December 3 marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an international observance that the United Nations has been promoting since 1992. According to the United Nations, the day "aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life."
Every year has a theme and, for 2018, that theme is "empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality." The theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to "leave no one behind."
"Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast-track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development," the United Nations explains. "Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organizations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a 'team' to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
About 56.7 million people, who account for 19 percent of the population, had a disability in 2010, with more than half of them reporting that their disability was severe, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The numbers suggest that nearly one in five people are living with a disability.
People across the world living with disabilities have taken to Twitter today to share how their lives are impacted not just on this day that their disabilities are specifically recognized, but every day. Here are five misconceptions they have shared that they hope people will unlearn from increased visibility of people of all abilities.
1. No one needs to be "cured."
2. Having a disability doesn't mean you don't have and achieve dreams.
3. Some days are better than others, but hardships are still valid.
4. Never lose hope.
5. If you're going to advocate, practice what you preach.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.