On July 23rd, Dublin CIL launches its online
#IndependentVoices campaign where disabled people talk about what Independent Living (IL) means to them, creating awareness so that other disabled people are empowered to access supports needed to live independently.
From July 23rd–30th, one video per day will be released online featuring a disabled activist talking about their experience of independent living and send clear messages to other disabled people who have not yet had the chance to live independently, to policy makers and to members of the general public on what independent living means.
“The philosophy of independent living can be summed up by the phrase ‘Nothing about us without us.’ Disabled people are the experts in their own lives, we have rights and we are equal. We don’t need people to talk on our behalf—but we do need non-disabled people to listen to what we have to say. Sadly, there aren’t many disabled voices being heard in Irish society, so these videos are really important because it is disabled activists talking from their own personal experience,” said Shelly Gaynor, Chair of Dublin CIL.
The eight videos feature disability activists from different backgrounds but all of them speak to numerous audiences. “The messages we have are for everyone. They are for disabled people who have never even considered independent living and if they see this, maybe they will think of what is possible for them. It is for parents to think about how their children could access supports to live independently. It is for non-disabled people who never get to hear disabled people speaking as equals about their lives. It is for policy makers who need to remember that disabled people need to be listened to and that services being resourced should be first and foremost what we need to live independently,” added Ms Gaynor.
The videos also aim to encourage other disabled people to become actively involved in the work of Dublin CIL as a human rights and equality organisation promoting real inclusion of disabled people in Ireland. “Each of these videos has a unique message, but the all share a common theme. It is about being Independent and wanting to be heard. Each activist talks about their involvement but they are calling on other disabled people to be part of the Independent Living Movement to work collectively to have their voices heard,” said Damien Walshe, Dublin CIL CEO. “Social media can play a really useful role in disabled people connecting with each other from across the Island of Ireland to build a grassroots Movement for change and these videos will inspire people to see themselves as agents of change, so that disabled people are empowered to take control of their services, their supports and live their lives the way they want to,” added Mr Walshe.