Blog post about 'Why I want to work in the disability rights movement' by Tony Paine

Image description: Tony Paine is smiling at the camera. He has brown eyes, tanned features and salt-and-pepper hair.

One of the things that’s come up in some of our conversations about being an ally is making sure that we are aware of our motivation for why we, as non-disabled people, want to work in service of the disability rights movement. For me that’s a mixture of being Maggie Rose’s dad and about the sort of community and country I want to live in. I want to live in a community where no-one is left out or left behind and where everyone gets to enjoy a “good life” on their own terms. I also want to be part of a community where everyone who at some stage of their life needs support to make their way in the world (and that’s everyone when it comes down to it) finds themselves within supportive, accepting, non-patronising, communities where we know people care about us and know us deeply and well enough to help us get what we need to get through. In the words of the old song – none of us are free when one of us is in chains.


That’s got me thinking about our shared vision of what a non-disabling, ableism-free, inclusive world might look like. While I know that parts of that vision can only be imagined and described by disabled people, I think we all need to be able to say something about what that world might look like. That’s partly because I know that world will be a better place for us all – a place where we are not judged because of our bodies, how we look or how our minds work; a place where success and achievement will be measured in terms of people’s and the planet’s health; and a place where the violence and destructive forces of capitalism and patriarchal systems are replaced with people-centred systems and economies; a world where we have regained our souls.


I know those dreams are very big and a long way away from the daily grind of challenging ableism, but they seem so necessary to me as we work together and imagine better!



Kia pai tō rā     Have a nice day

Ngā mihi          Kind Regards