iDareU recently hosted a Community Fair. People with disabilities sold things they created alongside small businesses in the community and iDareU selling lots of amazing, pre-loved things.
We made a decision to not use the word 'inclusion' anywhere in the advertising. "WHY?" - I hear you ask. Inclusion needs to STOP being an announcement and needs to become so common and natural that no-one notices.
People who have a disability and their families live in a community of some sort. They are mainly in suburbs or towns or districts and co-habitat with everyone else. So WHY then do we need to make a fuss when people with a disability join with other members of their community to do something as normal as selling their goods (whether they make those goods themselves or source them)?
I loved the story from Dylan Alcott - Australian Open champion and quad wheelchair world No.1.
He tells of a well-meaning woman congratulating him on the way he smoothly transitioned from airplane seat to his chair. He found this a bizarre comment, as this is what he always does - his wheels are his legs. He lightly made the comment that he almost congratulated her on the way she made her way from her seat to a standing position to leave the plane.
People with a disability are not heroes because they do what comes naturally to them, they are just a normal person. A person who mainly lives in a diverse community and tries to make the most of what they have. The time has come for community to not only embrace people who are different but to just accept them and love their differences...whether they be disabled, immigrants, have different sexuality, whatever! A community that embraces diversity is indeed a much richer and more tolerant community then one that repels it!
So lets all make a concerted effort the next time we plan a community event to invite and include all involved in your community to participate, and to not make a huge song and dance about the fact you are being inclusive but be natural. This way we teach others to do the same.
Lets all be a part of making community inclusion the norm!