300 persons walked through Oslo last weekend in one of Europe’s biggest disability pride parades, shouting “Proud! Strong! Visible!”
ULOBA – Independent Living Norway, has arranged disability pride parades for the last 8 years. After walking down Karl Johan, the main street of Oslo, the parade ends up at Oslo Central Station where there are speeches and a concert.
“The march has now become what I have wanted for many years”, says the political leader in ULOBA – Ann Kristin Krokan.
“In the early years we tried to copy the gay pride parades and have more of a party, but that wasn’t quite right for us. Now we have focused more on politics and equality; and I think that is a good thing. We still have a long way to go when it comes to equality and anti-discrimination, both in Norway and worldwide”, says Krokan.
Every year ULOBA gives a pride award to a person or a group that has done something extraordinary for our cause. This year’s winner, Anita Elisabeth Bjorklund, was put against her will in a home for elderly at the age of 21. Instead of giving up, Anita started a blog that got 100 000 followers overnight. That in turn led to media picking up her story and after 6 months of pressure, she was finally moved out.
“This year’s award winner shows us that it’s important not to give up. She has protested loudly and clearly and has put this problem on the agenda in society. A lot of young disabled people end up in institutions because the municipalities think that they can save some money. Human rights, equality and dignity are unfortunately not always important for the people in charge”, said the jury.
If you speak Norwegian language, you can read more in her blog.
For more information about ULOBA, available in English, visit this link.
Photo: The march in Oslo’s streets