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Welcome to the CripCanLit Pledge!

May 5, 2017

We’re not calling anyone out; we’re calling everyone in.

People with disabilities are 20% of the planet. In true intersectionality, we represent every class, race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, language, culture, and religion. Unfortunately, we are profoundly under-represented in Canadian writing. If CanLit represented us, our voices would be legion:

• one of every five books published in Canada would have a disabled author
• one of every five readers, panelists, agents, and publishers, would be disabled
• disabled writers would be nominated for, and win, one of every five awards
• we’d get our fair 20% share of publication, publicity, grants, and funding
• all Canadian readers could enjoy books representing the diversities of disability

Instead, disabled people are some 3% of Can Lit. Why is this acceptable in 2017?

The founders of CripCanLit are three disabled writers: Bronwyn Berg, Jane Eaton Hamilton and Dorothy Ellen Palmer. We believe the very definition of what it means to be a writer is deeply enmeshed in systemic ableism, in past practices, attitudes, expectations, language, and privileges, of being able-bodied. We also believe Can Lit has a unique opportunity to come together to fight ableism collectively, that the best way to make change “for all,” is to make change “by all.”

Let’s all start seeing inaccessibility for what it is: a ban on disabled people.

Let’s agree that it is everyone’s shared responsibility to end that ban, to build a Can Lit that includes all diversities, including the diversities of disability. We invite everyone to be pro-active, to support the inclusion people with disabilities right from the start, in organizing, programming, leadership, and long-term solutions. “Nothing about us without us.”

But we can’t take a seat at the table if we can’t get to the table.

Accessibility sets a baseline of support. Access makes it possible to generate further collective change together. Accordingly, we invite all readers and writers to sign the CripCanLit Pledge:

In active solidarity with readers and writers with disabilities, I will not plan, book, promote, read at, speak at, fund, nor attend, any inaccessible literary event. To be considered accessible, an event must have all the following:

1) a flat entrance or a ramp, with a main floor flat venue, or an elevator to one
2) a wheelchair/walker/scooter accessible washroom
3) a stage without stairs, or all presenters seated equally at floor level
4) accessibility information posted on the event invitation and website: entrance, venue, and washroom accessibility, transit, and accessible parking information
5) an email and phone number of the event’s Accessibility Contact Person.
If an event is posted without all the above, I will contact the organizer, request the correction, and make it clear I will not attend unless the change is made.

I also pledge my fullest support to events which go beyond this baseline, and include: e-buttons on doors, braille signage, ASL translation, roving microphones, large print handouts, transport assistance, and accessible pricing and seating.
I will actively encourage others to bring accessibly awareness into their daily lives and to sign the CripCanLit Pledge.

To sign this pledge, please list your name in the comments. Thank you!

Please feel free to tweet your support at #CripCanLit.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Janet Berkman

  2. Wonderful idea. Happy to sign!

  3. You might also want to include sign language interpretation and/or real-time captioning in your list.

  4. Is this where I sign on?

  5. Bronwyn Berg permalink

    Bronwyn Berg

  6. Jane Eaton Hamilton

  7. Michael V. Smith

  8. Kasia Wotherspoon

  9. You betcha! Go CripCanLit!

  10. Norah Bowman permalink

    I support this endeavour!

  11. Natalee Caple — happy to support this important initiative!

  12. Amanda Hope permalink

    Amanda Hope

  13. Becca macdonald permalink

    Becca macdonald

  14. Brandon Shalansky permalink

    Brandon Shalansky

  15. Lisa-Marie Harkness permalink

    Lisa-Marie Harkness

  16. janice williamson permalink

    Janice Williamson – and thank you for this initiative

  17. Dean Krawchuk permalink

    Dean Krawchuk

  18. Christian Exoo permalink

    Christian Exoo

  19. sonnetlabbe permalink

    Sonnet L’Abbe

  20. Miriam Huxley

  21. Cole permalink

    Cole Mash

  22. I’m a big fan of baseline action and forward-moving action that improves the plight and visibility of one of CanLit’s most overlooked, underrepresented, and underserved populations. Everyone can start somewhere and move forward.

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