Good evening all,
I was inspired to write this blog today because I had a thought about what a neighbor told me recently. I usually don't have a chance to speak to my neighbors, after all, we're on different schedules and most times we're lucky if we even say "hello" to each other. But my neighbors know I stutter, and we actually were chatting for a few minutes, which was rare, and we were discussing the current events of the world. He closed the conversation with this quote: "The real America doesn't exist anymore. No one cares about each other, hell, no one wants to help each other."
Growing up in high school I always used to enjoy the classes were politics would be brought up. I love history, and learning about how this country rose to power and came to being. You also learn about how this is the "land of the free, home of the brave," but I really believe that is not always true. There are many sides of this country where we are still divided, where it is us vs. them. I used to believe in my college years that I stuttered, therefore I wasn't....I wasn't anything. It was always me against the world. It could have been me against the music...no that's something else I am thinking of.
Every day we read the newspapers and check the Internet, and something else is happening. There's more finger-pointing. Someone is saying don't blame me, it's this other person's fault. Another company cut jobs because they had no choice. And you begin to really wonder if that's true...that the real America doesn't exist anymore. For those people who think that's true....I would like to tell you about the National Stuttering Association. The "real America" exists with them. It's where one teammate stands up for another. It's where a family who doesn't know where to turn can call and ask for help. It's a place where hope never dies for anyone who stutters. I firmly believe that for four days out of the year, the NSA conference is summer camp/empowerment/the real America all rolled into one. The nights spent laughing, crying, just being there. Yes, Facebook is great. But there is just no better feeling than seeing one of your teammates, giving them a crisp, firm handshake or powerful hug, to show you are genuinely happy to see them. This is the real America. And the four days of feeling can, and will carry you through the other 361.
I'll be there in Arizona....I hope you'll join 630 teammates of mine too.
My name is Steven Kaufman, and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.