As this blog is published I’m at the House of Lords, Extinction Rebellion protests permitting, at the launch of this years Shaw Trust Disability Powerlist 100.
I’m honoured to be included on this years list.
It is often said that the direction of ones life can turn on one moment, but how often can you identify that moment? I can.
In May 2012 I had never done any campaigning or activism, was clueless about the Social Model of Disability and knew few disabled people, or at least so I thought.
The weather was improving as spring ended and the London Olympics were approaching. I was waiting in the sunshine for a train at Strawberry Hill, an unmanned station, late one morning. The train arrived, the guard failed to see me and the train left without me. I was livid. This wasn’t unusual but my next act was, and is the snowball that started the avalanche. I grabbed my phone and tweeted about the incident with the hashtag #NoGoBritain. (You can find my continuing twitter ramblings here)
This single act lead to me disappearing down the rabbit hole of disability rights and opportunities that I couldn’t previously have imagined. TV interviews were followed by meetings that opened my eyes. I started blogging about my journeys, blogs which you can still find here and remain just as relevant today.
I was introduced to Transport for All and Ruils shortly afterwards, both organisations that have become important to me. I have learned about the Social Model of Disability which has completely changed by approach to equality and inclusion. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with people and on projects that will change peoples experience for years to come. Next time you see a ramp used on a London bus think of me, the design was changed because of my feedback.
But most of all I’ve met some of the most amazing and committed people who continue to support and educate me every day, people who I am proud to call friends and colleagues. It is only because of each and every one of these individuals that I find myself on this years Powerlist.
I am grateful to them all.