Last December, we celebrated the International Day of People with Disability. Early next month, we will be commemorating the World Autism Awareness Day. While I think raising awareness about certain group of people is of critical importance, and I have absolutely no problem with those particular campaigns that aimed to put forward certain matters or conditions, it is only that the term 'awareness,' with its dearth of genuine intention that really dismays many of the disabled community.
For several years I have noticed, and participated in a myriad of 'awareness movements' and campaigns focused on disability, or on specific impairment conditions. With the disability population increasing it is the time to take the high ground and do something different, be more determined. If society is not aware now they should be, it may be proof that things have not been done correctly.
The term 'awareness' is sedative, inactive, and stodgy. If people are made aware, then what happens next? I know it is a good thing for people to be educated about an issue and be aware of its effects, but that is not enough. It is what all of us are going to do with our awareness that truly matters. We need to be more concerned with taking genuine efforts and making forward-looking social transformation. Practical steps with progress signs are aspects awareness movements appear to blunder.
It has been decades since a group of the disabled community working in the public service domain launched the noble idea of disability pride into our world with some bickering. At that time, not everyone believed that taking pride in a disability and turning it into an identity was a fruitful idea. The fundamental emancipating purpose of the social model of disability has been slow to latch on here. The least we can do is to let us discover a number of proactive possibilities.
Until today, the estimated billions people living with disabilities worldwide still encounter many obstacles to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a consequence, a large number of them do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes spheres of education, employment, and public facilities as well as social and political participation.
I believe now is the time to stop whooping about awareness and take some real actions. Pride in disability identity might be a step, or innovatively defending disability rights another. We the disabled community would love to see everyone with the spirit and audacity to accost and confront the weary awareness trope and begin taking substantive steps.