International Day of Persons with Disabilities – December 3rd

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the theme for 2021 is:

“Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”.

The global crisis of COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative. People with disabilities—one billion people— are one of the most excluded groups in our society and are among the hardest hit in this crisis in terms of fatalities.
Disability inclusion will result in a COVID-19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest behind first.

In Ireland, International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD) is celebrated with #PurpleLights21


Purple Lights founder and disability activists Gary Kearney personifies this year’s UN theme.

Four years ago, Gary noted there wasn’t much celebrating of IDPWD. Having survived a vicious attack that left him with an acquired brain injury in 2009, Gary felt there was much to celebrate about surviving, adapting, and living with a disability.

“I saw all these places lit up for St. Patrick’s Day cause we love our country and then lit up for Gay Pride cause we support gay people so I wondered why there was no acknowledgment of people with disabilities on our special day.”

He literally began knocking on doors. He invited himself into the public lobbies of major buildings and asking they “show some love and support” by turning purple on December 3rd. The Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI, were delighted to follow up on his efforts and support him.

Now the day is celebrated in Ireland with purple lights illuminating major landmarks and buildings throughout the country.

Visit the Disability Federation of Ireland website here to find out more and get your #PurpleLights21 social media frame.

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