Active policies will make improvements to people’s lives

Nothing about us without us

The Green Party supports active policies that require real, sometimes difficult, change, but that will make massive improvements to people’s lives, writes Georgia Grainger.

Such policies often involve fixing things before a crisis point is reached, and mean that just-about-alright is not good enough. Our active policies aim to be led by the people with most lived experience of them, and are often seen as “radical” for not sticking to a barely working status quo.

Our aim is to be involved in fundamental, person-led, active change for disabled people.

Disabilities are often seen as purely medical and not to do with society and politics. This can disempower people seeking changes. We reject this approach, accepting instead the ‘social model’ of viewing disability, whereby disability is something that society causes through its refusal to accept and include people who are different.

Through acceptance, inclusion and empowerment, we can radically change how disabilities are perceived, understood and supported in society. We believe that, as with any other form of discrimination and marginalisation, it is for society to change, not those at the receiving end of what could be called ‘ableism’.

Awareness is important, but it is a passive act. We can be aware of the waiting lists for diagnoses, treatments and supports; of the difficulties in young adults accessing services as they grow up; of the prejudices against mental illness within healthcare; of the dismissal of chronic pain conditions; of the inaccessibility of appropriate housing; of the poverty many disabled people are forced to live in; of the lack of support for the emotional wellbeing of those with long-term and life-long conditions.

However awareness means nothing unless we act radically and bring about change through legislation, demonstration, direct action and social change.

The Green Party commits to acting radically.

The Green Party is seeking to make changes informed by disabled people, with the recognition that everyone deserves to be an accepted part of their society and community.

We are developing our policies around disability and will be led by principles of active societal change and radical acceptance. We will be seeking input primarily from people with lived experiences of disability. A frequent slogan of disability rights campaigners is “nothing about us without us” – we will uphold this.

The Green Party believes fundamentally that disabled lives are valid and valuable, and we want to build a Northern Ireland that believes that too.

Georgia Grainger is the Green Party in Northern Ireland Equality Officer

15 April 2016

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