The European Independent Living Day on the 5th May is once again upon us! This year’s theme is ”Barriers to Independent Living”. We would like to encourage you to mark the day by organising events in your countries. We also invite you to take pictures and record testimonies, describing the barriers to Independent Living you face, and to share these with ENIL in the run up to the 5th May. These barriers can be any sort of obstacles to living independently that you find in your path in everyday life, such as tricky kerbs on the streets of your neighbourhood, interesting TV programmes without subtitles, or problems with seeing a doctor or using public transport.
We would also like to use this European Independent Living Day to raise awareness about two particular issues – barriers to the right to vote and the European Accessibility Act.
Firstly, 2019 is an election year and politicians will be battling it out for the right to earn your vote and be your elected representative in the European Parliament. Many disabled EU citizens are routinely denied the right to vote. The European Independent Living Day is a prime opportunity to highlight the importance of political participation. Therefore, we would encourage you to collect examples of barriers to voting and full citizenship.
Secondly, the European Accessibility Act is stuck in an unfortunate game of political ping pong. There are important issues on the table, such as whether it is necessary to have accessibility regulations for the built environment and whether buildings built using public money should be made accessible. Even the accessibility of the EU emergency number (112), a crucial part of emergency services, is being debated. We therefore plan to use the examples of barriers you send us to advocate for a stronger European Accessibility Act.
With all this in mind, it truly is time we made ourselves heard. We strongly encourage you to pull together and spread the word about the right to Independent Living as far as you can! Get in touch with your local Member of Parliament, organise events in your hometown, neighbourhood, school or university, or send photos or recordings to ENIL. Whatever you do, let people know that Independent Living is a human right and that we will not be ignored.
Nothing about us without us!
How can I take part in the European Independent Living Day?
- Organise an event in your town, neighbourhood, at your workplace, your school or university. The event does not have to be big – it can be a coffee morning at your local community centre, for example. Please let ENIL know what you are planning, so that we can share this on Facebook.
- Please send a photo and/or a recording (testimony) of the barriers you encounter to Lauri at firstname.lastname@example.org, so they can be posted on Facebook before and on the 5th
- Spread the news about the European Independent Living Day on the social media. Use the following hashtags: #ILDAY18 #independentliving
- If you are in Brussels or the vicinity, join ENIL at the screening of “Defiant Lives”in the European Parliament. You can register here by the 23rd