On 5th May, disabled people, friends and allies across Europe will be marking the 7th European Independent Living Day. This year’s theme, proposed by the European Network on Independent Living, is LIBERTY.

By choosing LIBERTY as the 5th May theme, we want to raise awareness about the fact that disabled people are often deprived of their liberty, in different ways. It can be people living in institutions, group homes or nursing homes, or isolated at home without the support they need to live independently. Another aspect of liberty is the ability to enjoy the freedom of movement. To achieve actual free movement, (disabled) people in the EU should be able to fully access support, transport and other services when living, travelling or studying in any of the Member States.

We encourage disabled people, their organisations, other NGOs, families, allies and the general public to actively participate in this year’s Independent Living Day.

What you can to do:

There are 3 main ways that you can join the Europe-wide celebration of the 5th May:

  1. Share with us personal stories of people deprived of liberty on account of being disabled (this can range from not being able to leave your apartment, to living in an institution or a group home, to not being able to leave your postcode). If you can, please send us a photo or a video, together with a short description or a story (anonymous, if needed).
  2. Encourage people within your network to send us photos of what LIBERTY means to them – this could be a picture or a video of how they perceive liberty, or them holding a sign with a message “LIBERTY is…”.
  3. Organise an event (however large or small) to commemorate the Independent Living Day on the 5th May – and don’t forget to post about it on social media, using the hashtags #ThisIsLiberty, #FreeOurPeople and #ILDay2020. If other events are taking place in your country to celebrate the 5th May, please let us know. (UPDATE: if the situation with COVID-19 allows it)

ENIL will collect all the personal stories, messages and activities, and share them on our website and the social media in the run up to the 5th May and on the European Independent Living Day itself.

ENIL will mark the Independent Living Day by organising a film screening of ‘Wheelchair Road Movie’ in Brussels, on the evening of Tuesday 5th May, followed by a Q&A session – more details will follow. The screening will be free and open to the general public. (Again, if the situation with COVID-19 allows it)

Please send your contributions, or questions, to Laura, ENIL volunteer, at eniltrainee@enil.eu.