Global Movement Aims To Improve Lives Of People With Disabilities
An ambitious campaign involving groups ranging from the Paralympics to the United Nations is kicking off with a goal of ending discrimination and promoting inclusion of the world’s 1.2 billion people with disabilities.
The effort known as WeThe15 — named to honor the estimated 15% of the world’s population living with disabilities — plans to work with governments, businesses and the public to increase disability visibility and acceptance. The launch of the initiative is timed to coincide with the start of the Paralympic Games Tuesday in Tokyo.
“WeThe15 plans to initiate change over the next decade by bringing together the biggest coalition ever of international organizations from the world of sport, human rights, policy, communications, business, arts and entertainment,” the group’s website indicates. “Like race, gender and sexual orientation, we want to have a movement all persons with disabilities can rally behind.”
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The campaign is led by the International Paralympic Committee and the International Disability Alliance and also includes Special Olympics, the Invictus Games Foundation, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf and several United Nations agencies.
The group has created a purple symbol of inclusivity that organizers say will serve as the first symbol to unite the disability community and call for change. A 90-second video produced by the campaign that’s designed to normalize disabilities will air on television and digital channels in 60 countries and will be shown during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Paralympic Games.
Already more than 125 iconic landmarks across the globe including the Empire State Building in New York, the London Eye and the Colosseum in Rome were lit purple late last week in support of the campaign.
“WeThe15 aspires to be the biggest ever human rights movement for persons with disabilities and aims to put disability right at the heart of the inclusion agenda, alongside ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation,” said Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee. “By uniting several leading international organizations and the world’s 1.2 billion persons with disabilities behind one common movement, we will make a tangible and well overdue difference for the planet’s largest marginalized group.”