Exclusion Still Exists
As you all know, I am an ability activist and I fight for the rights of people with disabilities. There was a situation recently where the rights of disabled people were not considered. A young boy, Alex, is a wheelchair user. He wanted to take part in the Two Oceans Marathon with his mom pushing him because he can’t push himself far distances.
When they entered the race and informed the organisers that Alex is in a wheelchair, they were told that they were not allowed to participate. Their reasons were that the wheelchair would cause congestion at water stations and confusion for the other runners...
I could not believe that one wheelchair would cause problems for 16,000 people. Alex and his mom, Andrea, came to me for help. I wrote a letter of support for them to take part in the race. I also started a petition and got 400 signatures in support of their cause. The Chaeli Campaign has a big network which is very helpful when you’re trying to get something happening. So, we got in contact with different people and after two weeks Alex and Andrea were informed that they had permission to take part. Yay us!
We found out that there were also other wheelchair users who were denied participation. So, we got them into the race as well!
Discrimination and exclusion still exists in society today. You would think that inclusion in sport is something that has become common practice but, clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done. We still need to be activists for our cause – people need to be reminded of how people with disabilities need to be included.
Going in with guns blazing will often turn people off - and they stop listening completely. So we need to take into consideration the situation, act in a way that will best fit and have the best possible outcome for everybody.
Just saying …