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Reshaping the World By, For and With People with Disabilities

Posted on Dec 2, 2021, by

By Stephenie Mlodzik, Disability Rights Advocate and member of the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD)

December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), a day that promotes awareness of disability issues and the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.”

As a Disability Rights Advocate, this is the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight on my community. Locally, I’ve seen the impact of COVID-19 firsthand as people with disabilities have lost access to direct care and health services. Families, including young siblings and teens, stepped up even more than usual to care for their brothers or sisters with disabilities. How do I know? As the Fund Development Coordinator for WisconSibs, Inc., we provide connection and support to these siblings, who typically have a lifelong bond with a person with disabilities.

Here’s a video about what we do, and why we do it:

We have been able to keep services going to support the life-long journey and well-being of siblings and their families, thanks to the generous grants from funds within the Community Foundation including the Leland O. and Leone F. Skowen Charitable Fund, the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the Bright Idea Fund, and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners.

In addition, we are making a blueprint for the future for people with disabilities.

Globally, the disability community is 1 billion strong, making up 15% of the world’s population. Despite being the world’s largest intersectional minority group, it’s predominantly overlooked in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

A better future starts with adding voices from the disability community to these conversations. As one of the populations hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to raise our voices and demand better recovery for all.

I encourage you to share your stories in your social media spaces using the hashtag #IDPwD (International Day of Persons with Disabilities). You can also get involved with us by checking out the opportunities on our website.

We’re featuring a series of articles from local authors celebrating our diversity in the Fox Valley. Want more stories like these? Sign up to get in The Loop. And don’t forget to invite a friend to get in The Loop! 

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