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Lost In A Desert World

Creator: Roland Johnson (author)
Date: 1994
Source: Available at selected libraries

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I didn't do much. I was on the national steering committee; they votes me as a national steering committee in Nashville, to help people where to go, how to set up the next meeting.


I resented President Bush with a plaque, a reward for the ADA.


I was interviewed on CNN.


I lecture with Nancy Nowell -- that was a job for CHC -Coordinated Health Care -- K.W.-


We got people out of Embreevile -- some of them, they're not all out. -A state institution which has now been closed -- K.W.-


I talk to case managers in county offices about how to handle people when people come out of institutions, not to treat them mean or bad, because they can get very violent and you don't want to put them back in the institution; I don't want to see them back in the institution. I told them living in an institution was a horriful place; people beat you up; it was horrible.


I kept on believing and praying and hoping that this book will be written for people's 'sideration, letting people know about my life story. I thought of it -- I said that this book might be written, if I can find someone to help me to write the book. I'm a person that believes that something is going to happen. And it will take place; it will. I had no doubts in my mind that it would not never happen. It will happen.


This book is a story about my life; it's about my whole life story from now to then.


-- The End --


Third International People First Conference, Toronto, June, 1993


-Debbie Robinson's introduction.-


Thank you. Thank you, Debbie. I'm glad to be here today. I'm very glad to be here at all this three days. Today we're gonna talk about: How to be in control; who's in control. I want to know -- raising hands -- who are in control.


Are you in control?


Are staff in control?


Well, I understand that you need to be in control, and some of them are not in control because staff tells you what to do; advisors tell you what to do and staff tells you what to do. I don't believe that you are in control over your life. And there's some people out of state needs to understand that you are -- the people are -- 'posed to be in control of your life: how to set up, how to do things, how to make people understand you, how to make people love you and care for you.


I come back in Pennsylvania, I speak in front of a hundred people in Philadelphia.


My name is Roland Johnson and I'm glad to being here for welcome you here.


Control means being in self-control. . .who's in charge over you.


Are you in charge?


Is staff in charge?


But who's in charge?


Well, some people tell me that sometimes staff is in control, that you don't be in control over your life. And doing things in your workshops or in day program and in where you live -- staff in control.


I want to know who is telling you what to do. If you're telling yourself what to do or are you letting staff tell you what to do.


I can't hear you!


You're supposed to be in charge, right?


I can't hear you!


Who's in charge?


All right.


Are the workshop people in charge?


How about people getting the jobs?


How do you go to your supervisor or your staff, that you want to get a real job and work in community and on real jobs? How do you do that?


Can anyone tell me how you do that?




You go to your people whenever you want?




You tell them what you want. But do they listen?




Are they supposed to be serving you? I think that they sometimes want to take control. And people are not supposed to be taking in 'trol; staff is not taking in control. If this is supposed to be a movement -- I think that you supposed to be in how to tell them what you want done. And how to do things. And how to tell them, "Get off my back; let me be in charge; let me have in control over my life!"


I don't know how to put it this way, but I understand that there are a lot of people sometimes are not in control over their life; are not saying to themselves and saying to staff, "I want to be in charge of my own life. I want to be in charge."


Can you say that? With me?


I want to be in charge over my own life.


Not you telling me what to do.


I want to be in charge of my own life.


And I have a lot of people tell us that sometimes people just don't listen. There're people out there doesn't really listen to you. I know in Pennsylvania they don't listen very hard, very nicely. So we have to waken people up and make people understand that we are in control of our own life and tell us what to do. 'Cause when I was in Pennhurst, Pennhurst State School, I had people who controlled my life. I had people control me and tell me what to do, tell me when to get up, tell me when to go to bed, tell me what not to do: "If you don't go to work, if you don't do the things that you're supposed to do, then your privileges will be taken away from you."


How many people be in a situation like that? Show of hands.


Quite a few. Quite a few of you have been in situations like that, just like me.

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