Open Letter to Collin Brewer


Dear Mr Collin Brewer

Sadly, since I wrote this letter Cllr Brewer has decided to stand again in the May Local Elections. Misguided and naiive to the public feeling against him that spans the world.


AN OPEN LETTER TO WADEBRIDGE COUNCILLOR MR COLLIN BREWER

Dear Mr Brewer

I appreciate that you are probably rather snowed under at the moment, a little shell shocked perhaps, reeling from the worldwide reaction to your foolish and hurtful error. But feel that a few minutes spent reading my letter might change your life as it now stands.

I have just returned from a gathering of beautiful child models, meeting together in an historic building for a photoshoot, all of them bursting with life. There were giggles and hugs and sulks, play fighting and tickling, far too many crisps were consumed, and it took a lot of persuasion to get some to play ball in front of the cameras. Each one had a personality that filled the room and each was quite the little diva.

But you see one of the smallest and arguably the most cheeky was our daughter Natty. And Natty has Down's Syndrome. As in fact do all the other children we met that day.


My motivation to change the way the world views this extra chromosome is personal, and that day we had gathered to celebrate the doors that our children are opening, the perceptions they are gently changing and the inspiration they are providing to new families and children with disabilities everywhere simply by being included in mainstream advertising.



 Natty is 6, an ambassador, a teacher and melts hearts wherever she goes. She puts back far more into society than she takes from it, as she entertains, laughs, sings, dances, jokes, brings people together, teaches tolerance and an understanding of difference. For EQ cannot be measured financially. She intuitively watches out for the emotional needs of her classmates, always there for the needy, the upset, the ones with the bumped knees. You see Colin, a person's worth can never be equated to pounds coins.

I'm sure she would make a beeline for you if she ever met you, for your buffoonery and lack of understanding of the world is as great a disability as any, even more tragic in one who should be old and wise enough to know better by now. She would feel sorry for what you are missing out on, as indeed I do, my hurt and anger aside. I too was ignorant about disability before Natty was born. I have since made up for that, and it is not too late for you to learn that inclusion is a two-way street. The only burden I'd rather not have on my shoulders is tackling the misinformed and comforting those upset by thoughtlessness such as yours.



I have oft come across those who are purposely hurtful and hateful, the Geoffery Clarks of the world, the trolls of life. But my motto is to ignore them, not put air in their lungs by fuelling their hatred, to simply shine light on their darkness.

But I do not for one second believe that you are one such individual Colin. Do you really want to euthanise the disabled? Of course not.

Did you let your Councillor’s hat slip and your true colours show? Yes, even if those true colours were just hot-headedness and a desire to provoke and hurt, and that will simply not do. As a former teacher I understand the importance of always acting responsibly in public and you did not.

Are you out of touch with social media? Yes. You never dreamed the stone would roll so far and pick up such hateful moss along the way, much of it exaggerated, out of context and frankly more worrying than your initial comments. The 'army' of people you have upset is far greater than the small collection of voters you represented. “Scores” doesn’t come close to covering it.

Did you do a lot of good in your career and were you well respected by the people of Wadebridge? Yes, and I have spoken to many of them personally, being a very local lady. I actually felt a little bit sorry for you as I watched the proceedings unfold, because you seemed a little naiive.

It’s time to remove your blinkers now and enjoy the jigsaw of life around you. To see what we can all learn from each other. I hope that other disability groups and parents will offer you an olive branch such as I am doing now.

I wish you a happy retirement, although my mind's eye envisages an embarrassed brood of grown up children and a wife who wishes you had kept your mouth shut. An inbox full of hatred and your name smeared across every paper. Bitterness fills the air.

It’s not too late to meet with us, or other disability groups, share a coffee and make amends properly.
I for one, thank you for doing the right thing and for stepping down.

We now need to channel our energies in proper disability training for all council staff, starting now.


Yours sincerely




Hayley Goleniowska
Author of Downs Side Up
Cornwall

41 comments:

  1. Ok, wiping away tears. You've done it again lady, only you could get your point across so eloquently, without going for the many easy shots we'd all like to take at this man and that thing he said, which I can even bring myself to write on your blog xx

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    1. That's not to say I didn't think all the easy shots ;) Thank you x

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  2. Hi, can i just say your letter is very well put. As a carer to a disabled son and husband, his comments hurt. I think your letter conveys the way alot of disabled people and their carers feel.
    I have had to put up with bullying towards my son and hurtfull remarks. However, like yourself I wouldn't change him for the world.
    Please keep up your brillant work xx

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    1. Thank you. His comments hurt and angered me too, however he has brought many of us closer together for which I am grateful x

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  3. Well said ! As parents of an autistic child I find that hateful hurtful comments are usually uttered in ignorance. It would be more productive for this man to begin educating himself on disabilities in order to make amends . People make mistakes but learn from them.

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    1. I do hope training for council departments such as police and councillors can be implemented after this.

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  4. Beautifully written, thank you.

