilities are not broken.
- Dialogue will erase misconceptions.
- The nature of disability.
- Defining Disability.
- The basis of Hope
- Universal Benefit
What Makes Us Unique?
Our leadership is comprised of individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds. Each of us brings an assortment of skills and talents to the table, and all of us believe in the brighter future that Peaces of Me aspires to create. We invite you to learn more about our team.
Our community provides a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, and broaden the overall base of knowledge. We do this by assembling resources, insights, and other useful information. All of this information is utilized in a variety of manners in order to create and enhance understanding in a variety of settings.
How You Can Help:
Everyone has something to contribute.
For those who have been marginalized, or treated as though you are invisible, your time and talents are needed here.
Everyone has a story.
Share your unvarnished truth. No need to put a Disney spin on things in order to avoid that awkward moment when the outside world can’t take hearing about your reality. What’s really going on in your world?
send us your story!
Highlight resources that have benefited you.
This can be tips and tricks that you’ve picked up, or it can be organizations that have made an impact. We want to recognize organizations that don’t garner enough attention.
Volunteer your time and talents.
We are a community of volunteers, and we are always looking for people to contribute whatever skills they have to offer.This is especially true for those who feel like their ability to participate fully in the employment sector has been impacted by their circumstances.
Interested? Fill out our volunteer application