What does inclusion have to do with lifting ? =)

During these 10 years in Active I have totally changed. Active and all of my friends, seminars and experiences have shaped my thinking and I guess I have shaped them too. This changing and shaping of each other is exactly how I personally have experienced those values that our member organisations stand for.

 

When I first became a member in 2005, my world totally broadened. I have never before met so many different people with so many different backgrounds. I have never before been in an environment where everyone feels like your best friend, because everyone really trusts each other, and deeply understands and cares for one another. It was very ego-less state to be in.

 

Why is this important at all, you are asking - my beginnings. Well for me it was one of the rare possibilities to understand how different people can be. You know this cartoon about equality and equity?

 equality-and-equity

 

Active seminars were the place I could for the first time grasp that. I was in different roles, I changed my perspective and I got into the shoes of someone else. Not everyone has the same starting point in society. People are being born with different hinders, or experience hinders in society, and inclusion should allow all of us come to the same starting point.

 

This doesn't mean that everyone is able to do whatever because we are all different and that is alright. No, the rules, laws and international declarations are there to ensure there are some basic rules for living together. They are not perfect, and this is why civil society is so important - to see and find ways to make them better.  However, this means that because we are all different, we need to make sure that everyone is being able to take part in the process. As long as we make it possible for everyone to start from the same position, we are on a good track.

 

Even though it sounds easy to think that we can make it possible for everyone to start from the same position, there are many things we do not reflect on that could be a hinder to different groups. Have you always reflected on whether a person sitting in a wheel chair can join your event? Whether people that cannot concentrate with bigger groups can be in your workshop and whether children of alcoholics feel comfortable at your birthday party where there are only alcoholic drinks and water as a choice?

 

We all have felt many social pressures growing up, and inclusion is about eliminating them. Inclusion is about freedom and about equity. We all can make a difference in the groups we are in. When you notice that someone doesn't feel comfortable, you have a choice to lift them up. When they feel less, get bullied or have lower self-esteem, you can always choose to listen to them, to ask them what was their idea and what did they think about the topic in front of the group. It is important to take a stand. The same way being sober is a stand for allowing people to feel that it is easier to make a choice that is not always popular. And to really truly trust the capabilities of all of us. To see the person as a human being, for its substance and not for the disability. And not in a way that is feeling sorry for them - but in an a very equal way. Once we all have the same starting point, then we are equal. Then we do not treat each other anything less than equal, only then one can hear the real "lifting each other up" in the air.

 

The fairness of choosing what you want to be and what you want to do. This is for me inclusion. Making it possible for everyone to be part of the game.

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