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This October event challenges people to learn about people with disabilities

Disability Network of SW Michigan

One in five people in this country are disabled. That fact has led two West Michigan agencies supporting people with disabilities to challenge the public during the month of October.

The "21-Day Disability Justice Challenge" starts Friday, October 1, 2021, and is open to everyone. The online program, a partnership between the Disability Network of Southwest Michigan and the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, is designed to increase public awareness.

Credit Leona Larson / WMUK
Leatrice Fullerton and her guide dog Charlie remind long-time volunteer Harvey Hanna to sign up for the 21-Day Disability Justice Challenge

Leatrice Fullerton works for the Disability Network, where more than half of the staff and board are disabled.

“The awesome thing about the '21-Day Disability Challenge' is that it is held in a virtual space. And because issues of ableism and barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities is a global issue, anyone around the world can participate.”

People who register will get an email each weekday morning with links, videos, and audio clips on various disability justice topics. Things like the right way to ask someone about their disability.

Fullerton says participants in the challenge can proceed at their own pace.

“If the mood strikes at 3 a.m., learn about disability justice at 3 a.m. If you learn best in your pajamas on the weekend, then that’s when you should do it. It’s all about what works best for you in your space.”

Fullerton encourages parents to consider sharing the information with their kids.

“I do believe that many of the themes are definitely going to be family friendly, so, you as a parent will be able to read the synopsis and go, ‘Oh yeah, I would like my ten-year-old too know how to refer to people with disabilities instead of calling them names that could be deemed ableist or offensive.’”