Researchers, artists, advocates and volunteer organisations are among the 2020 National Awards for Disability Leadership finalists.
Led by the Disability Leadership Institute and Disabled People’s Organisations Australia, the awards recognise outstanding achievements by individuals, or organisations run by or for people with disability, who have significantly contributed to advancing the status and wellbeing of people with disability.
This year, the awards are focussing on work done to support the Australian disability community through several challenging events including the pandemic, bushfires, and other natural disasters. The Disability Leadership Organisation called for nominations to acknowledge disability leaders who, in these difficult times, have advanced equality for people with disability, and protected and promoted their rights.
A large number of nominations were received across all award categories which are:
The Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement
The 2020 finalists are:
During the pandemic Akii has used social media to successfully raise awareness of those living with chronic pain and invisible disabilities.
Unable to travel during the pandemic, Brendan has provided leadership and advocacy for inclusion and access in Mackay, Queensland and beyond, and has influenced other arts organisations, council and businesses to adopt initiatives that will ensure the whole community can benefit.
Dan was instrumental in helping organisations, like the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, become more accessible to the disability community during the pandemic and adopt ongoing practices which address disability rights.
El was a media spokesperson for the disability community during 2020’s crises. She led her team of workers with disability to be a trusted COVID disability response group.
Find A Bed
@findabedAU popped up during the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires and worked extraordinarily quickly and hard to find accommodation, generators, specific toys, disability aids and more, to meet the needs of individuals and families in crisis.
James shared his story during the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU)’s Disability and Disaster Resilience earlier this year. Although the storytelling was difficult and personal, his motivation for sharing his story was to help people to understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities, particularly for those who are blind or vision imparied.
Jeff has built two programs for the disability community this year:
Connecting Couches: virtual, accessible activities offered FREE to Australians of all abilities via Zoom. Sessions run daily and see an average of 10-20 participants.
Because We Care: deliveries of food packs to people with a disability in our community facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Jody has been preparing and delivering meals to elders, while still working to raise awareness about Indigenous people with disability, particularly from the deafness community. Her short videos on social media sharing sign language tips have been shared widely.
Julie is part of a research team at UNSW Sydney. During 2020 this research has contributed to a greater understanding of the pandemic on disabled people and has also been used by the Disability Royal Commission.
During this difficult year Lauren was honest and open on her social media about her struggles and how isolation may offer a degree of understanding to non-disabled people of what it feels like to live with a disability.
Although the storytelling was difficult and personal, Mark’s motivation for sharing his story was to help people to understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities during and after bushfires.
Ramas demonstrates a ‘can do attitude’ in disseminating key messages across multiple social media platforms. Particularly during a time of COVID where social media platforms have played a pivotal part in increasing awareness around Sign language and Deaf Aboriginal minorities.
During Covid19 able bodied people have needed to access medical services and have experienced isolation new to them. Due to her ongoing life experiences and years of advocacy, Ricky Buchanan has been an expert in navigating 2020. She has been able to use multiple forms of media to talk about the issues and advocate for keeping accessible services once able-bodied people don’t need them anymore.
Tim is an Autism Advocate and a young Chinese Australian. Tim was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old and has been non-speaking since 14 months of age. Tim has become pivotal to the self-advocacy movement to drive autism to a new level of relevance and inclusion, and has provided personal case studies of being locked down in public housing Melbourne.
The National Awards for Disability Leadership will be presented during a global webcast (captioned) on Thursday 3 December from 1pm to 2.30pm AEDT.
The event, which coincides with National Day of People with Disability, will be streamed on the Disability Leadership Institute’s YouTube channel.