Roland Sykes June 1st, 1953 - March 10th, 2008
I started onecandream before I ever really knew Roland, and I started it because I was disillusioned and lost. By that I mean to say, that I have seen many things in the world that I wish I had never seen, and people doing things solely for the material wealth, personal gain and comfort today without any consideration of who they were hurting, or where they would end up.
I also saw many people who somewhere along the line had given up their dreams and decided to settle, for the best that they thought they could have, even if they deserved more. I believed that there had to be more to life then what people were trying to get me to settle for. There were certain things that I knew to be true:
That all people, no matter who they are, where they come from, and what they have done, are important and it is not inherently more difficult to choose to be a positive impacting force, it is just an awful lot more scary.
That it is not inherently more difficult to create then it is to destroy.
That anything was possible, but first you had to believe it was possible, and conceive that it was possible.... in other words, one had to be able to dream.
Onecandream came about because a lot of people were telling me to stop dreaming and settle, because that is the way that it works.... and I was starting to believe that they were right. So truth be told onecandream began as my last ditch assertion that I was not going to give up on myself and my dreams, or others that I cared about and their dreams. It was and is an acclamation of hope, and personally for me.... it is how I decided to answer the question Can one dream? I answered yes, one can dream. At first, I answered that way because I could not bear the thought of living in world where I had to settle for something less then what I was just because society or people who didn't know me told me that I had to. But later, (sometime between when I started the site, and when I lost control of its content and created the Secretary's Chronicles because there was a truth that had to be told) I discovered that I was not any longer answering the question, Can one Dream, as yes one can, because I was afraid of the alternative, but rather because I truly believed that one could dream.
Roland Sykes was a friend of mine, and onecandream.com, because at some point in his life when he could have chosen to settle, he instead chose to also answer the question Can one dream, by declaring with his actions, that yes one can.
There is a memorial for Roland, that you can go to on dimenet.com the site that he founded. You are welcome to go there. On the site you will find a lot pictures, and even the thoughts about Roland that I submitted that you can read below. While I do have some pictures of Roland, I am not going to post them, but you can see plenty there.
Roland was my friend, and I got to have several conversations with him, some of which were about advocacy issues others were not. During one of these conversations I remember exclaiming, yeah, but you’re Roland, you’ve got dimenet, and a bus, I am just me, I don't have any money and all I got is onecandream, there is a lot of info on there, but it is not anything fancy. What he told me was, it did not matter that I did not have any money, or whether my website was fancy, he said because when you speak the truth it does not have to be fancy, just true.
So if you don't mind, I am gonna leave the fancy stuff to someone else, and just stick to the truth, my truth as I know it.
The truth as I see it, is that my friend Roland never wanted to be in the spotlight, or a martyr. What he wanted to be was a man who could continue to answer the question, can one dream, with the answer yes one can... and he wanted to share that ability with others I think what Roland wanted to do was to give people the knowledge and the tools that they needed to be able to stand up for their freedoms, and dreams, especially when there are so many people in this world trying to take those things away when we aren't looking.
I don't think Roland wanted to much of anything fancy, just to live his life the way he wanted to live it... and to give others that same opportunity. I had the opportunity to be in several advocacy situations with Roland, and I never once saw him grab for the microphone. I am not saying that he was not willing to say something, when he thought there was something to be said, but what I am saying is the Roland I knew was happier just being the dude in the back of the room who occasionally spoke or smiled.
So I do have a few pictures, a few encouraging e-mails, and a few conversations that I could share, but you won't find them here not on onecandream.com. Because I believe my friend Roland would rather share his dream not him as his legacy. Because you see Roland never did what he did for glory, he did what he did because it was the right thing to do and because he was a man with vision and dreams, and enough bravery to try to achieve those dreams not just for himself, but for others.
I know that is not fancy, but it is the truth as I see it, and the reason why I am taking the time to acknowledge someone I grew to respect. He was someone who thought I mattered when he did not have to. He was someone who believed it was possible to dream and acted accordingly. That is a rare thing to find, and something that is missed when it is gone,
But some day when I least expect it and need it most I will look back to the back of the room and see him smiling... not broadly, but just enough to say, I know they are shooting at ya kid, and I even know it is not fair, but don't worry I got your back.
Below is what I posted on the Dimenet Memorial with the Subject: My thoughts and Experiences about Roland.
I only met Roland recently, (within the last few years), but I did get a chance to meet him, and talk with him and more importantly to learn from him. The opportunity I got to meet Roland Sykes was one that money could not buy, but I did not only just get a chance to meet him, I got to know him a little bit, and for that I am glad.
Had my life been different, I might have met him at all, or I might have just been one of those people that got to ride in his bus once, and thought that was kind of cool. But I decided that people were important, and that people really did matter, and I decided that I would try and make a difference for people with disabilities in Indiana. I did not know the road I was getting on when I decided to become involved with the Indiana SILC. Had I known I probably would have been too afraid to take the first step, and I would never have got to know Roland in the way that I did.
I got to meet Roland at an Action, but I got to know Roland when he came to my state to support me and many other people in the state of Indiana with disabilities that are trying to get their voice heard. I am not anyone in particular, I am known as the former secretary of the Indiana SILC who got removed from office for attending an ADAPT action, and the person who had her first amendment constitutional rights violated when she tried to read a statement of truth. I am also the founder of www.onecandream.com.
But the point is, when I tried to introduce myself at a SILC meeting a year ago, they tried to have me arrested,. but when I introduced myself to Roland Sykes, he shook my hand and invited me along for a ride. I will always remember that.
I only really got to know Roland as well as I did because I was some kid from Evansville Indiana that got in over my head, and was crazy enough to stay there. But I am glad I got to meet him and learn from him, and that I got to sit at the table with him not once, but more then once. He believed that I mattered, and that what I was doing mattered, and he provided support where he could. Many people here in Indiana appreciate that.
I am not one of those people that knew him for years, but I am one of those people that he supported, and I feel honored. Because he did a lot of great things and helped a lot of people, and what he did mattered. I got to be a small part of that, and he allowed me to learn from him, and for that I am thankful.
Friend of Roland Sykes
Founder of onecandream.com