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Welcome to the 101 Friends e-newsletter for February / Bienvenido a los 101 Amigos e-newsletter de febrero / Bienvenue aux 101 Amis bulletin électronique pour Février

January 31, 2012

Friends:

Our world is shrinking and expanding at the same time.   We are excited that this month’s newsletter reflects some of that idea.   One of the best connectors we know, Jules, is in the Philippines right now but wrote up his chat with Lorna Sullivan, a new friend and colleague from New Zealand we’d love to spend more time with.     You’ll also read about Sheenagh’s trip to New Zealand.   I myself am off to England and Ireland next month.   Lee Anne Ragan (see “inspire the inspiring campaign”) just tweeted me and FBed me from the UN (hey, that’s not in Africa!).   Our dear old friend Roberta Bowers, now living in Santiago, Chile, was kind enough to allow us to interview her about what she’s doing there with people with diversabilities.   It’s an amazing story and it puts things in perspective.   Cam Dore, one of our province’s great leaders I think, once was telling us about having been to South America to work with organizations there and how much it put things into perspective for him about some crisis that was going on here.   Not the current crisis, some other previous crisis.

This month we have the first e-column from our new correspondent, Sheenagh Morrison, about her visit to family in New Zealand.   It signals a bit of a change to our format that we’ll be working through over the next few months.   Sheenagh will be interviewing B.C. leaders in disability services, research, training and development of new ideas from a “diversability” perspective.   B.C. has always had an amazing assortment of leaders in our field, and what’s happening in research at our universities is incredible, so how best to bring those worlds together?

Check out the “inspire the inspiring” campaign!  Our first subject was Lee Anne Ragan of Rock Paper Scissors (maybe Sheenagh can interview her!) and I think it was a resounding success.   There’s a theory called the Pareto Principle, which in leadership suggests that we spend 80% of our time dealing with a problematic 20% of people – and it calls for great leaders to change their focus to spending time with excellent other people – they don’t need us, but what might happen if we put our energy into supporting excellence?   And, in terms of our global theme, Lee Anne is in Africa working – you can read more about it on her excellent blog (after you add your idea about why we love learning, change and growth).  Who can we inspire next?   And how might we go about it?   (She just tweeted me – I think she’s pretty inspired!  yay you all!  but keep it going eh?  go make your addition to Lee Anne’s list!)

This month’s book review also has a global perspective – it’s about how “our connections do not end with the people we know.   Beyond our own social horizons, friends of friends can start chain reactions that eventually reach us, like waves from distant lands that wash up on our shores.”   Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler’s book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives – How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Fee, Think, and Do is a contemporary about how networks are created and gain momentum.

One of the things Christakis and Fowler say is that “new technologies . . . just realize our ancient propensity to connect to other humans, albeit with electrons flowing through cyberspace rather than conversations drifting through air.”   We love the new social media technologies, and we’re also dedicating to making sure folks we care about aren’t left out of the conversation.   Thus our first Social Media day – check out the posting and consider joining us.   There’ll be some way to virtually visit, and the hashtag for the day (the thing that looks like # and goes  on twitter) is #whatsahashtag (thanks, Susan!).

Spectrum Press will be represented at our Social Media day and so will some seven different agencies and organizations.   Jim has written a great update for what we’re working on to keep you all up to date.  Some really exciting things in the future.

Last but not least, check out the upcoming B.C. People First conference invitation for “Nothing About Us Without Us” at the Burnaby Metrotown Hilton this May.   In some research I’ve being doing I’ve been interested to see how important conferences are to self advocates and to the social justice movement of people with diversabilities.   It’s a combination of seeing what else is out there and bringing what you know to the table.   As Lee Anne says in her blog: learning, growing, changing.  This conference should be great, with self advocates from all over the province joining to conduct workshops and learn from peers (self advocates lead all the workshops).   There are three great reasons to support People First.  The first is that they are the only unaffiliated provincial group of self advocates and the second is that the provincial People First connects with all the other provinces, which connect internationally through Inclusion International.   Supporting our local and provincial chapters gives people with disabilities / diversabilities a global voice.   Giving that voice space and room is reason number three to support them, without interference.

If you’d like to jump straight into the e-newsletter and read the whole thing at once, please click here on www.101friends.ca 

Yours, Aaron

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