As a result of this historic occasion, each year since, folks all over the world spend July celebrating Disability in all of its joyous, complicated, messy, and creative glory. We dedicate time to honour the strength, resilience, and contributions of Disabled people, both past and present, as well as continue to advocate for inclusivity and accessibility in all aspects of life.
Advocacy is a year-round kind of gig, but July acts as a reminder to celebrate the successes, to grieve the losses and to remind ourselves that rest is just as radical as revolts.
As I collected events for this newsletter, I couldn’t help replay a speech I heard last week at the 2023 Dora Awards. Upon accepting the inaugural Christine Karcza Disability Leadership Award, The Disability Collective’s Emily Maxwell put out a call to Toronto’s creatives, urging them to make true, tangible changes when it comes to disability representation in the arts:
“Toronto, the time for complacency has passed. It is incumbent upon us, as a vibrant arts community, to push the boundaries of inclusivity further and embrace the diversity of talent and perspectives that exist within our disabled arts community. We must recognize that accessibility is not a mere afterthought, but a fundamental pillar that should permeate every aspect of our artistic endeavours.”
If you’re able to, support Deaf and Disabled artists this month and year round; this goes beyond attending their shows and exhibits, reading their work, and collaborating with them on upcoming projects. Tangible and long-lasting efforts include incorporating accessibility into your own practices and including access measures in your organization’s yearly budgets.
As Emily so eloquently put it, “the time for change is now. Let us seize this moment and shape a future where every artist can truly thrive.”
From all of us here at Creative Users, we hope this month offers you comfort, creativity, rest and so much Disabled joy!