Keely Grossman knows all about the need to break down barriers for equality.
Grossman, a third-year Child and Youth Studies student, came to Brock University with the same excitement and enthusiasm shared by most first-year students.
Grossman is a friendly, energetic, outgoing student who also happens to be visually impaired. She doesn’t view being ‘blind’ as a barrier and doesn’t understand why it makes some people uncomfortable.
“I’ve had to deal with so many people who think they have to ‘take care of me.’ I’m a pretty independent person, but most of the time, assumptions are made without ever asking me what I need or what I am capable of,” she says.
It is situations like this that motivated Grossman to create the newly ratified student group Awareness Breaks Limits for Equality (ABLE).
“I want everyone to realize that each of us can accomplish our goals regardless of ability, because there is no Dis in Ability,” says Grossman.
Through this week’s activities, we are hoping to raise awareness and decrease discriminatory behaviour and stigmas surrounding disabilities.
The group is comprised of able-bodied students, as well as those with dis/abilities.
“Our goal is to provide awareness and education about dis/ability issues to create greater equality and inclusion at Brock University,” says Grossman.
To celebrate the formation of ABLE, the group launched DIS/ABILITY Awareness Week at Brock starting March 1.
“Through this week’s activities, we are hoping to raise awareness and decrease discriminatory behaviour and stigmas surrounding disabilities,” says Grossman.
Disability, accessibility and inclusion are human rights issues, says Christopher Lytle, Brock University’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Coordinator.
“This is a fairly new precedent which has been set by disabled peoples organizations motivated to see perceptions and ideologies change. With the launch of ABLE, I am glad to see that young people with disabilities are equally motivated towards the promotion of disability, accessibility and inclusion at Brock.”
The awareness week begins with a social media and on-campus campaign challenging students to pledge to help raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word.
Tuesday, March 1 is Service Dog Awareness Day. From 3-5 p.m. in Kenmore Centre, students can learn more about the work of service dogs by hearing from individuals who train them as puppies.
On Thursday, March 3 ABLE will be hosting an Accessibility Forum about campus accessibility and how it can be improved. Child and Youth Studies Professor John McNamara will help set the tone by presenting on physical and invisible dis/abilities. It is from 1-2 p.m. in WH207.
For more information or to RSVP to these events please contact ABLE via facebook at A B L E Awareness Breaks Limits For Equality.
Twitter: @ABLE4Equality ?#?ABLEBrockU #?NoDISinABILITY