As we edge closer to the 2019 Freedom Drive on 1 – 3 October, we would like to remind you about all the highlights of this year’s event and encourage you to register as soon as you can.
30th Anniversary: This year, ENIL is turning 30 and we will be celebrating and reflecting on our achievements in the last three decades during the Freedom Drive. We have asked some of the founders to join us at the Independent Living Conference on 3 October, and have started collecting key documents and photos from ENIL’s past. We will exhibit these during our 30th Birthday party on 2 October. If there are any photos you are holding on to from past conferences, meetings and protests, from 1989 onwards, we would love it if you could send them to us.
Conference: With the new European Disability Strategy in the making, we will use the Freedom Drive to agree on the key actions needed at the EU level to take Independent Living forward. We will reflect on what has changed since the beginning on the Independent Living movement, whether we need new strategies or allies, and how we can make the Independent Living movement more inclusive of all (of children, older people, and making sure we include all disabled people). We will share the conference agenda with you by the end of May.
Workshops: We are planning up to seven workshops on 1 October, on topics we believe are relevant to our members. With some workshops running simultaneously, we hope that everyone can find something of interest. The topics we will be covering are: User-led Personal Assistance, Disabled Refugees, European Structural and Investment Funds, Co-Production, Neurodiversity, Sustainable Development Goals and Youth. In order to help us plan in advance, we are asking you to register early and let us know which workshops you would like to attend.
Freedom of movement: We plan to use the hearing in the European Parliament to give as many Freedom Drivers a chance to provide evidence about barriers they are facing moving around the EU. Whether it is for work, study, or pleasure, we know the EU is far from accessible for disabled people. With new MEPs starting in their jobs in September, it will be a strategically important meeting for the Independent Living movement. We hope that many of you will also meet your new MEPs during the Freedom Drive. We encourage you to start contacting MEPs as soon as they are elected in May to arrange a meeting.
World Independent Living Network (WIN): This year, we will have Freedom Drivers from outside Europe for the first time. For the moment, a delegation from Japan have confirmed their participation, and we are expecting others to join. On 3 October, we will have a meeting of WIN to plan joint activities, and to discuss what role ENIL can play in building a strong global Independent Living movement. Let us know if you would like to take part in the first European meeting of WIN, and please share information about the Freedom Drive with CILs from around the world that may be interested.
Protest: Always the highlight of the week, the Freedom Drive march will start at Parc du Cinquantenaire and end in front of the European Parliament. We will be passing the European Commission buildings and ENIL’s installation along the way. Plan on bringing banners and things to make noise!
In the coming months we will publish a more detailed agenda for the week and confirm the speakers. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stay updated about the 2019 Freedom Drive, please check this Freedom Drive summary page on our website, and make sure to check our website, the Freedom Drive Facebook page, as well as our Newsletters.
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