This is what empowering involves –
it’s to reinforce those who are actively engaged and to mobilize those communities that are
not. It starts with a recognition of who you are,
that you are someone with rights. You’re entitled because of your humanity. Often people do not even realize that their
human rights are violated. Why? Because they have not known any better.
They have always lived in that institution. They have always experienced neglect.
They have always experienced abuse. We all face barriers. We face oppression.
We face a lack of capacity. We’re less participatory. If someone isn’t able to be recognized by
our legal system, then essentially we can’t talk about rights.
They have no space to exercise those rights. When we see a problem and if we can identify
a group of people or a person who happens to know it and understand it,
then we empower him or an organization to do it. The Human Rights Initiative comes in with
funding to link coalitions of disability rights organizations
and really create a cross-disability movement. The purpose is to ensure with disabilities
have the same opportunities as all other citizens. Access to education on an equal basis to others.
Access to justice on an equal basis with others. We have radically changed the way in which
legal capacities approached mental health laws. Our focus has been on what we see are the
most marginalizing laws and policies. We work to help those communities and support
those communities because we believe in universal rights. It’s a universal principle. It’s a universal
perspective. It’s a universal approach to make this world
just for all.