After getting through LB’s birthday weekend, it was cheering to get the news this afternoon that his ‘Colour’ painting is going to appear on the front cover of a Disability Studies textbook (confirmed in a heartwarming email from the publisher that generated more tears). Wow.
Approaching Disability, written by Rebecca Mallet/Katherine Runswick-Cole, will be published by Routledge next year.
What a dude.
And another demonstration of thought, engagement, outrage.
I was involved in a twitter discussion earlier today about how people respond to public expressions of grief/writings about death. This inevitably touched on what happened to LB, as I haven’t held back with expressing exactly how I feel. In real time. [A few choice phrases spring to mind.. cough cough.] The discussion ended with agreement that people (some/many?) want to express solidarity. People are helping, contributing and supporting in so many different ways.
Expressions of solidarity.
The response to the fund/LB’s artwork has been phenomenal. My mum, Val, has been packaging cards, postcards and prints, beetling to and from the post office, maintaining a spreadsheet and monitoring ‘stock levels’. (There has been a slight delay with the ‘Colour’ prints but these will be sent out this week.) Little sis Sam has been giving us marketing advice, with other offers of help carefully logged.
Our total so far – estimated as we don’t have the current balance – is around £3,000.
Wow. What can I say other than an enormous thank you. Orders have come flooding in which is truly amazing. LB’s pictures will be popping up all over the country, and further afield. A hearts and mind cascade. And such a collective response indicates that the current status of learning disabled people who (as with some other groups) are clearly not seen as full and valid citizens in many settings and spaces, is not acceptable.
One of the two pictures is also going to be used as the cover image on the abstract book for the Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster next September. This is particularly touching as I’ve attended this conference since it started back in the day and LB was a pup. It seems fitting that he will have a presence there (sob).
Lastly, a request from my mum; can you make sure you include your address with your orders? And if you haven’t, can you email it to her (email@example.com). She is starting to send the cards and pictures out tomorrow.
After months of thought, discussion with various people and organisations, we’re launching LB’s Fighting Fund. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, eight days before LB’s birthday. In a week that included a remarkable development in the horrible space we’ve occupied for the best part of this year. The NHS Trust have commissioned an independent investigation into LB’s death. This was a puzzling development in some ways. Kind of brilliant news, but at the same time, not really something to ‘celebrate’. How could it be really? LB died. And crushing questions remain about why he died.
Anyway, today the fund and (more) action. To raise money towards the costs of legal representation at the inquest (which will be held at some point in the next year). Many people have said they want to help in some way and we hit on the idea of raising some of the money using LB’s remarkable artwork.
If any legal costs are recovered, or the artwork generates more money than the legal costs needed (because he was a cracking artist, after all, and any number of fridges/shelves/noticeboards across the country will be brightened with one of his postcards), any remaining money will be split between two exceptional charities; INQUEST.org and Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN).
To find out more details about the fund, click on the ‘about’ tab. To see our fundraising efforts, and the artwork available, click on the ‘fundraising’ tab.
I hope the information is clear. Please shout if it isn’t.