Diversity and respect – An idea for Isabelle

There’s been a lot of talk about voice recently; about the importance of enabling the perspectives of different sections of the community. There have been discussions about how the power of families stifles the voice of people with learning difficulties. There have been conversations about wanting to change the tone of the debate about inpatient hospitals and the rights of people with learning disabilities. And a while ago I was posed a really interesting question by Isabelle Garnett. Isabelle wanted to know if I could think of a single idea around which people campaigning for the rights of people with learning disabilities could unite. Something that is realistic and achievable. It’s a great question and I’ve been thinking about it on and off for a while now and I think I’ve found an answer.

On the surface there is no single idea. People face a multitude of challenges in trying to live a rightfull life, and there are thousands of ideas about how the struggle for those rights can be fought. But despite this, it is clear that there is so much that unites us all, whether we are people with learning disabilities, autistic people, family members or friends, practitioners, providers, academics and commissioners, ultimately we are campaigning for or struggling to deliver the same thing – the human rights of people with learning disabilities and autistic people. So perhaps there is an idea, or at least a couple of ideas that we can all unite around, and those ideas would be accepting that there is diversity in approach and priority – and respect for that diversity.

In support of this idea we’ve decided that it’s time for us to launch Myownfrontdoor.net as a platform and online magazine on which people can share their work and their campaigns. It will be set up as a Rightful Lives project and it will be for everybody, from self-advocates, to families and friends, to practitioners and the organisations they work for, to senior civil servants and politicians. Its contributors will steer its content and future direction and the guiding principles will be diversity and respect.

If you’d like to share your work or campaign and would like to contribute to Myownfrontdoor.net then email me on MarkBrown@rightfullives.net and I’ll set up a login for you, and help you to get started.