Life, Zimbabwe Disability

Dear Disability Activist.

Dear disability activists I have learnt there is no one size fits all and your approach matters.

Disability activists are some of the most passionate people I know especially the ones that have disabilities themselves. We are passionate about disability rights because we have lived experience. Our experience of ablesim dictates that we are unapologetically passionate about disability rights. This means that every opportunity we get we ought to advocate for our rights after all if not us then who will?

Running this blog has taught me A LOT about disability activism. The top lessons being there is no one size fits all and your approach matters.

No One Size Fits All.

Earlier in my activism I made so many mistakes BUT I am so glad I have since grown and learnt from those mistakes. Back when I started the blog my number one thing though I never blogged about this was advocating for the education of children with disabilities. Education was my top priority. Inclusive education is all I cared about and nothing else. At any given opportunity whenever someone approached me with an idea for disability activism, my first idea would be education. I remember back in 2013, my friend and I decided to give back on some social responsibility tip and we wanted to work with people with disabilities. Of course I advocated for education above everything else. We fought so many times to the point that I left the group because I was that stubborn. I was pushing for education but in hindsight we actually could not afford it at the time. Lesson I learnt there was no one size fits all when it comes to people with disabilities. Yes education is important for children and people with disabilities BUT that is NOT the only thing.

Dear disability activist, please note no one size fits all. Whilst something may be perfect for one person with a disability, it does not mean it will work for everyone else. Treat each case differently and assess the needs on an individual basis.

Your Approach Matters.

The approach you use in your activism matters. Oh boy how I wish I had learnt this from the very start. I used to be an angry activist. My social media posts relating to disability activism were always written from an angry place and of course people could pick up on this. I used to be that person that commented on every ableist post I came across on Facebook and I never received a good response because I always came across as a “know it all.” Biggest mistake I made. Instead of drawing people to my cause, I actually pushed people away which obviously made me frustrated and more angry. This anger is evident in my earlier blog posts. Now it makes sense why people were never drawn to them. Somewhere along the line, the light bulb went off and I realised my approach was not working at all and I needed to make some changes. I realised and accepted that non disabled people were not my enemies but rather they are my allies and I should treat them as such. Instead of always attacking, I should also be gentle in my approach. Simply put I should be approachable to the point that people are free to say whatever they want to say. I no longer get offended at certain posts because I accept that some people do not know any better.

Dear disability activist your approach matters. People can sense the tone in your posts. If you are angry chances are nobody will pay attention. Be gentle in your approach. Be approachable. Educate instead of attacking.

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4 thoughts on “Dear Disability Activist.”

  1. YES! Loved what you have said here. I am deafblind and I am constantly having to educate people about my condition, as well as what deafblindness really entails. But I always try to do so with a gentle and positive attitude. I know some people who get so annoyed and angry at people who don’t understand them and their needs. I’m always so confused by this thought process because they don’t know until we tell them. Until we advocate. Our job is to continue educating people and realize that this job will not be done overnight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading.

      “I know some people who get so annoyed and angry at people who don’t understand them and their needs.”-could it be that the general attitude towards people with disabilities is a negative one hence the frustration? I too sometimes get frustrated especially when people dictate to me what I should do or not do when they have no experience of disability themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, of course! I totally believe that feelings of frustration are valid. I get frustrated for sure, but I do believe that we need to be the “bigger” person and educate others in a positive and bold, yet gentle way…if that makes any sense!

        Liked by 1 person

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