In becoming informed and empowered disability advocates and in creating a community of educated and empowered allies and people with disabilities, there are three pillars. First is education, second is engagement, and third is empowerment. Education builds a foundation of knowledge of disability justice history and what disability really is. We must educate ourselves and our community on the experience of disability; explaining that disability is not to be conflated with inability and that people with disabilities are complex and diverse with full lives. Next, we start engaging with each other and our local communities. This engagement is a more direct and active form of communal learning. Mentorship is a great form of engagement, leading into empowerment. Mentorship helps create bonds and is often mutually beneficial for mentor and mentee. In any given mentorship, one must build mutual trust through respect and communication. It would also involve meeting regularly to exchange ideas, set goals and discuss progress in relation to those goals. This is a combination of engaging with fellow advocates and mutual empowerment. Empowerment involves more introspection and self-understanding. We have to understand how we best learn and work and how we can use our strengths to create change for people with disabilities.
The only way we will end ableism, discrimination against people with disabilities, is by becoming well informed advocates and joining together in community.
Educate. Engage. Empower. Ourselves and Others.