Twenty five people attended the Cambridge State Hospital Cemetery clean up. After bagging leaves, planting flowers and connecting with others we ended by singing a civil rights song called “Step by Step.”
Following the clean up, was a potluck where we recognized Dorothy Anderson. Dorothy Anderson was born in Fairbault state hospital. Dorothy lived in the state hospital in Cambridge until the ADA helped move people out of state institutions and into the communities.
After 70 years, Dorothy is still getting information about her family and who they were with the help of Remembering With Dignity. We presented Dorothy information at the Potluck that she can keep about her family. Judy Foster came from Milwaukee to find her long lost aunt’s grave. For years Judy had been looking for her aunt Evelyn Cross. She knew she was placed in the State hospital when she was six and died when she was 16.
Judy explained that her mother would tell her about her aunt Evelyn who was born with Spina Bifida and how Judy’s mother would carry her until her family had her admitted. Self Advocates of MN embraced Judy, we were so excited that she was able to be apart of our cause, and to tell Evelyn’s story. So many others are not as lucky as Dorothy and Judy to know who or where there loved ones are buried.
Remembering Dignity Project continues to research and place names instead of numbers on state hospital cemeteries throughout MN. It is important as human beings that we treat one another with respect and dignity. We need to tell our stories and work together for the common good for all. Hope to see more of the community next year.
Self Advocates Community Organizer