In recent weeks the real meaning of the words ‘duty’ and ‘service’ has come to the fore following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Essentially, they are two different routes to the same core concept: putting the needs of others before those of yourself. It’s easy to think that is a concept which has faded out of fashion, but actually the more you look, the more you see that in many places it is still alive and well.
Throughout this year, Connect has been profiling the work done by Enable Jersey to support those in our community with disabilities. There’s a line on their website which captures the essence of what this small charity is trying to achieve:
“We believe that it is the attitudes and structure of our society that makes someone disabled and not their physical or mental situation.”
Hence the reason why our year-long campaign, including this month’s front cover, has been intended to challenge some of those attitudes, and perhaps change some of those structures.
Of course, this happens all the time, if you tune into it. Perhaps most visibly, this month will begin with coverage of the many runners in the London Marathon, who complete the 26.2 miles with what many would call a severe disability.
But in a broader sense, we are all affected by something which could hold us back, whether that be an attitude, a memory or a fear. Some hold onto that, and allow it to dictate; others face it, dissolve it and move on. But the more people you meet, you more you realise that everyone is wrestling with something.
So, becoming more inclusive isn’t just about using the right words when addressing someone, or installing a ramp in the office, or putting light switches lower down. It is all of those things; but Enable Jersey has shown us that true inclusivity is really as simple as just changing our own attitudes to others, and everything else will follow.
Simple, but as their articles have shown throughout 2022, something which takes time and frequent cajoling. They have realised that achieving an inclusive society isn’t just about addressing the needs of one conveniently defined group. It is about making us all that little bit more aware of the needs of others, however they present themselves.
It has been a privilege to support Enable Jersey this year.