Our CEO Dr Greg Ussher said:
“This year has been an extraordinary and significant year in so many ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into stark relief the health inequalities that exist in our society, inequalities which are deep and damaging. Disabled people have particularly suffered this year and Government policy has sometimes exacerbated this suffering.
“In the UK, over 11 million people are disabled – about 17% of the population. Twenty-five years ago, the government introduced the Disability Discrimination Act – a cause for celebration, while also being a move that was long overdue, with race and gender legislation having been introduced some 20 years earlier. In 1995 for the first time, it became illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities when it came to education, transport, employment and the provision of goods and services.
“The Act made discrimination against disabled people unlawful and included the requirement that organisations must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure equity of access. These principles were and are maintained in the Equality Act 2010, which combined previously separate legislation on disability, race and gender, as well as adding new protected characteristics such as sexual orientation, religion or belief, and age.
“The fact that we were compelled to sign a statement earlier on this year to say that we stood with other disabled people’s organisations and allies to urge the NHS to treat disabled people with COVID equitably shows that today there is still much to be done to ensure that disabled people have fair access to health, as well as education and employment opportunities.”
Sue Elsegood, Chair of METRO GAD said:
“In 2019, GAD-CIL (Greenwich Association of Disabled Peoples Centre for Independent Living) joined the METRO family. As a user-led organisation of disabled people in London providing advice, information and advocacy for disabled people who live, work or study in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, we hear first-hand from people who are experiencing injustice in our community.
“I was involved in disabled activism and protests in the 90s, and was recently interviewed by the BBC on the impact of those protests, which led to the Disability Discrimination Act. As I said in this interview, we achieved something significant at that time. But it hasn’t gone far enough. We are still fighting for better legislation.
“So on this day, International Day of Disabled People, we support the UN’s call to build back better towards a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world.”
You can watch the BBC news item featuring our Sue here.[link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-54862889]
This year METRO GAD is proud to sponsor Disability Pride Philadelphia's Thrive Aid-The Art of Protest on 3rd December. Marking The International Day of Disabled People, celebrating the lives and contributions of disabled people through disability art and culture, and in protest of the stigma towards disabled people worldwide, Thrive Aid will be a two-hour international premiere happening in cities in Australia and the UK.
METRO GAD’s services are available online and over the phone. Find out more here [link: METRO GAD | METRO Charity]