A thousand times “thank you” to the Herald-Leader for a tribute celebrating Tony Dunn’s life and community contributions. He was fortunate to be loved and well honored while he lived.
For so many people considered disabled, life is lived in the shadows of our community and their stories are lost in the shuffle. Their lives are “managed” by a broken system with a revolving door of caseworkers and state guardians. With each new manager, a part of his story is lost and he becomes less of a person. The system is saturated with compliance and bureaucracy that overshadow each person’s life story.
When Bruce Burris and I created Latitude Artist Community, at the heart of our mission was storytelling: to tell the story of each person considered disabled and to preserve his story through the arts. As Dunn is laid to rest, may we preserve his memory and his story through his living and vibrant artwork. A nonverbal man, he spoke loudly through his art and made an impact on our community.
Let this be a reminder and our call to action. Monitor the systems you view as broken and make concerted efforts to repair them. Advocate for someone who does not have a voice. Become a part of someone’s story and let him not be forgotten.