There’s a long list of good disability advocates out there.
Only a few are great.
I am by no means claiming to be the best disability advocate in the history; however, I strive to keep a pulse on what my friends with disabilities want, need and dream for.
I will say the great disability advocates play a crucial role in raising awareness, advocating for policy reforms, and fostering inclusive environments.
This article will help you to become a great disability advocate who will leave a lasting impression on persons with disabilities.
If you want to be a real ally, you need to to educate yourself about various disabilities, their challenges, and the lived experiences of individuals with disabilities. Our disability marketing guide by be a good start.
When you learn about different disabilities, you can cultivate empathy, dispel stereotypes and better understand the unique needs and rights of individuals with disabilities.
I always appreciate people who go above and beyond to learn more about my disability. It shows, I believe, that they care, and I imagine you would appreciate a person who spent a little extra time to learn about — and understand — you.
Advocating for the disability community is an evolving and ongoing endeavor.
I’m learning — and making mistakes — everyday. Trust me.
So, as you’re learning be open to feedback on your perspectives and perceptions. By continuously striving to better understand your own privileges and biases, you can become a more empathetic and effective advocate.
If you’re pushing an ineffective agenda, don’t worry. Learn and adjust.
The Stats Don’t Lie
Neilsen, which tracks and measures the future of media, found that 97 percent of all ads don’t include persons with disabilities.
That is problematic, and unquestionably a society’s perception on the disabilities.
If brands did actually care about and want to help disabled people, my friends with disabilities would be in way more shows, movies, commercials.
People, especially millennials, are more trusting of brands with diversity in their ads, and they are more likely to buy from such brands.
Plus, when you include disabled people in any communication, your introducing your audience to perspectives unlike your own.
That, if I may, is important, because we could all acquire a disability one day.
Collaboration Is The IDEAL Currency
Collaboration is a win-win-win.
Legend Judith “Judy” Heumann emphasized the importance of building alliances with other advocates and organizations. That means linking up with disability focused organizations, and establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
They could offer direction and guidance on how to make your facilities and communications more inclusive, and they can introduce some new business strategies.
Generally speaking, I don’t think people have anything against persons with disabilities, and I believe most people want to help my friends and me.
At the same time, there are plenty of accessibility bloopers in this world.
For example, some of the buildings at my college were not completely conducive to wheelchairs users like me. I could not access every floor of the math building, and I had to go by the dumpster to enter the journalism buildings.
Both are, indeed, problematic.
Accessibility goes beyond the physical environment. It also includes technology, education and employment.
Don’t be afraid to adopt policies that stymie discrimination in the workforce; integrate universal design principles; and make reasonable accommodations.
Inclusivity benefits everyone.
Challenge Stereotypes and Stigma
Persons with disabilities are really persons who have disabilities.
Sure, they might use a wheelchair, have a prosthetic limb, or have limited vision, but they have hearts, too.
Just like you.
The many stereotypes around the disability community can hinder progress and perpetuate discrimination.
I would encourage you to challenge these misconceptions by promoting accurate information, engaging in public discourse, and fostering conversations about disability rights.
Empower individuals with disabilities to share their achievements, talents, and contributions. This will help to dispel stereotypes and foster a more inclusive and accepting society.
I genuinely believe you have within you the power to be a legendary advocate like Judy. It may not be easy or simple, though your efforts are appreciated.
Let’s do this!
You are more than welcome to drop me a line to discuss how your organization can highlight disability voices, you are welcome to drop me a line.