1. For some time now a number of disabled led organisations have felt the need to have a specific time in the year when the history of our struggle for equality and human rights can be focussed on. In 2009 DCSF commissioned the QCA to carry out research on the possibility of a disability history week in schools. This research showed that schools would be in favour of such a week.
2. It is proposed that we hold an annual month focus period. This would put disability in line with Black History Month (October), Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual &Transgendered History Month (February),Gypsy and Traveller Month(June). March is often used as a focus for celebrating Women’s struggles for equality with International Women’s Day falling on 8th March. September has World Peace Day and International literacy Day and January Holocaust Day. A month allows for exhibitions, work in the curriculum and community giving parity with other equality issue ‘months.
3. It is proposed that this will run from 22nd November to 22nd December 2010. This covers HIV/AIDS Day (1st December), International Day of People with Disabilities (3rd Dec.) and International Human Rights Day (8th December). It also follows on directly from Anti-Bullying Week(15th to 19th November) which is important as 2.5 times as much bullying is recorded towards disabled as compared to non-disabled young people( 70-80% of young disabled people claim to have been bullied in school and college). We split across the two months to allow for the Christmas shut down and to allow for four weeks in school term time.
4. It is envisaged that we involve disabled people and their organisations, educational establishments, community and voluntary organisations, local authorities, trade unions,supportive individuals, employers, parliament, government ministries/agencies, the public and the media in organising events, exhibitions, study focus and publicity.
5. The idea of the Disability History Month is that supporting organisations would collaborate to facilitate and provide events, publicity, materials and speakers around themes which are compatible with key foci of Disability History Month. It can be supported as much or as little as can be managed- at the very least mobilising your members/people to take part in school, community, local or regional events.
6. The key purpose of the month will be to raise awareness of the unequal position of disabled people in society and to advocate disability equality; to develop an understanding of the historical roots of this inequality; to highlight the significance of disabled people’s struggles for equality and inclusion and the ‘social model’ of disability;to publicise and argue for the implementation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Equalities Act (2010) .
7. Disabled people don’t just identify as disabled, but also as women or men, girls or boys, straight and gay,lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, black or ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers or religious minorities. Throughout the Disability History Month it will be important to recognise that disabled people have multiple identities being members of other groups subjected to discriminatory practice and to ensure that the diverse nature of disabled people is recognised in terms of the range and type of impairment that are included e.g. mental, neurodiverse, learning difficulty, physical, invisible and sensory impairments. UKDHM will endevour to make both materials and events accessible.
8. Key foci of the month will be: Advocating equality for disabled people. Promoting disability equality and inclusion-‘Nothingh About Us ,Without Us’. Examining the roots of ‘Disabilism’- negative attitudes, harassment and hate crime. Celebrating disabled people’s history- struggles for rights, equality and inclusion. Challenging and exposing the unequal position of disabled people in our society.The Cultural and Artistic portrayal of disabled people. Highlighting examples of good disability equality.
9. In line with the ‘social model of disability the involvement of disabled people, their organisations and leadership is critical in the development of events and resources and focus of Disability History Month. The participation of non-disabled allies in our struggle for liberation is welcome.
10. We will set up a website www.UKDISABILITYHISTORYMONTH.COM This will contain a statement of aims and objectives arising from this founding document, the names of supporting organisations and contact names and details, events happening during the month (national, regional and local), resources that can be used, links to other materials, ideas and examples of what can be done and media coverage.
11. Initially Richard Rieser of World of Inclusion will act as coordinator and his office will support him in this role. Supporting organisations will utilise their own resources to support the Disability History Month, meetings and events. Donations will be accounted for in a separate account, ‘WOI Disability History Month’ to cover expenses, develop and support the website, publicity material and employ a part-time temporary worker. A leaflet with a sliding scale of affiliations will be produced and circulated.
12. A The Steering Committee should appoint UK Disability History Month coordinator and oversea office and funding and wider range of supporting organisations.
13. Founding Supporting Organisations as of 25.11.2011
- Action and Rights of Disabled People in Newham
- Adult Dyslexia Organisation
- Alliance for Inclusive Education,
- Birmingham Disability Resource Centre,
- Cambridge Council
- Centre for Disability Studies- University of Leeds,
- Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education,
- Choice Support
- Cool Tan Arts
- Council for Disabled Children
- Disability Awareness in Action,
- Disability Action in Islington
m. Disability Action Northern Ireland,
- Disability Action Wyre Forest
- Disability Lib,
- Disability Now,
- Disabled People against the Cuts
- Disability Wales,
- Evelyn Oldfield Unit,
- Feed the Minds
- Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People,
- Heading for Inclusion,
w. Heritage Lottery Fund,
- Ideal for All, Sandwell
- Inclusion London,
- Inclusion North
aa. Inclusion Scotland,
- Institute of Education, London,
- LGBT History Month
ee. Luton NUT
- National Association of School Masters Union of Women Teachers
- National Centre for Independent Living ,
hh. National Union of Teachers,
- Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People,
- Office of Disability Issues (provisional)
kk. Oor Mad History, Edinburgh
- Paisley Disability Resource Centre
- Parents for Inclusion,
- Psychologists for Inclusion,
- Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
- Reading Access Forum
- Roaring Girl Productions
- Schools Out,
vv. Sheffield University –Disability Studies Department,
- Southampton Centre for Independent Living,
- Spinal Injuries Association
- The Camden Society
zz. Trade Union Congress,
- The Camden Society
- Union of Communication Workers
- Unite –Dartford
- Unite Merseyside and Cheshire Health Branch
fff. United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council,
- University and College Union
- Vassell Centre Trust
- West of England Centre for Independent Living
jjj. Work it Out Diversity Training Centre
*Disabilism “discriminatory, oppressive or abusive behaviour arising from the belief that disabled people are inferior to others” Scope 2005