Crippen asks how can we engage young disabled people?

The term ‘returning to normal’ is one that frequently arises whenever the possible ending of the current Covid restrictions are discussed.

However, for many disabled people ‘normal’ means a return to the constant and unrelenting battle that we face against an inaccessible society. A society incidentally, that seems to have lost interest in supporting our fight for independence, as well as looking the other way as this increasingly hostile government erodes our rights still further.

So how about we don’t go back to ‘normal’, making it clear that unless this government start to treat us seriously, acknowledging that our demand to be given the same rights as non-disabled people is a valid one, then we’ll … we’ll … Well, what will we do?!

Do we go back to those demonstrations organised by the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) when we challenged the lack of access on public transport, or the negative portrayal of disabled people on Telethon and other charity based events? People like Sue Elsegood, who was arrested during several DAN actions, is still out there keeping the flames of DAN alive with others from the old group, but like me, they’re no longer the young, feisty activists who manned the barricades all those years ago.

The truth is that we’ve all got older. Are we still able to sit out in the cold and wet, being hassled by the police and members of the public who want nothing to do with our demands for full access to an inaccessible society? I know I can’t do it anymore, which is why I spend so much time at my computer creating images and writing blogs and articles like many others, to keep the cause alive.

So, what options do we have? Perhaps there’s a way of stimulating the younger Crips who are just discovering the many barriers that stand in their way? Could we reach out and offer to share our knowledge and experience with them? You may remember a blog I created recently about young disabled people who’d never even heard of the Social Model understanding of disability. Without this basic knowledge they don’t stand a chance of challenging a status quo that is loaded very much against them.

If we can get these younger Crips engaged, with our support they could make a huge dent in the complacency that exists. If we can harness their energy in a similar way that climate change activists have done, we stand a real chance of breaking down many of the barriers that society and this government have erected to exclude us all.

So, any ideas of how we could go about engaging these youngsters?

Please leave your suggestions and ideas in the comments section of this Blog.

Thanks folks.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

The scene is the UK Games Expo exhibition which is identified by a large sign above the heads of a group of young people. One of the youngsters, a white male is using a self-propelled wheelchair and has a small laptop computer balanced upon his legs. A tall Black male and a smaller white female stand either side of him. Approaching them is an older white male using a power chair. He is holding out to them a DVD case with a yellow lightening flash on the cover. Behind him is a poster with the same symbol on it, over-written by the words ‘smash the barriers’. He is saying to the group of young people: “It’s awesome – you use something called the social model to smash through the barriers!” The tall Black youth replies: “Dope!


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