Celebrating a Journey of Inclusion
(on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities)
by Luca Badetti
Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, originally proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations to promote awareness and support of critical issues related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society.
This day can have both symbolic and practical value, but let’s not forget that inclusion is a constant call and invitation, day after day.
In L’Arche people with and without disabilities share ordinary life together inclusively – cooking and eating together, having fun, going to events, working, watching television, going on walks, etc.
Life can be so beautifully simple as we enlarge our hearts, including people who are different, in mutual celebration, forgiveness and hope.
We know how people with disabilities still face rejection, oppression, devaluation and humiliation. In times of conflict and risk challenges are increased for people with disabilities (see Human Rights Watch report at https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/12/03/people-disabilities-added-risk-war-displacement).
We celebrate all those signs in the world where personal encounters of friendship between persons with and without disabilities are alive and well, and we affirm all the empowering social transformation that is taking place for a more inclusive world where persons with disabilities can live out their gifts, and where they can challenge hegemonic norms of normalcy and success.
The journey continues, together.