Good evening everyone,
The newspaers all over are expressing outrage from citizens about the extreme bonuses given to AIG executives in this age of bailouts. I couldn't believe when I read in one article that some former employees actually fear for their lives because of the hatred being spewed by those who resent what happened. When you're angry about something, it's only normal to react based on emotion. And for some, anger evolves into wanting to make a difference. And that is one reason, among others, that I joined the National Stuttering Association.
One of my favorite television shows growing up was "Family Matters," aka the Steve Urkel Show. I'll never forget one episode, where Eddie Winslow was pulled over by two Chicago police officers and harrassed because he was black. And when he broke down in front of his father because he was angry about it, his father said something I can still remember: "You can let that anger eat you up inside, or you can do something and give that anger a voice. That's why I became a police officer." I felt so angry with everything about my life..angry that I felt "different," angry that my parents were indifferent, angry about everything. I am very raw and open about my speech. I admit to everyone I just didn't know how to deal. I tried cutting, and please, don't ever ever do that. I decided that on a spur of the moment to attend the National Stuttering Association. Nothing has ever been the same since and my life has come full circle.
There are some people who stutter who accept things the way they are, and there's nothing wrong with that. But maintaining the status quo means that things won't change unless you want them to. Because of those days I spent in California, I saw the potential I had. I saw just how dynamic I can be. One person can really make a difference. I've seen how my teammates make difference in their own communities, and I share their stories-stories of how one teammate attends a chapter meeting for the first time and is overcome with emotion that they found it.
I want everyone to know how truly great the National Stuttering Association is. If you are angry and hurting, reach out to us. If you are alone, reach out to us. Our teammates and myself will help you. I am as accountable to everyone, and make sure your voice is heard. Don't doubt one person can change the world...sometimes it is the only constant in life.
My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.