Don’t Dis My Ability Campaign Strives For Inclusive Communities

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka today welcomed the 2014 Don’t DIS my ABILITY month long campaign, encouraging communities, workplaces, schools and individuals to think and act inclusively.

“This year’s campaign is focused on challenging the public to re-evaluate the way they think about and engage with people with disabilities,” Mr Ajaka said.

“One of the NSW Government’s priorities is to increase opportunities for people with disability to assist them in realising their potential.

“We want to build accessible and inclusive communities, schools and workplaces in which everyone is equally supported to pursue their goals.

“To achieve this goal, educating the wider community is important, breaking down barriers and removing stereotypes.

“We spoke with many people with disability in the lead up to this year’s campaign and the message was loud and clear to community: Think about how you act on a day to day basis. Consider whether you are being inclusive.

“The campaign’s messages will be brought to life by the 2014 Don’t DIS my ABILITY ambassadors, who will share their personal stories of inclusion and participation.

“Each of the ambassadors have a unique story and their individual experiences will help the broader community realise that if you want something, no matter what your circumstances, with the right support, you can get there.”

This year’s 19 ambassadors include:

  • Bodene Davies, a photographer and public speaker from Soldiers Point
  • Brett Whiteley, the campaign’s face from Singleton. He acquired his disability a year ago, and hopes  to compete in this year’s Sydney Hobart yacht race
  • Christopher Bunton, a Special Olympics gymnast and performer from St Clair
  • Cormac Ryan, a 7 year old wheelchair racer from Concord
  • Darien Brown, a stand-up comedian from Round Corner
  • Donna Purcell, a diversity manager from Mt Kuring-gai
  • Graeme Innes AM, cricket tragic and former Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner from Lindfield
  • Irene McMinn, a disability advocate and volunteer from Cherrybrook
  • Jess Cronje, a 16 year old dual athlete from Menangle
  • Jo Berry, a social worker and award winning public speaker from Forestville
  • Julie Charlton,  a 15 year old athlete and aspiring lawyer from Dural
  • Katelyn Gales from Young who is a carer, a cleaner and a volunteer
  • Laurie Lawira, an SBS reporter from Balgowlah
  • Lima Peni, a talented rapper from Claymore
  • Matthew Hennig, a disability advocate,  trainer and entrepreneur from The Entrance
  • Paul Stone, a volunteer fire-fighter and sports trainer from Winmalee
  • Victor Tombs, from Bondi Junction , an award winning artist and singer
  • William Le, a filmmaker from Wentworth Point and founder of a casting agency for people from linguistic and culturally diverse backgrounds
  • Yvette Smith, a television presenter and performer from Miranda

Mr Ajaka said it is up to each and every one of us to make the effort to build inclusive communities in order to create long lasting change for people with disability.

“Through this Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign I’m hoping we can spread our messages widely and engage with more and more people to create change,” Mr Ajaka said.

The campaign runs until the International Day of People with Disability on 3 December 2014.

To learn more or for further information on the campaign’s feature events, ambassadors and how you can get involved visit www.dontdismyability.com.au.