What is a self-advocate?

Posted on by StartWithHi

As we take some time to look at what Start with Hi is really all about, we want to highlight some of the inspiring and powerful people who joined us. First and foremost are the self-advocates who work with Start with Hi.

Some of you might have seen self-advocates in our videos, on television and at events talking about Start with Hi and the importance of inclusion. If you’re not familiar with the term, a self-advocate is someone from within a community who expresses their own perspective, needs and wishes. This is really important because it’s often easy for people who care about others to end up speaking for a community, instead of supporting community self-expression.

Most of the time, it’s not done on purpose, they just want to help. But when you see Emily at her part-time job, Cliff out at his gym, Manjeet inspiring others on the board of Semiahmoo house and Amy out with her friends, there’s no denying that these powerful people deserve to be heard from directly.

When we talk about inclusion, we mean everyone. We mean people who live with a disability, caregivers, family, friends, neighbours, and more. When you start looking at who is touched by disability, it’s easy to see that everyone is touched by disability in some way or another.

We’ve already seen exceptional stories of self-advocacy, from parents who hold schools accountable, to neighbours who reach out to others, professional photographers who want to share their idea of beauty and simple acts of kindness that have lasting effects. We couldn’t have done any of it without the self-advocates from Start with Hi who speak up for inclusion.

In the next little while, we’ll be profiling and sharing stories from the self-advocates who have already made such a difference in BC and beyond. We hope you’ll join us!

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