Kind promise: I will advocate courageously.

Watch for courageous advocates and they appear.

Paul Corby photo

Paul Corby

Yesterday, I signed a petition for a mother who is advocating that her son, Paul Corby, who has autism, be considered eligible for a heart transplant.  I learned of the case through the advocacy organization Not Dead Yet. They are a grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination.

Thinking about the organization and Paul Corby’s plight helped me clarify when to advocate. Whenever someone is being considered “less than” by another, the situation is unjust and advocacy is needed. This is especially true when groups of people are being identified as “less than” and are discriminated against as a result.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make a fair solution easy to find. When an interviewer asked Karen Corby how she would decide who gets a heart transplant, she replied that she doesn’t know. She just knows she has to fight on Paul’s behalf. I signed the petition to let Karen and Paul Corby know that I recognize the injustice and I’m on their side.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has written an excellent policy brief on organ transplant discrimination (PDF) that includes recommendations for how to create a more just organ transplant system in the United States.

I am awash in gratitude for Karen and Paul Corby, Not Dead Yet, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and other courageous advocates.

For now, my job is to say aloud, “this isn’t right. We can do better.”

9/18/20 – I was recently contacted by Matthew Daniel, who suggested that I had a link to this online safety guide for people with autism spectrum disorders. Matthew is modeling advocacy. Thanks Matthew!