Despite the full coverage by Channel 4 of the Paralympics 2020, held over the last two weeks, very little comment has been seen on social media, and even despite the FaceBook Group of the Games.
Originally started in England by a German doctor, Dr Guzman, and known as the Stoke Mandavil Summer Games; they became what is now known as the Paralympics. They were first held under Paralympics name in Tokyo in 1964.
It is therefore fitting that a new initiative to change the attitude of Governments and of nations towards people with disability and to promote equality and human rights, called '#We The 15' should have been launched at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games.
#WeThe15 plans to initiate change over the next decade by bringing together the biggest coalition ever of international organisations from the world of sport, human rights, policy, communications, business, arts and entertainment.
At a time when diversity and inclusion are hot topics, the 15% who have a disability want effective change to remove the inequality and inactivity. Like race, gender and sexual orientation, we want to have a movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind. A global movement that is publicly campaigning for disability visibility, inclusion and accessibility.
WeThe15 will shine a light on 15% of the world’s population. It will build greater knowledge of the barriers and discrimination persons with disabilities face on a daily basis at all levels of society. By doing so we will break down these barriers so all persons with disabilities can fulfil their potential and be active and visible members of an inclusive society.
With COVID-19 disproportionately impacting persons with disabilities, now is the time to act. As the world aims to build back better post-pandemic, we must align everyone with the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and ensure we do not leave one billion persons with disabilities behind.
The epitome of the human struggle that disabled athletes face in their every day lives, and not just athletes, but all disabled people across the world; was shown throughout the last fortnight in Tokyo.
But so too was the personal struggles and personal victories, as eloquently revealed in probably the best interview with any Paralympian after their events; was that of Ellie Robinson:
courtesy of Channel 4
Such struggles and pain continue throughout the lives of the disabled and is made far worse when their qulityof living is dramatically curtailed by Government social security cuts, as has happened for the last 11 years.
Whilst hers was not the only interview which showed the sheer emotions, courage, and talent of elite sports women and men in the Paralympics; it brought tears to the eyes of the presenters and commentators of the Channel 4 Paralympics programmes covering the event.
The objectives of the #WeThe15 campaign as published on the campaign website, are as follows:
1 Put persons with disabilities at the heart of the diversity and inclusion agenda
2 Implement a range of activities targeting governments, businesses and the public over the next decade to drive social inclusion for persons with disabilities
3 Break down societal and systemic barriers that are preventing persons with disabilities from fulfilling their potential and being active members of society
4 Ensure greater awareness, visibility, and representation of persons with disabilities
5 Provide education on the social model of disability to dispel global societal and cultural misconceptions and explain that disability is created by societal and systemic barriers rather than an individual’s impairment
6 Promote the role of assistive technology as a vehicle to driving social inclusion
The success of the campaign will be the end of discrimination and the transformation of the lives of the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities so they can be visible and active members of an inclusive society.
This website fully endorses and supports this campaign and will promote and report on the work done over the forthcoming years.
Source: Channel 4 / unionsafety