International Day of People with Disabilities 2022

Disability Pride is still so new to me.

For most of my life, I never even knew we had an International Day of People with Disabilities.

It’s only been in the last five or so years that I’ve actively participated in events and felt a sense of community with other disabled people.

Even still the ‘Pride’ aspect of Disability is not necessarily a common theme that we all experience.

The first time the idea of Disability Pride was ever introduced to me was when I discovered the Disability Pride wall in Footscray – near my hometown.

But looking back, I was still so new to everything, and I feel now my ideas have evolved and strengthened.

3rd December 2022

Last week was International Day of People with Disabilities, and for the first time, I got to experience it as an ABC employee.

I knew I always loved ABC as a regular consumer before now, but as an employee, witnessing their dedication to promoting Australia’s diversity both internally and externally has been a true privilege.

For the ABC it’s more like International Month of People with Disabilities, for all the content that’s distributed across our public platforms and all the events that take place within the organisation itself.

I was lucky enough to take part in one of those events last week, as a panellist for our ABC IDPwD Showcase.

The United Nations theme for IDPwD 2022 is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.

Hence our discussion topic for the panel was ‘Innovation at the ABC’.

I had so much fun getting to talk about the thing I am most passionate about; my work, as well as sharing my (albeit very limited) experience.

More importantly, It felt so good to be in a space where my experience was listened to by people who understood very well where I was coming from, and I too got to hear from other people whose experiences are different yet just as validating.

That to me is a community, and that community gave me a lot of pride.

ABC Inclusive

The events for IDPwD and a load of content about, for and by people with disabilities would not have been made possible were it not for our dedicated employee network, ABC Inclusive.

ABC has a team of people who volunteer their time to organise events, content, and advocacy on behalf of ABC employees and our consumers.

The volunteers are all people with lived experience of disability, their carers and their allies who share a vested interest in promoting the shared experience of the more than 4.4 million Australians with disabilities.

Our wonderful Chair of ABC Inclusive; Megan Spindler-Smith was recently nominated for a 2022 Disability Leadership Award and our Deputy Chair; Bec Hogan won!

Which just goes to show what fine leadership we are under here at ABC Inclusive.

Working alongside my heroes

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, it is a true privilege to work at ABC (and they don’t pay me to say that).

What’s more exciting is getting to work alongside people I’ve previously idolised from afar, especially the wonderful disabled reporters we have scattered across the country.

Like the amazing Elizabeth Wright; ABC’s National Disability Affairs reporter who has taken over from Nas Campanella.

She wrote a great article that I want to share with you all, about Disability Pride.

In it, she talks about her journey to understanding and embodying Disability Pride through learning about the movements in the UK and US.

She advocates for Australia’s need for a Disability Pride movement and mentions the pioneering work of the late great Stella Young.

She even had a quote from US disability activist Laura Hershey tattooed on her arm: “you get proud by practicing”.
And like Stella, I have had to practise extremely hard to get proud.

"Inspiration Porn - In Erinnerung an Stella Young"

Supplied, Stella Young

We share different experiences with disability, but I can relate so much to Wright’s experiences of the world as a disabled person and journalist.

I’m so grateful for people like her sharing their stories and doing the good work of sharing the many stories of other disabled Australians.

I’m grateful that have had and will continue to have so many opportunities to do the same at ABC.

I’m grateful to be a part of a community that doesn’t just advocate for acceptance, but advocates for pride… and takes up active space in this world.

Claudia Forsberg is a Melbourne based writer and journalist. She is currently working as a Regional Trainee with ABC Ballarat.


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