Putting the “Us” in Inclusion

Selfie of Jeffrey VanDykeBy Jeffery Vandyke, Graphic Design Specialist

Having a disability shouldn’t define who a person is, where they can go, or what they can become, but for many of us with a disability that’s exactly how it feels.

We live in a country that’s thankfully progressed significantly in many areas (with much more still to be done) in achieving equality for various groups in recent years, which is fantastic, but with each step forward, its growing increasingly frustrating to see that those with disabilities are still being ignored on a daily basis. Whether it’s in the form of thoughtless design in regards to public spaces or the continued lack of representation of individuals with disabilities within the various entertainment platforms.

I feel as though individuals with a disability aren’t necessarily viewed as people, but more so as an after thought. It happens all too often, a business is listed as having accessible facilities, but once inside you discover that even though the arrangements may accommodate some, it doesn’t necessarily fit all… rendering a business (no matter how great it may be) as a negative establishment in the individuals eyes. Furthermore, reinforcing the negative self talk that many with a disability already battle, which is thinking of themselves as an inconvenience.

All in all, exclusion for members of the disabled community is becoming far too common a problem and needs to be addressed with greater frequency and met with the same urgency that other demographics concerns are met with.

As stated earlier, within this past century, we’ve seen dramatic changes in our society, which has led to some great strides forward, but we still have miles to go before until all persons with a disability have an equal chance to live the lives they choose, free from the barriers they face, both physical and metaphorical. It’s time that we not only become participants in the conversation for change, but we ask that you join us in our fight for inclusion for all.

After all, a better world for the individuals within the disabled community today, means a better world for those who will become disabled in the future, which will undoubtedly affect you or someone you love at one point or another.