Over the past month there has been an important national discussion concerning discriminatory remarks about people living with mental illness in the media. My recent posts were written as open letters to Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Brian Williams inviting them into a discussion about the use of language and the power of words in perpetuating damaging and hurtful stereotypes. One of my blog titles addressed to these three men was " Will you be our heroes?" asking them to use their high profile media platforms to bring awareness to this topic and educate the public about the need for more careful use of language. Brian Williams immediately issued a thoughtful apology about his error in reporting about the Ariel Castro case a few weeks ago but Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil have ignored all invitations to engage in a conversation about their insensitive portrayal of people with mental illness on their shows. Their silence is actually perfect because our true hero, a role model for all has emerged. An angel of compassion and courage has arrived to teach the simple and powerful lesson of love and her name is Antoinette Tuff.
At the same time that Antoinette was entering into her divine intervention with Michael Brandon Hill and the police officials in Decatur, Georgia I was wrapping up a radio interview about this very topic of respect and compassion for people living with mental health challenges with Pete Earley and Sheila Hamilton of KINK FM. Developing more awareness and changing our language around mental illness was the focus of our interview. WORDS can hurt, WORDS can heal, WORDS can save lives. Antoinette Tuff has inspired the nation with her courage and her words of hope and love which prevented another horrific tragedy involving young children.
At the Flawless Foundation our tagline is "seeing the perfection in every child". We salute Antoinette for seeing the perfection in Michael Brandon Hill and honoring the spark of divinity in him. Despite the unthinkable, life threatening crisis, we salute her for her miraculous ability to connect with this man and his pain through her own humanity. We write this message of gratitude to our inspiring hero who has gracefully shown us that if we could all embody this level of love and compassion there would be peace on earth. Combining quotes from the 911 call transcript of Antoinette's life saving interaction with Michael with lyrics of love and peace by George Harrison we say, Thank YOU, Antoinette Tuff, the heroic angel we have been waiting for.
Give me Love
Give me Love
" I just want you to know I love you, though, OK? And I'm proud of you."
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
"That's a good thing that you're just giving up and don't worry about it. We all go through something in life."
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
"It's going to be all right, sweetie,"
Help me cope
With this heavy load
Trying to touch and reach you with heart and soul
"We're not gonna hate you, baby. It's a good thing that you're giving up,"
Ooommmm my lord
"I love you , I will pray for you."
Please take hold of my hand that I might understand you.
"I thought the same thing, you know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me," she said. "But look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK."