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With the final demolition of the last bit of Woodlands, I (Aaron Johannes) can't help but think how self advocate leader and community organizer Arnold Bennington would be celebrating.
Past President of B.C. People First, Arnold was a great mentor to me and gave me whole new ways to think about disability, leadership and possibility. When I became a provincial advisor and found out we had been remiss in not delivering a bunch of reports (the work was done, but reporting was not their strength) Arnold and I got called to Ottawa to explain and just as we were about to go into the meeting he leaned over and said, "This will be very sensitive Aaron - you know what sensitive means? So I think it's best if you just sit back and listen and let me handle it. I have a little more experience than you do." And he handled it superbly (I didn't even need to say any of what I thought I'd have to say) and he began my education. Arnold passionately wanted to see the end of all institutions, but Woodlands in particular and he'd be thrilled that BCPF continues to advocate and partner with others to stand up for a future without institutions.