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International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023: Exclusion Hurts but Love Wins!

Each year, December 3rd marks the celebration of International Day of Persons With Disabilities. The United Nations tells us that this day “aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities” and “seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”

Our #IDPD2023 banner features Philip Delangy (red shirt) who made a powerful presentaiton at a National Disability Employment Awareness Month event in October, sharing his career path and current life as a public servant with Health Canada, as well as Martin Couture and Frances Laube, partners in life and partners in the kitchen, seen here cooking up a storm.

Whether it is the United Nations or LiveWorkPlay ourselves, the words we use to talk about inclusion can sometimes sound a bit like instructions for assembling furniture, or focus too much on what people need, instead of what they give.

So this is a reminder that is about real people and their real lives – it is about having a home, jobs, and friends. It is about loving and being loved. It is about being welcome, valued, and needed as a co-worker, a teammate, and a neighbour.

We try to remember to thank our volunteer team, community partners, and family members of people we support for all that they do to help our organization in collaboration with our dedicated staff team, and really we can’t do that enough, but on this day, we really want to thank the people who trust us to help them make their way in a world that often does not yet fully value them.

Being excluded is painful, and when people who have experienced direct or indirect discimination in everything from education to employment to recreation, the resilience of people we support does not erase the trauma of their experiences.

Exclusion hurts.

We want you to know that our support and encouragement for you to move forward in your life is never a dismissal of all that you have faced to get to where you are. In our excitement to help you find that job or make that friend or join that club, we might lose our way from time to time in not fully hearing the barriers you are working to overcome. So we thank you for your patience and understanding, and we’ll keep working to get better. We truly appreciate that in sharing your own life stories, you are helping advance the cause of inclusion for all, and know that we share your positive life events as an encouragement to others, knowing that your journey to that job, or home, or healthy relationship was not achieved without many difficult times that came before, and that every single day, there are still challenges to overcome. But you keep showing up.

Thank you.