A year in Review – 2022: a thank you from Atif

15th December 2022 by Brigit Colclough

We mark this time of year with a celebration and coming-togetherness around the world, recognising that no matter our identity, we are all deserving of joy, gifting, and kindness. I’m excited that so many different celebrations and holidays fall within this period, and the sense of global generosity and hope for the year ahead fills me with a certain glow.

This December ties together a number of global, and personal, anniversaries. We see the 20th anniversary of the International Day of Disabled People with the UN; the 12th year of the 2010 Equality Act and the formation of D&A. The journey of these events has all come so far in the last decades, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate the collective work of disabled people. Building a world where we can share differences because we want to, and not because we have to, can take time – both globally and closer to home. 

Let’s take the time to recognise that the work of D&A, and the structural challenges we make to the country’s attitude to disablement, is an ongoing journey. We have a collective responsibility to challenge and anticipate how barriers are affecting people’s participation and at times, cause us not to see the richness of the civil society we all live in

There has been so much to celebrate this year, but it is important that we take this space to recognise and come to terms with the parts that haven’t been easy. Parts that, I think, can be summarised by the 3 C’s: Climate, Conflict, and COVID.

Climate: acknowledging that it is often disabled people who eat last, and are worst affected by unaffordable energy prices.

Conflict: seeing those touched by the invasion of Ukraine, and the displacement of people in Ethiopia, and recognising those who are yet to tell their stories. I also would like to speak of the people marginalised by the socio-economic loss these ravages have caused.

And, finally, COVID, to which we lost far too many lives. Our lives changed forever in this space, and the rise of mutual-aid charities is a result of the compassion and labour of disabled people themselves. 

I want to take stock and celebrate the participation of D&A in the lives of so many. I feel hopeful and joyful for a future where more people feel able to share their realities with us and benefit from the work and inclusivity that you all put forth into the world. It is this that lives at the very heart of our brilliance – a brilliance that defines the world we’re building. 

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