There are over 61 million Americans living with a disability which includes the 5.4 million living with paralysis, representing the largest minority group in the U.S. Despite strength in numbers, the voices of the paralysis community have become stifled by the misperceptions on what it means to live with a disability.
We want the world to see every person for who they really are and look beyond their injury or disability. As Christopher Reeve taught us, one thing cannot define everything.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation launched – See Us – a national campaign to gather the largest collection of stories from individuals living with paralysis with the goal of igniting a national conversation that challenges the stigmas and stereotypes wrongfully assigned to the greater paralysis community.
While people with disabilities make up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. working-age population, they account for more than half of those living in long-term poverty with the unemployment rate double the national average. On top of which, there is a lack of disability representation in government and business, creating barriers and significant gaps of support at the leadership level. Outside of the workplace, people with disabilities are often treated differently due to implicit bias and hurtful assumptions.
The mission behind See Us is to capture stories directly from members of the paralysis community but we also need to educate our policymakers on who we are and what we need. By informing lawmakers about the realities of living with paralysis, we ensure disability rights remain a priority and we can advance important issues that result in tangible improvements and real change for our community.
How you can help:
We need you to act now to elevate the voices of the paralysis community by sharing your story and demanding greater inclusion and commitment from policymakers.
Contact your congressional representative today and ask them to show their support for See Us. We STRONGLY urge you to personalize your message. It is incredibly important for legislators to hear your story and understand your perspective as their constituent.
Please take five minutes to enter your information to the right and connect directly with congressional leaders who have the power to make a difference for the 5.4 million Americans living with paralysis.
The time for change is now and it starts with your story. We need your words to spark a movement that is long overdue to address the stigmas and prejudice that have created barriers across the paralysis community and in all aspects of life.
"Do not let paralysis or other people define you -- you choose who you are. Society limits us because they don’t understand, and it’s up to us to break those stereotypes, show the world we are still living, and we deserve to be SEEN." -- Laura Beck, See Us ambassador