Understanding Ableism: Join us for an Anti-Ableism presentation by Spring Hawes at OC Kelowna on Jan. 19

By College Relations | January 13, 2023

Photo of Spring Hawes with event details for Understanding Ableism event

A group of Okanagan College students and employees are further advancing conversation and action around anti-ableism and accessibility at OC this winter through an upcoming talk and series of follow-up events. 

Okanagan College Kelowna’s Accessibility Alliance invites the OC community to attend an anti-ableism presentation by entrepreneur and advocate Spring Hawes on January 19 from noon -2:30 p.m. in the Centre for Learning Atrium (E Building). 

In her presentation Hawes will illustrate ableism and disability through examples of lived experience as well as media, entertainment, and pop culture. The presentation will also be livestreamed. For details and to register, please visit the Eventbrite page. This event is free and all are welcome.  

“This presentation is designed to bring more understanding to the concept of ableism and to the exclusion and marginalization of disabled people,” notes Hawes. “With this understanding, attendees will leave with the tools necessary to begin addressing ableism as a reality in their lives. Together, through insight and understanding, we can foster a more inclusive community and enthusiastically embrace diversity.” 

“Prepare to be uncomfortable. This presentation about ableism in an ableist and capitalist society will challenge your assumptions and push your comfort boundaries,” adds Hawes. 

The event is student-led and the idea for it came from Destiny McNish, a second-year Arts student at the Kelowna campus. A passionate advocate for anti-ableism and accessibility in and out of the classroom, McNish hopes the event will bring together people from across the OC community to participate, raise awareness, build knowledge and foster dialogue. 

“I first experienced ableism in a Grade 9 math class, and it immediately became something I wanted to ensure others didn't have to experience,” says McNish. “Now as a college student, I’m focused on opening up and expanding the conversation at Okanagan College, connecting with and encouraging other students and employees to learn about what constitutes ableism and ableist views – and to think about how we can all work together to address systemic ableism around us in our world.” 

According to www.accessliving.org, ableism is defined as “the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities, based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart, ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability.”  

Following the presentation, the OC Accessibility Alliance will be hosting debrief workshop sessions for students and employees as follows (locations will be posted on the Eventbrite page when confirmed): 

  • Thursday, Jan. 26, noon-1:30pm: Student Debrief 
  • Thursday, Feb. 2, 12:30-2pm: Employee Workshop 

Refreshments will be provided. In consideration of the health and safety of all, please consider wearing a mask, utilize hand sanitization stations and stay home if you are feeling unwell. 

These student-led events are happening in conjunction to broader conversation and action advancing Accessibility as part of the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice (EDISJ) efforts at Okanagan College. To learn more about EDISJ at OC, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/EDISJ. To learn more about Accessibility Services (AS) for students, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/accessibility. To learn more about accessibility and accommodation processes for employees, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/people-services/policies-and-agreements.

Tags: Accessibility Services



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