“You must understand that because of you, I can go to sleep at night in peace knowing my brother is well cared for.”
There are variations on the quote, and all kinds of people, from Gandhi to Winston Churchill, have been credited. But the basic message is the same: A society is judged by how well it treats its weakest and most vulnerable citizens.
So right now, Rhode Island is not looking so hot. Over the past few months, those vulnerable citizens — in group homes, day programs, workshops — have felt the most vital thing in their lives threatened by disastrous state budget cuts.
For the developmentally disabled, routine is important. A comfortable familiarity with people and things and activities makes the challenge of their disability much easier to deal with. Take that away — cut staff, eliminate programs, reduce transportation — and life gets harder. A sense of worth, a sense of community are threatened.