Monday: the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. It came rolling out of the United Nations in 1992 — a quarter century by math — as a day to set aside to raise awareness and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of people with disabilities.
An extreme pessimist could argue, with a certain degree of merit, the other 364 days on the calendar do not require people with disabilities to be treated equally, fairly and respectfully.
Certainly, that isn’t the case.
But IPDP — sounds like a milky acronym for a dairy, don’t you think? — It gives the impression that only 24 hours are needed to review and discuss issues pertaining to people with disabilities. I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking.
My submission is personal. I live with cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair, which has something to do with my ineptness to twirl cartwheels.
Forgive me, again, for such levity.
But I think it’s time to move on.
Over the decades people with disabilities have made tremendous strides. Ask any organization or agency who works with — not for — people with disabilities for a common theme.
Near the top, if not the biggest issue, is inclusion.
That people with disabilities have the fundamental right to be included in every facet of the community.
Included in income support, housing, healthcare, transportation, education, employment and recreation.
Included in family gatherings, religious celebrations and casual conversations with friends.
Included, for those who are able, in making well-informed consumer decisions about personal care, mobility equipment and accommodations.
Included in every day of our lives.
IDPD is a day when awards — noble and important awards — are handed out. But rather than celebrating these honours on a specific day, what if such awards were included in an established awards program?
That would, I think, be ringing endorsement of inclusion — there’s that unified word again — and an example of bringing folks together.
If IDPD continues, it needs a major overhaul. It needs a well-thought out mechanism to set civic, provincial and national goals to promote inclusion of people with disabilities.
It needs a report card to be filled out honestly every year.
If IDPD isn’t taken given teeth to nibble on issues of the day, the hypocrisy with the disabled community will only compound. Moreover, the entire community runs the risk of not being taken seriously.
Looking at my calendar Monday, I’m going to work and then have lunch with friends. Then, I ’m taking my grandson to a skating party where I will be sitting behind the player’s bench and, even though I can’t skate, I’ll be included in the event. No cartwheels required.
I might be asked about disability. And. I might not.
I’ll be in my community, with my family and friends. Just like every day.
So, please tell me why we still need an International Day of Persons with Disabilities?
WE WANT TO HEAR AND SHARE YOUR STORIES ABOUT DISABILITY!
Write your story in Word Document. 500 word limit
Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cam will make suggested edits and email you back
Once we agree on the final draft, it will be POSTED
We sit back and see what happens
(TAIT ON EIGHT … EDMONTON SUN … JULY 5, 2018)
One of my newspaper editors who I have tremendous respect for made an off-the-cuff comment during a conversation about all kinds of different things.
“The key for a columnist— or, for that matter, anybody — is to re-invent themselves every now and then,” he said. “It keeps one fresh.”
So, I’ve dug into the old tool drawer, found a wrench, a couple of screwdrivers, a measuring tape and of course a hammer to make a few alterations to what I’ll be writing in the near future.
I have a concern about one issue that is very close to me: living with a disability. I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair.
For too many years, I think, there has been a mysterious silence from people with disabilities on issues, programs and services available.
Oh, sure: a news story surfaces everyone once in a while about someone being denied a service of program.
But, dare I be so bold to suggest, there needs to be more. Because my sense is there are stories out there which need to be told.
We’re just not hearing them.
As the world grows every minute, so does the prevelance of disability.
That’s not having a negative lens on the situation. I think that’s reality.
Because there’s going to be a baby born today, somewhere in Alberta, with a disability. And, there’s going to be someone, too, who will have an accident and their lives will never be the same.
I wish — really wish — I didn’t have to write that. But that might be turning away from the truth.
More significantly, though, that newborn and the adult who sustains a life-changing injury, fundamentally deserve opportunities so they can reach their full potential as Albertans.
They need to know programs and services are out there to assist them. They also need to know they have a voice, as a consumer, and can raise questions and concerns when a service isn’t meeting their expectations.
Those concerns need to be heard and read.
So … I invite you to share your concerns and experiences. Email is the best way to communicate with me and my email is email@example.com.
We’ll share as many stories as we can on people with disabilities, who, I think aren’t being heard.
But that’s not all you’re going to read here. Nic Good is busy lining up things for the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction which is running again this fall to raise money for the Christmas Bureau, Adopt-A-Teen and Catholic Social Services.
If you’d like to help we’d love to hear from you: if you have something you could share as an auction package, or giving us a suggestion for a package you think we should put together please let us know.
It’s been five years since we began Tait on 8, with the intention of telling stories about people doing extraordinary things.
Please help us do that.
Who knows? Maybe we can re-invent a few things so everyone can the same thing: a fighting chance
If you would like to share your story with us, here’s how it works:
CAM THE COMIC
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Here are a few samples.
My contact information is at the bottom.
CAM: WE’VE HEARD THAT YOU COULDN’T BREATH FOR 45 MINUTES AT BIRTH. WHAT HAPPENED?
CAM: WE KNOW YOU LIVE IN EDMONTON. WHY DO YOU TALK A LITTLE FUNNY?
CAM: WE HEARD YOU DRINK BEER WITH A STRAW. WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE ONE TOO MANY?
CAM: WE ALSO HEARD YOU HAVE A FUNNY STORY ABOUT YOUR WEDDING NIGHT?
CONTACT CAM TO BOOK YOUR EIGHT UNFORGETTABLE FUNNY MINUTES HERE…
CLICK BELOW TO MAKE YOUR BOOKING TODAY!
HOW OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CAME TOGETHER TO HELP ME WHEN I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD
(CBC TELEVISION. 1966)