- June 18, 2020

A message from the Board of the International Disability Alliance, on the day of 19 June 2020, Juneteenth

The International Disability Alliance mourns for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and far too many other Black people victims of racist violence. We express our deepest condolences to their families and their communities.

At the International Disability Alliance, we advocate for an inclusive global environment for everyone: we could not do our job without standing up against racism and without condemning police brutality in all forms.[1]

As the greatest expression of the freedom of speech and of the freedom of assembly, we heartfully support all of those who are protesting peacefully all around the world, who are strenuously standing up for human rights for all persons, fighting for justice and for their voices to be heard. We stand together with and for you.     

These ongoing anti-racism protests, that started in the United States and that are now spreading all over the world, are the expression of frustration towards a deeply rooted problem in our societies: the fear of diversity. The refusal to embrace diversity, due to persisting cultural bias, attitudes and stereotypes, translates into forms of oppression and structural discrimination, including racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, classism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and other intolerances that daily threaten the lives of millions of people around the world.

Throughout our work, we acknowledge that multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination impact on the most marginalized. Black persons with disabilities face barriers in all aspects of their lives, because of their disabilities and because of the color of their skin. Only in the US, more than a third of all Americans killed by police have a disability[2], and today, we want to remember some of them once again:  Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tanisha Anderson, Deborah Danner, Ezell Ford, Alfred Olango and Keith Lamont Scott.

In line with the recent OHCHR Statement on the Protests against Systemic Racism in the United States , and with several organizations of persons with disabilities, we reject and regret the continuous re-enactment of the injustices that have driven people to the streets, and we call for the full respect of all human rights, inherent dignity and self-determination of all persons.

Where racism persists, the diversity, equity and inclusion that would allow this world to truly leave no one behind will never be reached. If human diversity is not fully embraced and valued, our goal of an inclusive environment for all will never be accomplished.

To achieve this goal, we acknowledge the role of Black activists in the disability movement and we will continue fighting with and for them until their rights are respected, promoted and fulfilled, in the US and around the world. We commit to do more to support the voices of Black persons with disabilities by listening, valuing and learning from their experiences, and to reinforce our commitment towards anti-racism in all our advocacy initiatives and within our own organization.