Crippen tries to discover if disabled people are involved in the ‘We the 15’ campaign

It’s funny what pops into your inbox these days. This blog in particular relates to one such email I received regarding a new human rights movement. And not only that … it’s a human rights movement to end discrimination against disabled people!

The press release I received the other day is from a group calling itself We the 15. The 15 apparently relates to the percentage of disabled people there are in the world, although where this figure comes from is not clear. And apart from reference to using the colour purple and stating their aims as being “the biggest ever human rights movement to end discrimination against persons with disabilities and transform the lives of the 1.2 billion people in the world with a disability” (gasps for breath!), there is very little information about who they actually are.

I’m writing this a few days before the launch of their campaign on 19th August 2021, so hopefully there’ll be a bit more information about who the organisers are after this date. There are some clues. The language they are using for example doesn’t originate from the disabled people’s movement in the UK. It tends to be the language of the status quo, those organisations who claim to represent us but have no disabled people involved in their management structure. It’s also the language of those disabled people who aren’t familiar with the Social Model understanding of disability; terms like “persons with disabilities” being more indicative of our European or American brethren.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking them. Any move to address the oppression of disabled people throughout the world can only be a good thing, especially if disabled people are involved. But why the secrecy? I’ll be interested to see who reveals themselves on the 19th. Hopefully it will be a group managed and controlled by disabled people and not another charity based initiative which undermines our continued fight for full civil rights.

Watch this space folks …

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

A large crowd of disabled people are standing in front of a large purple screen upon which is written ‘#wethe15’ and ‘19th August launch’. Behind the screen can be seen large banners being waved around. One reads ‘we represent persons with disabilities’ and ‘are you one of the 15%?’. Yellow hazard tape and bollards are keeping people away from the screened off area. An Asian disabled woman is saying: “So why is there no mention of groups and organisations of disabled people being involved?!”

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 15/08/2021 at 14:32

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .


  2. I received this response through my DAO Blog (you’ll note that it’s a generic response with dear blank!)

    We’re writing to you to join us in supporting the start of a global movement to transform the lives of the 1.2 billion people globally who have a disability – that’s 15% of the population.
    #WeThe15 has the support of 20 leading global organisations such as the International Paralympic Committee, World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, Invictus Games and Special Olympics. They have joined forces for the first time ever to call for change. Launching at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (in August this year), WeThe15 is a campaign focussed on empowering and advancing the lives of people with disabilities.
    You can find out more about the campaign in this promotional video Introduction to WeThe15 – Embargoed until 19 August 2021 (Closed Captions available) – YouTube (Please do not post this video, it is embargoed until 19 August)

    We’d love your support on the 19 August with what’s possible for you from the below;
    · Follow WeThe15 on Instagram & Twitter
    · Share the campaign film (launching on 19th Aug on our channels) on your social channels, linking to our channels. This is different to the video above.
    · Share facts and stats from our channels that you find interesting
    · Include the purple heart in your profile name
    · Use the frame on your profile picture which we will provide closer to the 19 August
    · Create content on your social channels
    · Raise awareness using the in-channel WeThe15 symbol, GIFs, stickers, filters etc.
    Every single person on this planet can make a difference by considering how their actions impact persons with disabilities. Change can start in every community. Change can start with you.

    Join us in sharing #WeThe15.
    Please kindly respond to this email if you want to champion the WeThe15 campaign.

    All communication about WeThe15 is embargoed until 19 August 2021
    Kind regards
    George Doman
    Brand Campaign Assistant
    International Paralympic Committee


  3. My question is still, where are the organisations run and controlled by disabled people (DPOs)? Are they involved? The names of the organisations revealed so far, whilst some do have a few disabled people involved, are as far removed from being DPOs as are the large charities who claim to represent us in the UK. We don’t need another initiative by organisations led by non-disabled people. This only leads to these so called disability organisations maintaining the status quo and trampling over our fight for equality.


  4. It is pearheaded by the International Paralympic Committee and International Disability Alliance. In addition, it is supported by Special Olympics, Invictus Games Foundation, The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, IDA, UN Human Rights, UNESCO, the UN SDG Action Campaign, the European Commission, The Valuable 500, Global Citizen, Global Disability Innovation Hub, UN Alliance of Civilisations, International Disability and Development Consortium, C-Talent, ATscale – the Global Partnership for Assistive Technology, Zero Project, and the Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organisations.


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