The email I wrote for international day last year

Dear All,

I’m sending this out on a personal note.

In simple terms this email is a thank you. It is international Day of People with Disability. I refuse to deal with Christmas till after today every year!

Regardless of how stage managed events around it need to become to raise the profile, IDPwD is intensely personal and profound for me.This year it is quite emotional for me. For me it is an opportunity to take a big breathe and acknowledge the journey, the wins, the losses and the inevitable work arounds. This starts with looking at my own life and using that reflection to look outwards. It involves giving thanks to all the powers that might be and to those in my circle who give me strength and courage and other resources to make “it” happen. You are each getting this because you have personally helped me “run that gauntlet”

Interestingly, looking out for a minute I see a big disconnect between parts of the messages that are being sent out this year. Domestically we are being told to celebrate the successes and the achievements and while fighting for the NDIS, keep it light and fluffy and a-political, This is even though there are enough people with disability to fill Victoria and we are under-utilised and more likely to be in all sorts of other not-nice minorities as a result .

On the other hand, the United Nations who proclaimed the annual observance in 1992 still tell us that:

“Persons with disabilities make up an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population. Almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons living with disabilities, or between 110-190 million, encounter significant difficulties. Furthermore, a quarter of the global population is directly affected by disability, as care-givers or family members.
Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society”

I think this is a call to action if ever I heard one!

I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle and that for those of us who are “active participants” have the balancing act ongoing. It is because of people like you that I find the strength “to run the race before me”, even if we never talk about disability! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. . It takes courage to be sit on the margins. The marginalisation may have have changed but it is still present and I still feel it so thanks for the gifts of courage I am given in the big and small ways..

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