This post is an open letter to Q92 in Alliance, Ohio, and Mo, host of the Mo Show. Recently, a beautiful woman with Down syndrome mistakenly dialed the station's number thinking it was the phone number of a friend of hers. Mo took the opportunity to humiliate her, recorded the phone call and played it on the air for all to hear and laugh along. I am sickened by this and this is my response to his prank. If you would like to read the news story please visit http://www.timesreporter.com/features/x898122120/Radio-DJ-mocks-Strasburg-woman-with-disability-family-responds?photo=0&zc_p=1
I had never heard of you until today and I can honestly tell you that my initial impression of you is not all that positive. In fact, I would likely refer to you as a bully based solely on what I do know. But, words are powerful things and as I do not know you- I won't even stoop to calling you what many already are.
I want to tell you a story. It's an important one so I honestly hope you will take the time to read this and reflect on it. I am the mother of 3 children. I have two sons and a daughter. My sons are identical twins and they are absolutely incredible. They have huge brown eyes, they smile and laugh all the time but can throw a temper tantrum that could stop traffic. They give incredible hugs but their favorite greeting for a friend is a fist bump or a high five! They are really typical 3 year olds. They LOVE cars, playing basketball, and they love to paint and listen to music. They adore dinosaurs- the T-Rex especially, and they think nothing is better than playing in the backyard with our family dog. They love little girls (ok, in all honesty- they love all girls and women, regardless of their age.) They like building with their blocks and watching the movies Cars and Cars 2. The get really excited about big trucks and motorcycles. In short- they are just like every other 3 year old boy out there.
Today, as we got out the van and started walking into school I heard a sweet little voice say behind me, "That's Casey and Connor! They are my friends, mommy!" It was a perfect moment- one of many that I have had with my boys- and I can tell you, even my heart smiled. Why is that such a big deal? Because that sweet little girl who exclaimed proudly that Casey and Connor are her friends said so without any idea that there is a difference between her and the boys. She sees them and sees only their awesome personalities. But there is a small difference between her and my boys. See, my boys have Down syndrome and there are many who see them and only see limitations or an easy target for mockery and cruelty.
When Casey and Connor were just 10 weeks old I made a post in a support group for parents of children with Down syndrome on Facebook. It was on that forum that a man told me I should be ashamed of myself for having my kids. I should kill them. He said there were enough retards in the world and shame on me for bringing more into the world. I was shocked- unable to breathe. Heartbroken. The pain that those words caused me- still cause me- are impossible to describe to someone who has never lived through something like that. After your on air stunt involving Kellie Baker I wonder, are you that cruel? Are you capable of telling a young, first time mother that she should murder her babies because they have Down syndrome? Are you that heartless? I should hope not. Perhaps you are horrified that I could make the connection between that jerk who encouraged me to kill my 10 week old babies and you who only made a little joke at the expense of woman who made a mistake we have all made hundreds of times- she simply dialed a wrong number.
Truthfully though, there is little difference between you and Mr. Murder your kids because you both spread HATE and PAIN and you both enjoy getting a rise out of people and you both feel superior to someone who is disabled. So, there you go, Mo. You are just like the man who sent me into such a whirlwind of depression that I couldn't even look at my sweet boys for days without sobbing, wondering what terrible world I brought them into- where they would be mocked, told they should be dead, hurt. I felt like a monster for bringing children so full of innocence into a world that seeks to destroy things that are innocent and pure just for pleasure.
But I was wrong.
Casey and Connor are in this world to make it a better place. They don't seek to hurt people. They don't make fun of the kid who falls in the hallway at school. They offer their tiny little hand to help him up. They would see you in the store and smile their million dollar smiles at you and I guarantee you would smile back. They would raise their little fist to you to fist bump and they would never know that you went out of your way to humiliate, degrade and belittle a woman who also shares their syndrome. They would see you as a friend- not as the enemy. They would look at you like someone who they were thrilled to meet. And those are the reasons I am glad every single day that my babies are here. They remind me every day to be my best self. They teach me to quit judging people by how they speak or how they look. They are the reason why I want YOU to know that though there are thousands of angry people out there who wish to see you fired, to see your sponsors drop their advertising with your station, to see YOU humiliated- I am not one of them. Casey and Connor have helped me see the good in people- even ones who make idiotic mistakes, which is what I think you did. I think you made a mistake- trying to be funny and controversial. You missed the mark and instead of bringing Kellie Baker down you only succeeded in making yourself look foolish, and small and cruel. Sure, there are many out there that would defend you but there are far more that think you are a small man who hides behind a microphone and headset and chooses to use his platform to hurt someone who seeks only to get a fair break in the world.
There are kids who are bullied every day because they are different. They are tortured. Some kill themselves- some kill others. Many young people are begging for the bullying to stop. Many want nothing but peace in their schools, homes and on Facebook and Twitter. If kids "get it" why don't you? Why would you take an opportunity where you could have chosen to explain kindly to a woman she dialed the wrong number but instead you opted make fun of her and record it and play it on the air so that many people could laugh at her? Why can't you have been more like that sweet girl at my sons' school who so proudly exclaimed, "They are my friends, mommy!" Why did you choose the low road? In the end, Kellie Baker will survive this and she will have nothing but love and support. You'll survive it as well but you have forever tainted your name and your reputation with this deplorable stunt.
I hope that all the angry people out there who fight every day for their loved ones with Down syndrome show you far more compassion than you chose to show Miss Baker. Furthermore, I hope you are blessed with an opportunity to meet and get to know and love someone with Down syndrome. Your life will only be better for that chance. Before I go I want you to know that I would never trade or change my boys for anything. I would never trade my life for someone else's. I have learned that the worst thing in life is not having children with disabilities- that's a blessing. I think the worst thing in life would be to fail at my job as a mother and raise a child who would be cruel to a person with a disability. That would break my heart.
Good luck to you, Mo.
Meghan M. Wilkinson
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio