Camp Our Time and Self-Advocacy

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Get ready for some pretty awesome self-advocacy! The other night I went to a benefit event for the upcoming documentary, “The Way We Talk,” by Michael Turner. While there, I met Emily. She was sitting next to a table of t-shirts she had designed. Here’s the shirt design.

Screen-print on a t-shirt of "Too cool for normal speech." Below is a yellow smiley face icon wearing sunglasses and "A-a-ain't Even M-m-mad."
Emily is raising money for Camp Our Time through selling t-shirts she designed herself. The camp grew out of Our Time Theatre Company. Here’s a bit of why they do the work they do: “In a world that can be unkind to those who are different, kids who stutter often struggle to step out of the shadows of shyness and shame, and find the courage to express their unique and important voices.” Go Our Time!

Like me, Emily figured humor was one of the best ways to get people listening. And she doesn’t just sit passively and let you buy a shirt. She will take the time to try to educate folks as much as she can so more people can know about stutterers and their journeys. She’s definitely an activist because, as she puts it, “really, who’s normal?” She’s rather proud to not be normal!

I asked Emily what she hopes to get across with the shirts. She says they are, “for everyone to know about this and not have people who stutter cower back and go unseen.”

It’s way too common for people to shame someone whose speech sounds different from the “norm.” You see it in playground taunts and in adults waving their hands around as if it will make someone stop stuttering miraculously. Are you waving your hand around to make them feel better or to make yourself feel better because it bothers you to watch someone work so hard to speak?

Side note: Waving your hand at someone to hurry up and spit out their conversation does not help a stutterer. It is at best annoying and at worst humiliating.

So let’s give three hurrahs to Emily and her humor and activism. And let’s give lots of donations to get her to Camp Our Time in North Carolina this summer. To donate and purchase a t-shirt, please send an email here! T-shirts are $20 each, student discount available.