So Remembrance Day is around the corner and for the first year of my life, I am making a conscious choice not to wear one of those poppies that are available in exchange for a donation. I don’t think I can look at those plastic poppies the same way again.
It is not that I have changed my opinion on the importance of remembering the horrors of war and keeping those losses and the ideologies that lead to them at the forefront of the social consciousness. this is not a rant against Remembrance Day or a commentary on veterans.
I just learned that in Ontario, those ubiquitous plastic poppies are sometimes assembled in sheltered workshops. These are places where disabled people work for subminimum wage, segregated from the rest of society.
I cannot in good conscious wear a symbol to honour the past, that was created by a system that systematically segregates and devalues people in the present.
Instead of wearing one of those mass produced poppies I will instead purchase a poppy brooch, that I can be assured was not manufactured in a sheltered workshop.
One thought on “Tainting the Poppy: Remembrance Day and Sheltered Worshops”
I have mixed feelings on things like this. On one hand, I have never been able to last at a job for more than a few weeks. I eventually had to go on disability ssi. Sometimes I wonder if could manage working a day or two a week in a place that only hires disabled people. I would like to spend more time with the people I see as my actual peers and maybe make some friends. There are no social groups for disabled adults in my area, but I attended a group in another town for a while until the man who ran it moved away and it ended. It was life changing for someone like me who had been misdiagnosed in childhood and had never been around my fellow disabled people before. It felt like I finally belonged somewhere and wasn’t out of place for once in my life. I could relax, be myself and didn’t have to try to pass, which I have been doing my whole life and that led to a great deal of stress. I might also be able to get the proper support I need to work in a place like that, instead of people ignoring me because I come across as intelligent and I am quiet/not a squeaky wheel. However, I obviously don’t think paying people below minamum wage should be allowed. That aspect is horrible, but I would rather see people work to make things better rather than shutting these places down.