I remember with fondness the cluster of self-advocacy groups that organized in and around Philadelphia in the 1980s. Most of these associations of persons with intellectual disabilities springing up across America at that time called themselves “People First” organizations, but not this group. It chose an action title: “Speaking for Ourselves.” After all, wasn't this the basic, down-to-earth goal the members longed for so deeply?

Then, in the late 1980s, the members of Speaking for Ourselves decided that every great movement needed a rallying song. After all, if the alumni of Notre Dame's “Fighting Irish” could sing their enthusiastic support for their teams, why couldn't self-advocates sing with the same gusto to buck up and hold together their members?

At that time, a soft-spoken young man worked as a supporter of Speaking for Ourselves. Karl Williams is a man with better than a decade...

You do not currently have access to this content.