From June 2nd to June 8th, Nova Scotians recognize Access Awareness Week, which celebrates achievements made both by and for people with disabilities in the areas of accessibility, transportation, housing, employment, recreation, education and communication.
In 1988, Rick Hansen’s Man in Motion Tour inspired the creation of a national Access Awareness Week, which was recognized for 10 years. Starting in 1998, many cities adopted a similar week to continue to recognize accessibility issues.
Here in Nova Scotia, the Partnership for Access Awareness Nova Scotia (PAANS) is the organization that oversees the planning of the week’s events. This year, the theme is “Homes, Not Housing,” which certainly strikes a chord with all NSGEU members, including our own President, Joan Jessome, who was recently named to the Province’s affordable housing committee.
Removing barriers to those with disabilities is key to ensuring that we are creating healthy and inclusive spaces, whether they be homes or workplaces. We need to work together to better identify barriers and make all spaces accessible, without waiting for individuals to point out problems, and then try and find solutions.
We share PAANS’ mission, which is to: “promote the inclusion of all Nova Scotians with disabilities as full citizens within our communities. Through public awareness, community partnerships and education, we aim to foster an environment of equal participation for persons with disabilities within Nova Scotia.”