Role model: Meet Jonas Franksson from Stockholm (Sweden)

Jonas Franksson, 35, actor, journalist and debater, lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with wife and two kids. He works at the assistance cooperative STIL with advocacy and is also member of the board in STIL.

1998-2003 Jonas was director of the board in the Swedish Federation of Young Disabled. 2004 he won the Swedish Journalist Award as the renewal of the year for his participation in the TV-program CP-magasinet (“the Cerebral Palsy Show” in translation). He has, among a lot of other things, been involved in initiating the Accessibility March in Sweden.

 

• What is your personal experience of disability?
My disability is a natural part of me and has shaped me just as my background, my family and so on have. It has shaped my values and my approach to the extent that I often say that I am grateful that I have been blessed with a disability.

• How did you discover the Independent Living movement?
I live in Sweden, where the Independent Living movement became known in connection with personal assistance legislation nearly twenty years ago. But I was not involved until three years ago when the threats to the legislation became quite serious.

• Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
Since threats to personal assistance are so large in Sweden, I have to prioritise this issue.

• Who has influenced you the most, and how?
I’m most inspired by the black civil rights movement in the US and the ANC in South Africa and their struggle for equal rights together with a strong pride in who they were.

• Of what personal achievement are you most proud?
I’m proud of a lot, which can be good to remind yourself when it goes backwards. But the thing that has made the biggest impression is probably the TV series that I made. It was broadcast on national TV in Sweden in Spring 2004 and helped open the public’s eyes to our questions.

• Do you have a favourite saying or proverb?
It varies from month to month. Right now I am going through a period of much political activism and the old advertisement slogan “Just do it” fits pretty good.

• What motivates you to get up in the morning?
There is always something you can do to help the world become a better place

• What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Being with my children, listening to music and watching movies.

• If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your ideal guests?
Angela Davis has a high profile in the Black Power movement and is still active. I would pump her on strategies and listen to her experiences.

• What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?
Be proud of who you are, demand your rights and a life of freedom. Your disability is a positive thing, anyone who says otherwise is wrong, and their values must be resisted.

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