Council challenging ableism this International Day of People with Disability

Greater Shepparton City Council is once again acknowledging International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) in 2020, but will take its celebrations online due to COVID-19.

IDPwD is a United Nations observed day celebrated internationally on 3 December each year. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Council would usually take the opportunity to hold events to promote the day and raise awareness, however with COVID-19 restrictions currently in place this will have to be done online in 2020.

This year, Council will join IDPwD in promoting and acknowledging the achievements and contributions of people with disability through a digital online campaign.

Council is taking the chance to raise awareness of and put the spotlight on a specific word that those living with a disability deal with every day – Ableism. Through this, Council is hoping to challenge the way we view ableism in the community.

“Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities, or those who are perceived to have disabilities,” Council Access and Inclusion Officer Mark Tomkins said.

“All of us would’ve seen or heard the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or another – that is ableism. Ableism is intertwined in our culture, and Council is challenging that.”

“As small children, many non-disabled people are taught to be ‘extra’ nice to people with disabilities: open the door for them, run to press the elevator button for them, or ask if they need any help as they are crossing the street.

“Of course there is good intention behind this, but by explicitly being ‘nice’ to those living with a disability, what we’re really doing is pitying them based on the belief that they couldn’t do any of these things on their own. That is why Council is taking the chance to educate our community on what helps, and what doesn’t.”

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