Inclusion is Not Exclusion

Marsha Forest
Dec. 1994

Inclusion is
the future.
Inclusion is
belonging
to one race
the human race.
Inclusion is
a basic human right.
Inclusion is
struggling
to figure out
how to live
with one another.
Inclusion is not
something you do
to someone
or for someone.
It is something we do
with one another.
Inclusion is
not a person –
“the inclusion kid.”
not a program
not an adjective
not an add on.
Inclusion is
a noun.
Inclusion is not
something we do a little of.
It either is
or isn’t.
It is not a fad
or a bandwagon.
Inclusion is
a trend,
similar to democracy
“With liberty and justice for all.”
All means all.
No but’s about it!
Inclusion
is the opposite
of exclusion.
Inclusion is not
exclusion.
Inclusion is fair play
common sense
common decency
hard work.
Inclusion is
elegant in its simplicity
and, like love
awesome in its complexity.
Inclusion is
a battle cry
a parents cry
a child’s cry
to be welcomed
embraced
cherished
prized
loved as a gift
as a wonder
as a treasure.
Inclusion is not
spending more money on
building more prisons
mental hospitals
nursing homes
group homes
Inclusion is
investing in real homes
real life
real people
all people.
Inclusion is
pain
struggle
joy
tears
grief
mourning
celebration!
Inclusion is
the ship that isn’t even built yet.
It is a new ship.
One we will build together.
Inclusion is like a good jazz combo,
like an orchestra
disciplined to play melody
in harmony.
Inclusion is
a kaleidoscope of diversity .
bits of color
sounds, shapes, sizes.
Inclusion is
the future.