Change Makers Assemble

I’ve been wanting to share a few thoughts on making change and those who drive it. The change makers. So with the disability power 100 event taking place this week, straight after Purple Tuesday, there couldn’t have been a more perfect time to publish.

Firstly I want to congratulate the Purple Tuesday and Shaw Trust teams for continuing to run and grow these important initiatives. Shining a light on positive stories of disability is so important. Particularly with the power 100, showcasing the titans of disability is vital for disabled people and indeed a better world.

To those in this years top 100 I’m sending huge congratulations. As a multi power 100 alumni, placing third in December 2016, my biggest advice is celebrate like you’ve won the world cup! Making social change is hard and rarely does it offer such recognition. So it’s important to stop and enjoy these moments.

Of course it also offers a future of new opportunities to make even more change. After I was acknowledged for my work for disability inclusion, I was asked to speak more often to the media, at conferences and collaborate with new change makers. One being the partnership that led to Purple Goat being created in 2020.

One change maker I simply have to name check is Clare Gray. A tireless disability advocate in and out of her role at the Shaw Trust, and really driving the power 100 in recent years. She sadly passed away not long before this years awards. I’d only just caught up with her at the Rights on Flights event in parliament where we’d planned to catch up more soon. Thanks for everything you changed and made possible Clare. We all miss you.

From this week’s events, to this years legends, to remembering Clare, let’s finish on the future.

The world is pretty upside down from 4 or 5 years ago. We all know what’s happened and is happening from the news. Unfortunately the one narrative that doesn’t get enough attention, still, is disability inclusion.

It’s become harder for disabled people to access healthcare, social care, education, tourism, (in particular aircrafts), housing, and many other parts of every day life. This is never to say it’s only disabled people struggling with such things, but the incidence and impact is far greater for our community.

At the same time there’s people in abundance wanting to speak out and challenge injustice. Again I’m not saying this should only be on disability issues, but it deserves more awareness than it currently gets.

So my challenge to all the change makers – past, present, future and beyond, is this – Let’s share our personal stories and perspectives. Let’s work together to amplify both problems and even more so solutions. Let’s partner with disability allies and mainstream institutions to tear down these unnecessary barriers.

Let’s. Build. An. Inclusive. World. Together 💜

Change makers together at the 2022 power 100 event