Inclusion. We can all learn a lesson from Radio.

By Ivy M. Bagley MSN, FNP-C, IBCLC

Today I learned of “Radio’s” passing. Many may remember the movie that came out years ago telling this man’s story. James “Radio” Kennedy has been a long time T.L. Hanna High School legend. Although I love the film, I honestly can say it does not compare to interacting with this community and meeting Radio first hand.

A few years ago, I made the decision to venture to Anderson SC for a Friday night football game. My sister went with me. I’ve had many trips throughout the world, but this Friday night pep rally and game will always stand out as one of the most memorable.

To watch Coach Jones and Radio interact, along with the love shown to Radio by the community, changed my life.

Coach Jones’ example teaches us sometimes friending a person who doesn’t fit into our social scene can change not only their lives, but our own life as well.

Perhaps we can all learn from the community’s embrace of someone a little different. Although it wasn’t instant, slowly Radio was welcomed in the community. As we met Together, attended the pep rally, and watched the game; we witnessed true love among the students, community members, and visitors for a man.

Perhaps Radio can teach us all a few life lessons.

Everyone is valuable. Look at the joy and happiness He brought to the world. How different would life be without his presence?

Everyone deserves inclusion. How can your family include someone who is maybe a little different? How can we include those who are differently-abled?

Everyone deserves respect. I witnessed first hand Radio was respected. Now, I wish to be clear, this wasn’t the case initially. I remember asking Coach Jones was the movie accurate in the abuse. He quietly swallowed, looked at me and replied, “It was much, much worse.”

Everyone needs- and deserves- an advocate. I’m thankful Coach Jones made the choice to take a stand for someone who couldn’t advocate for himself. Is there a person you need to stand up for? Have you been silent while someone is being abused, left out, bullied, or discriminated against?

Rest In Peace Radio. You changed the world for the better. I’m grateful and blessed to have met you.