Onecandream - Empowerment Hell

"Empowerment Hell" is about my experience as a member and an officer of the Indiana SILC. Two days before I wrote this poem, I went to a public facilitated discussion. I did not go to be disruptive, and the public was given No Prior Notice that they would not be able to speak (or laugh) if they attended. I drove three hours to participate. I was told by Dee Ann that public comment was not on the agenda and that I would not be able to address the council at any time during the entire two days (this included the regular ICOIL meeting). Not only was I not allowed to participate, the council voted to call the police simply because I wanted to introduce myself. To see video the public portion of the facilitated discussion visit the video archive.

All I intended to say in my introduction was something like: Hi, my name is Ramona Harvey, I am from Evansville, and I used to serve on this council as Secretary. I have been involved in Independent Living all of my life, and have a great deal of personal and professional experience in this area. I am hoping to see things improve in Indiana.

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Download Lyrics to The Answer They're Not Gonna Send written June 8, 2007

Empowerment Hell

Read by Author Ramona Harvey

Iíve got no money
And I cannot walk
And when I go to ICOIL
I canít even talk

This is my story,
I want to tell
About my journey
Through empowerment hell

When it all started,
I thought itíd be good
Governor appointed
Iíd do all I could

They had no by-laws
And they were a waste of my time
They wanted minutes
That would cover their crime

But I didnít know that
When I started last May
Because I believed
All the lies they would say

I didnít have much money
And I never could walk,
But in the beginning
They allowed me to talk

They gave me a title
And they said Iíd do well
Then I started my journey
Through empowerment hell

With no discussion
They forced bylaws through
The ADA was violated,
Because they wanted to

And I had to write the minutes
So what else could I do?
But listen to the tapes
And write down what was true

The Report of Findings said that weíd done bad
And I did not want the liability I had
But I know too many people, who are important to me
Who are lost in this system without a voice to get free

So I signed their bylaws
And I continued to write
Bringing the issues
Honestly to light

And I called to the people
To make their voice heard
And if it was said for the record
I wrote every word

I have no money
And I cannot walk
But when Jodi James was chair
The people could talk

But there is too much corruption
And too much fraud
And too many people
Valuing money, not God

So when we went to DC, Jodi and I
We meet with Tom Kelley and talked eye to eye
We didnít know if heíd listen, but we had to try
Because in our backwards state Ė too many die

We had no money
And we could not walk
But we were officers of ICOIL
Ready to talk

Because the people do matter
And we were both fair
ICOIL lynched us
While we werenít even there

They made accusations,
That they could not prove
And so going to the Governor
Was our next move

But in Indiana
The state does not care
And the Feds are just wanting
To pretend itís not there

We met with Mitchís staff
For nine hours - it took us two days
We outlined the corruption
In so many ways

And when it was all over
I gladly gave my word
we would work with them
If the people could be heard

And Jon Vanator,
He agreed that it was bad
And he wished I had not been treated
The way that I had

I thought the governor cared
And would step up to the plate
Demanding an end
To the slander, corruption, and hate

When that did not happen
Things only got worse
In December the council members
Lined their own purse

This is just part of the story
I just had to tell
About the truth, and my journey
Through empowerment hell

I am part of the public
And I never could walk
But now when I go to ICOIL
I cannot even talk

By Ramona Harvey
March 16, 2007

This poem documents actual events - For more information go toIndiana SILC (ICOIL) Resources and Directories on onecandream.

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