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  5. This is a beautiful letter Im in tears reading it.

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  6. Well done :) What a horrid statement to make, unbelievable!

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    1. Horrid and completely inappropriate given his job. On we go x

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  7. I'm so glad you are able to champion these special and extraordinary people through your blog inspired by your beautiful daughter.

    I've found having my own disabled child often very isolating in the early years. The one upside to the Colin Brewer fiasco is the opportunity to celebrate our children now that other folk are listening. It's rare that I ever mention my son, Mungo, in my blog as I normally find it too painful to express. I did write this time though: "My son didn't choose to be disabled."

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    1. Thank you. Yes, I am thankful that we are all pulling together in spite of this ignorant man. I will pop over to your blog and say hello.

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  8. I really love your letter and its even-handed and considered points of view. It is easy to see why you were blessed with such a beautiful child as it seems to be a two way street. I do hope that Mr. Brewer and his family read your words as I think they will be heartened by them. You never know maybe he will take you up on your offer to meet you and your group. Wouldn't it be fab if he then became involved a patron even it would really be a silver lining to the enormous cloud that has been hanging over his head lately. One can only hope. ;D Maria Farrar Blackpool xxxx

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    1. You are too kind. We'll see where this goes and in the meantime I am grateful for meeting with so many amazing people. A silver lining indeed.

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  9. Hayley, I swear, as your biggest, on-line, over the ocean, mother-in-arms fan. I will never stop being amazed at how well you Rock!

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    1. You are very kind Mardra, I love your work too.

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  10. You have put this over with a graciousness and eloquence I am not sure I could afford this individual were I in your shoes. Well spoken Natalie!

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    1. It always takes me a few days to calm down and write these things mind you! Thank you x

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  11. A beautifully eloquent letter, my feelings are just as yours are, even though I do not have a disabled child. This man went a step too far and has to live with the consequences, well done to you for pointing him in the right direction.

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  12. What a thoughtful and inspirational message, touches a chord with everyone - even including Mr Brewer I'm sure.

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    1. Thank you, although I'm sure he is turning a blind eye to all communication right now...

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  13. Wonderfully put - as always!

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    1. Thank you Carie. What an ignorant fellow

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  14. Such a beautifully written letter! So calm and measured, yet fully expressing the hurt and anger behind it. It has to have been inspired by a wonderful love and I just hope Mr Brewer is touched by it.

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    1. Thank you, yes he hurt and angered so many but I waited a few days to calm down before writing. WE can hope he will one day read it.

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  15. A very well written, articulate letter you've taken the time to compose there. Such a shame that should the ignorant old muppet it's aimed at actually bother to take the time to read even so much as the first sentence, (which I find highly unlikely), unfortunately I strongly suspect that it will very much have fallen on deaf ears. As a disabled adult having lived with spina-bifida my whole life I've encountered this kind of ignorant, misguided nonsense all too often and I'm afraid the softly softly, lets all just have a coffee together, forgive and forget method never gets through to these people.

    Frankly as far as I'm concerned this idiot deserves every single one of the hate filled e-mails, all of the negative press and a hell of a lot more besides. If it were up to me he would be prosecuted for hate crime against the disabled, locked up and the key thrown away. My reaction may seem severe to some but the fact is that if he'd made those comments about a specific racial minority for example that's likely exactly what would happen but since the con-dem so called Government has essentially condoned treating people with disabilities as social pariah this type of ignorant persecution is only going to become more prevalent unless a hardline, zero tolerance stance is taken with these 'people'.

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    1. You are absolutely right of course, and no he won't have read it. The upside is that his ignorance has brought many of us together and I guess now he's gone we can move towards identifying others and retraining the rest.

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  16. Thank you. I wanted to say more, but I think that really sums it up....and yes, I'm crying as well.

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    1. So to make you cry. Yes, it is such an emotive subject.

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  17. Sweetheart, well done you as ever. Over my years working in charities often with vulnerable people, I have come to the conclusion that rather than judge the judgmental (and hence become like them), education and information is the way. That is what you do so well here. You make a difference every day and remain an inspiration.
    One day, I will be honoured to meet your family.

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    1. Thank you, it's my way. Many think I'm too soft but it's the only way I know how.
      Yep, hope to meet you all this summer perhaps! xxx

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  19. Hayley, the disabled are already euthanised.... It's called abortion.

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    1. Yes, there are many reasons people choose abortion, euthanasia being one of them.
      Here's the evidence I gave in parliament re Disability Abortion Law http://www.downssideup.com/2013/02/evidence-by-downs-side-up-in.html

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  20. Well done, I imagine this letter left him speechless, not a bad idea until he overcomes his invincible ignorance. Sadly, looking at the 90% abortion rate for our lovely children, he is not along in his bigotry.
    We have a lot of conversion of hearts to do, Hayley.
    Back to work. . .

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    1. Thank you, although I doubt he's read it Leticia. His comments were made in haste and when angry so just a buffoon really. Sadly he is standing again for the May elections :/

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