General Article I am a proud disability activist but know almost nothing about the history of our movement

Topic Selected: Disabilities Book Volume: 393

Disabled people are not a monolith and our stories and history deserve to be told, so that the next generation of disabled activists are not left in the dark.

By Shona Louise

I have been a proud disability activist for almost five years now, using my voice to speak up about everything from the plastic straw ban to access on public transport and inaccessibility in theatres. But despite my strong identity as a disabled person, I am ashamed to admit I know little of my own history.

As Disability History Month approaches in the UK I’ve been thinking more and more about how many gaps there are in my knowledge of disability rights and the battles fought to afford me the rights I have today. My activism has been so focused on the here and now, and on fighting for a better future, that I’ve spent little time educating myself on what led us here. And it is me having to educate myself – because this isn’t something they teach in schools.

The history I know has been picked up from older disabl...

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