When we think about diversity we mean everyone.
We first heard about Jackie and Joseph's mission at SNACK & Friends at the Randall's Island Park Awards Dinner. Jackie Galatola Ceonzo introduced herself to me after a glass of wine, leading with, "I know what it's like to be black."
For viewers at home, Jackie isn't black.
I waited to hear the follow-up to this brazen introduction.
"You see," Jackie continues, "my son Joey has autism and is 6 foot tall, 210 pounds. Everywhere we go people make assumptions about who we are and what we want because they think they know us. They either think he can't do anything or he's Mozart."
I sip my water with a smile as I listen because I'm wondering where this is going.
"Thanks to Daquan, we've been doing a little soccer with the kids for exercise in our center. So, one day Joey and I are leaving our apartment. This lady walks by with a little black and white dog. Without hesitation Joey lifts the dog with his foot about 3 feet off the ground. It wasn't a kick or the dog would have been across the street. But the look on that lady's face was of understandable shock even the though the dog seemed to enjoy the ride.
"But before I let her say anything, I forcefully complained, 'How dare you put your dog that looks like a soccer ball in front of my autistic son!!!' and we rushed off in the opposite direction and didn't look back."
While I don't fully agree with her opening remark, I got to understand the realities of families living with special needs children. We're more than happy that we have been able to contribute in our own way to helping SNACK & Friends help other families.
- Good things.