The Making Advocacy Accessible webinar was held on Thursday 1st Jun 2023, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm AEST.
The participation of people with disability makes groups, campaigns and movements stronger!
Prioritising accessibility is about recognising the fundamental human rights of people with disability and putting your social justice values into practice.
Learn how to shift your organisation to an accessibility mindset and practice.
- Elly Desmarchelier will share tips from the campaign trail
- Janel Manns from PWDA will share practical guidance on accessibility
- Find out how you can use guides on the Commons Library to improve accessibility
Thanks to State Trustees Victoria for funding the MAA project.
I really believe that campaigning should be a place for everyone and people with disability have so much to say. We are just as ambitious in our campaigning as able-bodied people, if not more, trust me, don’t get in between a Disability Rights Campaign and the end goal because we are determined and feisty and ready to win! But we know that we can only do that if we make the campaigning accessible to as many of us as possible, there’s no leaving anyone behind. – Elly Desmarchelier
Elly Desmarchelier shares her insights about accessible campaigning in an interview with Commons Library Directory Holly Hammond.
I just want to say how easy it is to include people with disabilities, this is such a simple thing to do. It is about planning. It is about asking and it is about listening. Plan for people with disability to be there, ask questions. It’s okay to ask questions, if someone is disabled they’ve been asked way more intrusive questions than how can I help? And then when you ask listen to the response. It might make you uncomfortable. You might instantly think we can’t do that but actually swallow it and think about it ruminate on it, try and think of a way you can accommodate it. That’s as simple as it is: Plan, Ask, Listen. Then you will have an inclusive campaign and you’ll be lucky to have some really talented persuasive people on your side. – Elly Desmarchelier
Janel Manns from People with Disability Australia shares tips for inclusive advocacy campaigns.
Nothing About Us Without Us! We must be included in all facets of your activity in regard to creating inclusivity because it’s about us and we know what suits us best. If you are not including people with disability in creating Disability Inclusion Action Plans, in discussing how to better be inclusive in environments or in organisations, then what you’re doing is tokenistic. Without including us, you are not going to be fully informed in regard to our needs. You are only going to be guessing from your lens, from your perspective. Sometimes you might feel that you want to advocate on behalf of people with disability but just stop and check in with people with disability if that’s actually a good choice or would they prefer to be at the front end and for you to walk beside them and assist them along the way. Sometimes the better approach is to amplify the voices of people with disability, by lowering your own voice. – Janel Manns
Q & A
Here are two questions asked during the webinar with answers provided by Janel Manns from PWDA.
What might it look like to create an allyship between an NGO and its local groups to meet each others needs and so as not to further burden those living with a disability?
Start working to include People with Disability (PwD) in the day-to-day mainstream events and activities that you are involved with. Make a conscious decision to include PwD by linking with relevant local Disability Services to advertise all your activities, with invitation for PwD to join. If you create an inclusive environment you will find word will spread through the Disability Community – we tend to congregate where we are made welcome, opposed to just being tolerated. You need not do anything ‘special’ when PwD become involved. Treating people as ‘special’ or making a big deal about PwD being involved defeats the purpose of genuine inclusion. To be genuinely included means that barriers are identified and circumvented where able but not in a manner that finds inclusion of PwD overt. Include PwD with the same mindset as you would when including anyone – remember, Disability is just another human variant.
Keep learning how to be an effective ally:
- You are not a good disability ally if you’re ableist – Carly Findlay
- Inconsistent allies – why disabled people prefer action to words – The Learning and Teaching blog for ANU
- Learn from Stella Young (deceased): ABC Search
Other steps you can take:
- Join Disability groups in the local community and participate in local groups/committees/communities of practice.
- Participate in local events across a month of celebrations culminating on December 3, International Day of PwD: International Day of People with Disability (idpwd.com.au)
- Stay up to date by signing up for newsletters:
What is psycho-social disability?
Psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that arises from a mental health condition.
Psychosocial disability is not about a diagnosis, it can arise when someone with a mental health condition, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, interacts with a social environment that presents barriers to them that others do not experience.
Not everyone who has a mental health illness will have a psychosocial disability, there are many people living with mental illness who are in recovery (NSW Health – What is recovery?) and able to function well in social environments. For people who do have a psychosocial disability, it can be severe, longstanding and impact on their recovery.
Watch the Mental Health Coordinating Council video What does psychosocial disability mean to you? (2 min, 28 sec)
A lot of people with [psychosocial] lived experience object to the use of the term ‘disability’ to describe their experience. The word disability is used to describe life barriers rather than the person.
For more see:
- NSW Health – What is Psychosocial Disability?
- Disability Support Guide: Psychosocial Disabilities
- NSW Health – What is Psychosocial Disability?
Other resources from the webinar
- Language Guide – PWDA
- 30 Ways to Make Your Service More Accessible – PWDA
- Creating an Inclusion Plan – PWDA
- Social Model of Disability – PWDA
- Communication Deep Dive – PWDA
- Disability Adjustments – Job Access
- Disability Types – ADCET
- The Making Advocacy Accessible collection on the Commons Library