Education and Access to Justice as a Path to Inclusion
For me, the most important advocacy issue for people with disabilities is INCLUSION. It comes down to this: are we included in the benefits and privileges that society gives to people who are not living with disabilities? Do our children have the same access to everything that our local schools provide? Can people with mobility issues enter all buildings, restaurants, theaters and shopping malls? Is our medical care at the same standard of excellence?
The key is this: Are we INCLUDED when buildings are designed and built? Are we INCLUDED when art exhibits are put up? Are we INCLUDED in focus groups when new products are made? Are the best doctors INCLUDED in our insurance plans? Does the evening news INCLUDE our issues in their reporting?
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
I believe we can achieve full inclusion in our communities through education and increased access to justice. To do this, we can “speak softly and carry a big stick”.
[W]e lay equal emphasis on the fact that it is necessary to speak softly; in other words, that it is necessary to be respectful toward all people and scrupulously to refrain from wronging them, while at the same time keeping ourselves in condition to prevent wrong being done to us. – Theodore Roosevelt, 1914
We speak softly through Education, while being respectful toward people who are excluding us. We can teach others how it feels when we are excluded, and what they can do differently. We must, however, be willing to use the stick. This means working to increase our Access to Justice, so that our claims of discrimination and exclusion can be heard and resolved.
Inclusion, Education and Access
My blog will focus on these three things: INCLUSION, EDUCATION, AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE. Please leave your email on the homepage to receive new blog posts, and learn what you can do to make our world more inclusive.
August 12, 2021