In 2014, the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL celebrated 25 years of existence. To commemorate this event and to celebrate our growing network, the ENIL Board decided to declare May 5th as the European Day on Independent Living. This day can be used as a day of celebration, for protests or any other events in the name of Independent Living. It aims to bring together disabled people and our supporters throughout Europe and raise awareness of Independent Living.
Since the 8th edition of the European Independent Living Day is approaching, we decided to dedicate it to the idea of movement or mobility, in a broader way. We decided on this theme for the following reasons:
- ENIL is part of a 3-year European project called TRIPS, of which the main aim is to make transport in seven European cities more accessible for disabled people, older people and really everyone;
- The COVID-19 pandemic that affected the lives of all of us, reduced our movement (this can be understood in many different ways) and made independent living more challenging; and
- The European Union announced 2021 to be the European Year of Rail.
Movement, or mobility, can be interpreted quite widely and encompass notions like:
► Freedom of Movement (FoM)
– Erasmus+ and other international mobility programmes
– Transferability of disability rights, benefits and services
► Traveling for work or leisure activities
► Transport (public or private)
► Restrictions on movement because of COVID-19 pandemic
► The meaning of movement for those living in institutions
► Anything else you might imagine when you think the words “movement” or “mobility”
By addressing the above, we hope that many people and organisations across Europe and beyond will be motivated to engage. The idea of movement/mobility can be approached from different angles (positive or negative experience etc), and leaves plenty of space for creativity and a big range of activities. We understand that most of them will happen online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however we see it as an opportunity to reach a wider audience, engage with everyone (from people of the neighborhood to the government) and raise awareness about the importance of Independent Living and our human rights, while creating also commitment for the post pandemic period.
How can you join?
This year, we are calling you to share with us your experiences, good and/or bad, when it comes to movement and mobility. You can share stories, photos, videos, funny or not moments, thoughts on how you imagine the future, and anything else you wish!
As always, everyone is encouraged to participate and be active on the day, and is free to celebrate the European Independent Living Day – 5th in any way they wish! The most important is to raise awareness about Independent Living and to be proud, strong and visible!
ENIL will be online the entire day on the 5th May, beginning with the press release, sharing your stories, photos and videos from around Europe and the world on our social media channels, and hosting one or two online events (we will have more news on that soon!).
We will be looking out for these hashtags: #ThisIsHowWeMove and #ILDay2021.
We look forward to seeing many of you celebrating the Independent Living Day with us! Should you have any questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.