By Dylan Freeman-Grit
Over 100 Ryerson students and members and supporters of Toronto’s disabled community came together to promote a cross-disability atmosphere during the third annual Toronto Disability March. The event, which took place on Oct. 5, started at Queen’s Park and finished at the Ryerson School of Disability Studies.
“If we can manage to re-organize ourselves as a cohesive group of disability rights activists with each others interests as a primary goal, we may become a social and political powerhouse able to affect positive and substantive change for all disabled people, as well as for all oppressed groups,” said Kevin Jackson, a Toronto Disabilities Pride organizer and fourth-year Ryerson disability studies student.
Prior to the march, several activists for accessibility rights spoke. These speakers included Jackson, as well as federal NDP deputy disability issues critic, Mike Sullivan, and Ryerson professor, Charles Silverman.
The annual march, which began during the Occupy movement, is significant because it combines activism from all forms of disability rights concerns. The overall goal of the march is to ensure that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, a comprehensive bill meant to catalyze accessibility practice in the province, is being correctly enforced and taken seriously.
Jackson said that he sees a bright future for the event in the years to come.
“More people will be involved, more people will march with us and realize that ‘disability’ is a socially imposed force and the things that are ‘impairments’ are not the problem it is society that is causing the problem,” he said.