Author: Kirby

Belly Of The Beast

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Anna Olson

     There is a saying about history repeating itself. It does, and I will show you how it is happening right now. In America, during the golden age of eugenics (1900-1950), proponents of this mindset advocated for the involuntary sterilization of anyone thought not fit to produce the right kind of offspring. Mainly, this meant the mandatory sterilization of women.      In the United States, over 30 states passed laws permitting involuntary surgical sterilization. The […]

It’s All In The Genes

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Anna Olson
American Genes

     GOOD NEWS! American Genes, my forthcoming novel, will be released by my publisher, Atmosphere Press, on or about November 15, 2020. The book tells the story of a Minnesota farm girl who had the misfortune of having two seizures. While technically not enough to diagnose her as a person with epilepsy, she was still branded as such by an overly zealous social worker. Having epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s meant one had inferior […]

SPEAK UP AGAINST TYRANNY

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Background

I’m afraid of tyranny. I fear that America is slipping and sliding into an autocratic takeover of our government. It’s happening right here, right now, before our very eyes. Many of our wisest leaders say that we’ve reached the “red zone” danger level. When I think of tyranny, I recall post-WWII and the observations made by a German pastor, Martin Niemoller, who first supported, then opposed the Nazis. You’ve probably heard or read this before, […]

INCLUSION

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Background

      Late last fall I went for a walk on a gloomy, misty, day in Oak Park, Illinois. I noticed the sign above on the side of an old church. The big white banner stood out against the faded limestone. I’ve written about INCLUSION before, but on that day, I saw it in a different light. Up to that point, I thought of INCLUSION as all things to do with access for people with physical […]

SAD

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Isolated In America

At first, it made me angry, then SAD to watch a group of approximately twenty five developmentally disabled people slowly make their way across the crosswalk and into the grocery store. Don’t get me wrong – – please. I wasn’t angry at the people. Some things in life are relative. What was considered progress forty years ago might be inappropriate today. When evaluating something we are compelled to ask, “compared to what?” Take group shopping […]

JOY

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Isolated In America

JOY Joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. A synonym, delight. Mirriam Webster Dictionary Noreen’s classroom was next to my office. I heard one of her teachers ask her a question: “Do you want to go outside?” The teacher wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Noreen slowly pulled her head to an upright position then let it fall forward. Not quite sure […]

HATE

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Isolated In America

I saw her coming at me from the back of the room. Her red face, furrowed brow, and wrinkled eye brows told me she was angry. I was right. She wasted no time on pleasantries before she unloaded on me with a fury like I had never experienced. The way she saw things, I represented all that was wrong in the world of children with special needs. She made it very clear she hated me […]

America Must Be Kept American

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Anna Olson

“America must be kept American” is indeed a patriotic call for tighter immigration rules. But which president had this as a rallying call for immigration reform?   Southern and eastern Europeans, especially Italians and eastern European Jews were the “undesirables” back in 1924. When Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924 there was a growing concern that the increase in immigration from these areas was much too high. The new law all but eliminated immigration from […]

FEAR

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Isolated In America

On November 9, 2016, I woke up for my usual two am bathroom call and a snack. What was unusual that morning was my curiosity regarding the election results. I recall watching the TV the night before as talking heads and pundits grew pale and nearly speechless as the election results came in. I admit it was fun watching those who like to tell us what to think and believe being confronted with their limitations […]

No inspiration here

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Isolated In America

Once in awhile, a quote stands out that expresses the belief of a whole generation.  On page 14 of his book Humans of New York Stories, Brandan Stanton, author of the wonderful website Humans of New York captured the essence of INCLUSION. On that page you will find the picture of a pretty young lady in a wheelchair. After growing up in an ISOLATED world she explains what INCLUSION means to her. Here is what she said: “I want to make […]