Philip J Connolly
From being motivated to being motivational - becoming a movement
Most people are motivated to campaign on disability issues due to either the poverty of disabled people or their lack of participation. Both are important but it may turn out that it is the opportunity cost for the rest of society that is critical to policy development. If 10% of consumers can change a market then in the market of policy development our prospects of doing so are good, 20% of those consumers are disabled people.
The big societal challenges are increasingly the mission of large alliances, consider how many organisations are involved in stopping AIDS or eliminating poverty. The disability sector has been successful at establishing a legal framework for disabled people's rights but not safeguards in policy on their economic participation or their welfare or their standard of living. Disabled people are 28 percentage points behind non-disabled people in employment and are 9 points behind in wages. They are the amongst the first to lose their jobs in a recession and the last to obtain work in a recovery. When poverty bites its disabled people who are most affected; half of all households in poverty have a disabled person living within them. When the pandemic struck three in every five deaths were disabled people. Injustice is not equally spread in its effects and nor is the support equally applied, the £20 upgrade in universal credit didn't apply to those on the so called legacy benefits. Stop. You, me, together we, we can out think the problem.
The Disability Resilience Network has the mission of a large-scale alliance but the ambition to go even further. More important than achieving a network is achieving a movement. A movement flexes, moulds and of course moves and through doing so it can endure and even triumph. A movement is the networks objectives fulfilled across disciplines. It is why I have spent significant time with professional bodies seeking to tie their professional codes to commitments on equalities. We live in a world of integrated systems and most people now know that knowledge of a discipline is not as important as knowledge of a system. Multidisciplinary teams offer the possibility of collective responses derived from collective experiences.
The Disability Resilience Network will look to link innovative practice and creativity in technology, business modelling and story-telling to disability inclusion. Linkedin may make it possible because it offers the option to differentiate audiences by profession. The last blog - the Unitary Plan has been accessed to date by 2423 software developers and 769 engineers in the main spread across just eight major multinationals. There are also business strategists in a further categorisation of the audiences. Through this blog I invite you all to do the following: 1) ally your professional bodies to us, 2) incorporate principles of accessibility into your professional practice and 3) fund our work to turn a network into a movement.
Like the enlightenment - the age of reason - we will look to "the age of resilience" to deliver new levels of inclusion. The lesson from history is that what we can persuade the Government off will be pivotable but it is what we do ourselves that will make the biggest difference. The DRN blogs are the reception classes but you can create the school of disability resilience and even teach in it. The skills to do it and even the funding is already present in my audience. Will you collaborate with me in establishing a disability resilience degree course? Join the Disability Resilience Network. Visit us and complete a free membership form at www.disabilityresiliencenetwork.com