Note: The I in this article refers to Nicole T. Cunha, Social Media Coordinator for Considering Disability
Prior to getting involved in the disability community, I had never heard of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, known more commonly as IDPD. For those of you who are also new to the disability community, or need a refresher, here are some fast facts on what you need to know.
What is the Day?
Since 1992, IDPD has been celebrated to promote disability conscious building worldwide. The day is meant to encourage support regarding inclusion of the disability community in society, and that they have a voice in society’s development.1 We – as citizens of the world- want to make sure the disability community is involved in everyday life.
How does the world approach such a celebration? There are so many issues!
Yes, there are a lot of issues we still need to discuss, and dismantle. That’s certainly true. The United Nations (UN) hosts events at their headquarters (find more information here), but also showcase what organizations around the world are doing too. Many, if not all of the events, have something to do with the themes chosen for that year.
Wait, the Day has themes?
Yes! At least back to 1998. From 1983-1992, however, the UN marked the Decade of Disabled Persons.2
What’s this year’s theme, and why is it important?
This year’s themes are:
- Making cities inclusive and accessible
- Remember this: we are all temporarily able-bodied (TABs). Even if we don’t see the use for something now, we may need it later.
- Housing is another big issue, with more people moving to cities. The UN is already working to emphasize accessibility through urbanization.3
- Improving disability data and statistics
- Part of the problem with implementing change for the disability community is the fact that there’s little data to go off of.
- Current initiatives propose an internationally accepted data collection scheme to make them more applicable toward development goals.
- Including persons with invisible disabilities
- Invisible disabilities supported include mental health conditions, psychosocial disabilities, and hearing loss.
- Calling back to the need for inclusion and accessibility, we need to make sure that people with invisible disabilities can take part in everyday life, and are seen as valuable members of society.
How can I participate in IDPD?
Get involved! Draw people’s attention to issues discussed in this year’s themes. Engage in conversation as you figure out how to build up/ implement ways on educating yourself and others on the importance of seeing the disability community as a group of people marginalized by society. Everyone has a value, but some people have to see it for themselves. If the disability community does not raise question of societal structures and laws themselves, serve as an ally.
Also follow #IDPD15 on Twitter and Facebook to see how people are celebrating worldwide!