March is Disability Awareness Month, a time to celebrate inclusion, learn about respecting people with disabilities, and reflect on real and perceived abilities and disabilities. The Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities is helping us celebrate by providing helpful information and tools. We're pleased that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Danville City Council have issued proclamations recognizing Disability Awareness Month.
The theme for the 2017 Disability Awareness Month is "I'm Not Your Inspiration." People with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed or simply good neighbors are often called inspirational by people who do not fully know them. This campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first — people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.
At ArtMix our artists provide inspiration through their work. All artists strive to create inspirational art. So, why is it problematic for a person with a disability to be seen as inspirational? Think about the people who inspire you. This might be your family, friends, authors, actors, or others. Why do they inspire you? Because they do something well and probably because you feel a personal connection to them. When you tell someone who has a disability and whom you don't know that they inspire you, it can be belittling to that person. It says to them that you are seeing them only for their disability. If that's not your intent, then here are some suggestions:
- Get to know them.
- Ask questions.
- Find out their skills and talents.
- Include them in your community.
The notion that "I'm Not Your Inspiration" is not to say that a person with disabilities cannot be an inspiration. The goal is to change your way of thinking. When you meet someone with a disability, get to know them, include them, and find out what they're good at, then you can find inspiration in your friend who happens to have a disability.
Throughout the month follow ArtMix on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to learn more about disability awareness, the programs we provide, and ways that you can get involved.
- On Wednesday, March 1 we were on Indy Style! We shared artwork from the ArtMix Gallery, giving a sneak peek into our March First Friday exhibit. Watch the segment by clicking here!
- Join us in the ArtMix Gallery on Friday, March 3 for our First Friday exhibit, "Redefining Inspiration" and a free art activity for all ages.
- On Tuesday, March 7 wake up early to catch us on the morning news with Fox 59. We'll be on at 6:15 or so (You may want to record and watch it later, or link to it from http://fox59.com/fox59-morning-news/).
We hope you learn something new during Disability Awareness Month. Remember that a little bit of knowledge can go a long way, so don't forget to share the things you've learned with friends and family!