I think everyone can agree that it’s time for revolution, an uprising for those with disabilities. A show of support and force, an act to get recognition and acknowledgement, a demonstration for change.
These are just my initial thoughts, the beginnings of a plan. I don’t want one protest and I don’t want one day. This is a week long, social media takeover, culminating in protests at MPP offices throughout Ontario (or MP offices throughout Canada, if possible.) I should point out my idea of week long is a Monday-Friday thing, better for the news cycle.
With the Federal government progued until September 23, I think our deadline has to be before that by a lot if we’re aiming for federal strategy. If the goal is provincial and ODSP, then it’s a bit looser. That government returns in early September, but all the business with schools will be a media distraction from anything we do. A better strategy for that might be mid-September.
A harsh reality is that people with disabilities don’t have a lot of money and certainly can’t be expected to travel en masse to Queen’s Park or the Canadian Parliament for a massive protest. This protest has to be low cost, which is fine because it will further illustrate the point: pwd need better care, accessibility and funds. Low cost doesn’t mean ineffective or small.
So the physical protests will be held in each city, at each constituency office. The politicians are the ones that need to change things, not ODSP or government public servants. Our message must go to them directly. Imagine an united front across a province, each group protesting the same thing, showing supporters and pwd are in every city. With homemade signs and the same message.
Not every pwd can just show up for a protest so that’s where the social media aspect comes in. We have a decided on hashtag (I personally like DisabilityUprising, but I’m biased) and use that all week. Our targets for social media aren’t just politicians, but news organizations and reporters. An entire week of pwd demanding attention. One day focusing on bad policies and actual costs (what isn’t covered or only partially covered,) another about issues with accessibility and inclusion, another about who pwd are (family members, friends, etc.) The fourth day about changes we want and need. The last day is a mix of everything, highlighting the protests with videos, hopefully even some from people’s homes to show they may not be there in person but they’re fighting all the same.
And our final front for revolution, since I am aiming for a three-pronged uprising, will be letters, postcards and emails. Again, these are not just for politicians but for the media as well. Anyone who should be advocating for pwd should be contacted.
With this there will have to be decided messaging, especially with the protests being spread out. Every voice has to demanding the same thing.
Some agreed upon statements would have to be:
1, Politicians work for the people. They are our employees and they need to start doing their jobs completely. Our tax dollars pay them. We expect better treatment. We need to lay the foundation that they answer to us, that we are paying them, and they do not have more power. This is a wake-up call. If they want to do nothing, we will be responding.
2, Patience has been stretched too thin. No more waiting for change. It’s past due. We want guaranteed changes.
3, This is focusing solely on pwd. I know that OW is often lumped in with ODSP, but that stops at this protest. Anyone goes to bring up that, “we hope our work helps those people but we’re fighting for pwd.” Because pwd have different needs. They are not able-bodied people and we need to stop acting like it’s all the same.
4, What our demands actually are. This is going to be the biggest thing. Are we fighting for Universal Basic Income and Disability recognition? OR Are we fighting for a National Disability Program? OR Are we fighting for a new ODSP?
5, No attitude that we don’t expect this to change anything. It’s understandable that the attitude right now is that politicians don’t care and pwd aren’t going to get the help they need. In a protest, that kind of thinking is useless, however. If nothing will change, then what’s the point? Every protester must have the attitude that things will change, if for no other reason than pwd and their supporters won’t let them stay the same any longer. Again: politicians are supposed to work for us; we’re going to remind them of that.
SUPPORTERS AND SUPPORT
With any protest, this will need support from many people. First the word has to be spread that this is happening so every last contact pwd will need to be utilized. Not just so there’s numbers, but so everything can be organized. Some people will need special transportation. Others might need different discussions with support workers. Each protest group/city will need to have a Go To person to help organize things, resolve any issues that arise, and be able to communicate with other groups so we all know how it’s going.
That’s why I’ve got so far.