Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Advocacy at work

Incidents of discrimination and bullying are still everyday events in the worlds of many people with disabilities, and the need for swift, responsive and effective advocacy exists alongside broader campaigns for inclusion and acceptance, as these two examples show:

When a journalist posted an insulting hashtag on Twitter earlier this week, in relation to comments about the lack of a Minister for Disability in the new Federal Cabinet, the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability came out to highlight, correct, advocate, and to offer disability sensitivity training. This morning, NSW CID posted on Facebook:
Good News!! - an update on the ‪#‎Rword‬ post!
Yesterday we received an apology from both the journalist and The Australian newspaper. Plus an apology on twitter! The paper said they will take us up on our offer to work with them on some disability awareness strategies.

Thanks to everyone who liked and shared our post. Lots of people agreed with us - don't use the #Rword 
Together we have made some noise and some progress! Well done and thank you!

NSW CID


You might also have been aware of an example of blatant discrimination that occurred in Brisbane
recently, and 'went viral' on social and other media. In this case, the young man's family and the media were his advocates, and an apology has been issued. Down Syndrome Australia CEO, Ruth Weber was interviewed on ABC radio:
JB Hi-Fi is committed to providing all customers with the best possible shopping experience. 
We have investigated the incident involving James Milne and his family at our Mount Ommaney store. 
We apologise to James and his family for any distress he has suffered as a result of this incident. 
JB Hi-Fi and the manager of our Mount Ommaney store believe that we could have managed this in a better way in the interests of James and his family. 
JB Hi-Fi is committed to learning from this and improving our customer experience across all of our stores. 
To support this we are reviewing our customer policies to make sure that they reflect best practice. 
Richard Murray CEO of JB Hi-Fi said “We would like to apologise unreservedly to James. We should have done better yesterday. We are going to make sure that we learn from this and do better in the future. I have sent a personal letter of apology to James and we are continuing to endeavour to contact the family to apologise directly.”

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