The Agenda | Vol. 43 | Disability Justice

by the Global Impact Relations Network


Showing the world how impactful storytelling drives behavior

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Even if your knowledge of the disability justice movement is limited, you can likely agree society has never been an equitable place for people with disabilities. The pandemic has created even more barriers for people trying to exercise their right to a safe and peaceful existence in a world that seems to want to forget about them. It has also highlighted their vulnerability during natural disasters and emergencies. 

The focus of International Day of Persons With Disabilities this year is “fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” In this edition of The Agenda, we take a look at how communicators are centering the experiences of people with disabilities in their campaigns, raising awareness of ableism, and working toward a world that is truly accessible to everyone. 

SDGs covered in this issue:

Fighting bias to create rich career opportunities for people with disabilities

Person in a wheelchair working in an office

Image: Disability In

It’s been decades since Disability In CEO Jill Houghton first developed an understanding of the barriers faced by people with disabilities while helping them find employment in the 80s, but people with disabilities are still fighting against bias and for representation in media and pop culture. In its work with Fortune 500 companies, Disability In seeks to ensure the disability community is included in the national conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and given access to meaningful work opportunities. Communications and PR have been central to those efforts, including a study conducted with Accenture which showed that companies who hired people with disabilities are more profitable. 

Business Insider: How Jill Houghton Is Urging CEOs to Take Disability Rights Seriously

Why Canadians with disabilities rallied against Bill C-7

Screen grab of people speaking during Disability Filibuster Zoom session

Screen grab: Disability Filibuster 2.0

As Canada debated an update to its medically assisted dying law, MAID, which offered assistance to people whose illnesses weren’t terminal, doctors, social workers and disability justice advocates warned Bill C-7 would effectively promote suicide instead of addressing how the system impoverishes people with disabilities. The bill was ultimately passed, but in an effort to stop it, Canadians with disabilities staged a Disability Filibuster, testifying for hours via Zoom on how the bill threatened their existence. Others have taken to social media and GoFundMe to draw attention to their plights, including Madeline, who is profiled in this Canadaland feature.

CANADALAND: “I die when I run out of money”

Rep. Ayanna Presley and Rebecca Cokley on centering disability justice in DEI

Drawing of Rep Ayanna Pressley and Rebecca Cokley

Image: SSIR

After revealing her alopecia diagnosis and being welcomed by the disability community, Rep. Ayanna Presley teamed up with the Ford Foundation’s Rebecca Cokely to author a feature for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on the intersectionality of disability and racial justice, how poverty and disability are connected, and why segregated systems that require disabled Americans to fit into specific boxes to receive benefits and contribute data need to be dismantled.

SSIR: Center Disability Justice in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

Further Resources

Check out this Twitter thread from Canadian activist and Disability Justice Network of Ontario founder Sarah Jama.

Upcoming events: This coming International Day of People with Disabilities (Fri, Dec 3 at 12:45pm ET / 9:45 am PT), the Rick Hansen Foundation is hosting a live discussion on the power of inclusive language with Equity, Diversity & Inclusion leaders and advocates from across Canada. Visit this link for more information on what promises to be an engaging discussion about fostering improved diversity and inclusion in all areas of your life through the words you choose to use.

Stuff we love 

We usually keep this unrelated to the newsletter topic, but highly recommend you check out Crip Camp, an Obama-produced documentary about a group of teen campers who started a disability rights revolution in America.



Thanks for reading,

— Ashley Letts, Managing Editor


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