Monday December 3, 2012 was the International Day of Persons With Disabilities. It was a global event sponsored by the United Nations. http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1597
If 15% of the people in the world live with some kind of disability and the disabled population is the largest minority group, why wasn't more done to create awareness about the day?
Sure, there was a program at the United Nations, and a proclamation by President Obama, but wouldn't it have been cool to see how people in the United States and countries around the world observed the day? Wouldn't it have been fun to see it trending on Yahoo or Twitter? I am disabled, and had it not been for a posting on Facebook last Sunday night, I would not have known about the day at all.
The purpose of the day was to raise awareness of the barriers the disabled community around the world still face, to discuss ways the barriers can be removed and to highlight contributions made by disabled people in society We do not yet live in a totally inclusive and accessible world. I'm not sure we ever will. For that to happen, every one's mind set needs to change. People need to see the person, not the disability. And, let's face it, there will always be people in the world who will look at a disabled person and only see their disability. It's sad, but true.
There were celebrations all over the world. Why weren't they live streamed over the Internet or shown on the news? Why did I have to learn about such an important day via a Facebook posting?
My hope is that someday all barriers will be a thing of the past and everyone will be thought of as equals. That disabled people will live a world that is totally accessible and includes them in all aspects of life. That we live in a world that always treats disabled people with respect and dignity. That we live in a world where disabled people always have a voice and don't have to fight to be heard. I hope that a child born today will be accustomed to seeing disabled people in their community,
My dream is that someday there will be no need for an International Day of Persons With Disabilities because all the barriers, that now prevent disabled people from the equality they deserve, have been removed. Eyes have been opened and views have changed. If we all work together maybe, just maybe, my dream will become a reality after all.