During the week of March 28 to April 1, Booth UC held our very first Disability Dialogue Week. The goal was to raise awareness of persons living with disability in our community. Through virtual events, we worked to encourage better understanding, educate about disability perspectives and empower people with disabilities as equal and strong members of our community.
During the week a variety of activities and resources were available such as a knowledge-testing game (students played to win prizes), stories from Booth UC students about what it’s like for a disabled person to study in post-secondary education, inspiring videos and more.
Of particular interest was our keynote speaker, Dr. Nancy Hansen, Director of the Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Hansen’s research interests and expertise include: disability in spaces of culture, education, literacy, social policy, employment, healthcare, MAiD, COVID-19, and access and experiences of disabled people. Her presentation was inspiring and informative. Many expressed gratitude for having the chance to meet and learn from her.
Student Ashlyn Frost also shared her story with the Booth UC community:
“As a person with a learning disability, I want to normalize people needing to access support and not feeling ashamed to do so! When I was growing up I could not read for the longest time. I needed extra support in the classroom to succeed with my learning. As a child, some kids did not understand that I had unique barriers which they did not. Some kids complained that I got extra help from teachers and sometimes even made fun of me for being different.
Often society doesn’t make space for people with disabilities. Our guest speaker, Nancy Hansen, has said that disability voices have been kept silent by systems and ideologies. We can move forward with making changes in society first by acknowledging and reflecting on the difference between equality and equity and then by acting to ensure everyone has equitable access to what they need to succeed.”
Thank you Ashlyn, and thank you to everyone who participated. We look forward to this becoming an annual event at Booth UC.