Global Self-advocacy Summit

Report by Self-advocate Council Member Luis Gabriel Villareal.

Descarga la version Española aqui

On Thursday 31st May, as part of the Inclusion International World Congress, the Global Self-Advocacy Summit event was held.

The summit brought together self-advocates from various parts of the world to discuss the Big Issues that are very important to us.

There were around 400 self-advocates and supporters at the event from over 30 countries.

The Big Issues for us are Being included in the community, having an inclusive education, employment, being valued in society, and closing of institutions.

We made Calls to Action, which are demands to help us to achieve changes within our communities, and society as a whole.

Inclusion International’s Self-advocate council members Mia, David, Mark, Sara and I, helped in the organization and logistics of the event, as well as making sure that other self-advocates got to know each other and we supported them during the event to take part in the activities and share their experiences.

A video with interviews of many self-advocates from around the world talking about the Big Issues and the Calls to Action was shown during the Summit, which was powerful and reminded us that self-advocates all around the world are struggling with the same issues.

With our Calls to Action we demand inclusion and we want to give a message to all: a community where people with disabilities are fully and totally included speaks to how much society is advanced. Inclusion is everything.

This summit was followed by a plenary session “Inspiring inclusion in the home and in the world”, where we shared our Calls to Action with the rest of the Congress, to lots of applause. We also heard a speech by Robert Martin, self-advocate and member of the Committee of the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) of the United Nations. Robert supported our Calls to Action and demands for inclusion.

Later in the day, we had a party where we all danced, sang and had a great time. With DJs from Midland Mencap, we all had a nice and fabulous time. It was amazing, because it gave us the opportunity to relax.  It was a great experience that I will never forget.

You can see photos and find out more information about the Big Issues and the Calls to Action in our Facebook group here.